While lounging under a palm tree at the beach last week, I was suddenly overcome by the memory of a trip to Thailand. In my mind I was comparing the fruitless palms of Santa Monica to those bursting with coconuts on the shores of North Pattaya Beach. One of our meals on the beach had included a side of rice containing coconut and my favorite fruit, mango. Here’s the recipe that I recreated upon my return to Los Angeles.
Prep time: 30 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 green onions, white parts finely sliced (green tips discarded)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup Jasmine rice, uncooked
2-1/2 cups coconut water
2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala spice or curry powder
1/4 cup coconut milk combined with 1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mango (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
4 to 6 purple cabbage leaves (for garnish)
1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Stir-fry the onions, bell pepper and rice on medium-low heat for 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the coconut water, shredded coconut, salt, Garam Masala or curry powder.
3. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 12 to 15 minutes or until rice looks dry.
4. Pour the coconut-water mixture evenly over the rice. Cover and continue cooking on low for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
5. After 3 to 5 minutes, uncover and gently stir in the cilantro, mango and red pepper flakes.
6. Divide rice evenly among cabbage leaves and serve as a side to poultry, seafood or meats.
Note: Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend and can be found in ethnic grocery stores or online.
Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real