Indian Coconut Rice Pulao from Coconut Cream is my interpretation of the South Indian Cuisine Coconut Rice. Here in this recipe, the coconut cream is diluted to get the coconut milk and then the soaked basmati rice along with vegetables like carrots, peas, is cooked in it. This coconut rice pulao is also infused with whole spices like bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, black peppercorns and ginger. Finally, the coconut rice pulao is garnished with fried cashews and coconut slices. On the special occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, I prepared the coconut rice to welcome Ganapati.
The festival of great joy and devotion has arrived.May the elephant headed God shower his cherished blessings on his devotees as the nation celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated in honor of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha, on the fourth day of the first fortnight in the month of Bhaadrapada in the Hindu calendar, that is usually August or September in the Gregorian calendar. The festival generally lasts ten days, ending on the fourteenth day of the fortnight . At home, an appropriately-sized clay image is installed and worshipped with family and friends
The history of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival is attributed to the Peshwas in Pune since 1630, who encouraged the celebrations in their capital, Pune, since Ganesha was their family god. However, the festival lost state patronage after the fall of Peshwas and it was later revived by Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak .Today such is the popularity of Ganesh Chaturthi, that it is celebrated widely across India like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and other parts of western and southern India.
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated with much grandeur in my husband’s native village, Udupi, a district in Southern Karnataka. A priest performs a Prana Pratishtha to invite Ganesha into the idol during which coconut, jaggery, modaks, durva grass and red hibiscus flowers are offered to the idol.
The festival generally lasts ten days, ending on the fourteenth day of the fortnight (Anant Chaturdashi). A grand procession is taken out carrying Ganesha idols to be immersed in the water. People sing, dance, light crackers creating festivity all around .
Coming back to my recipe,Coconut rice is prepared by cooking white rice in coconut milk. This dish is popular not only in southern parts of India, but also many parts across the world. Here are a few to name :
Burma : In Burma, coconut rice is known as ohn htamin and is considered as a staple food.
Jakarta : The coconut rice is known as Nasi Uduk and is made by cooking rice soaked in coconut milk instead of water, along with clove, cassia bark, and lemongrass to add aroma.
Malaysia : The coconut rice is known as Nasi lemak which is also considered as its national dish.It is cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. The pandan leaf is a tropical plant and has a characteristic aroma that gives fragrance to the rice.
Thailand : In Thailand, sweet coconut rice is very popular as a dessert or sweet snack. It is made with glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, salt and water and most famously paired with slices of ripe mango and an additional dollop of coconut cream.
Sri Lanka :Here it is known as milk rice or kiri bath and is served on special occasions along with spicy curry.
- 1 cup Basmati rice (or any long grained rice)
- ¼ cup coconut cream or 2 cups coconut milk(I have used coconut cream in this recipe)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 4 black peppercorns
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ knob ginger finely grated or chopped
- 1.5 tbsp ghee or oil
- salt as required
- 1 medium size carrot peeled, and finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh peas
- 1 tbsp sliced cashews
- ½ tbsp coconut slices
- Wash and clean the basmati rice 2-3 times and soak for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime prepare the coconut milk. Blend the coconut cream with 3/2 cups of water in a mixer/blender till it forms a smooth mixture. Keep it aside.
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to an electric rice cooker. Add the coconut milk into it.
- In a small pan, add oil or ghee. When the oil is hot, add bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves, black peppercorns, and saute at low heat till it releases the aroma.
- Add the cumin seeds. When the seeds stop to sizzle, add the grated or chopped ginger and saute for 2 minutes so that the raw smell goes away. Now add the chopped carrots and green peas. Saute at medium heat for 3-4 minutes and then add them into the rice cooker.
- Add little water or as required for the rice to cook. Cover the cooker with the lid and cook until done. You can also use a pressure cooker or open container to cook the rice.
- In a small pan, add 2 tsp of ghee or oil. Saute the cashews and the coconut slices for 2 minutes on low heat. Add this tempering to the cooked rice.
- Serve the coconut rice pulao with curry or enjoy it with green chutney.