Monica's favorite gear for
making Coconut Rice
This versatile tool has so many uses. For this rice, I used it to zest the lemon and grate the ginger. It's also good for grating Parmesan, garlic, and nutmeg.
This staple in Thai cooking adds flavor and nutrition to this rice dish. I use half of this full-fat coconut milk and half lite coconut milk (click below for the lite version)
Also available: lite coconut milk
This handy gadget is like having an extra pair of hands. It holds bags open so it's easy to fill them without making a mess. It folds flat for easy storage.
This is my favorite brown rice. It's lighter texture & flavor make it a closer substitute for white rice.
The is an updated version of the older model that I have. It is large enough to cook a full batch of this coconut rice. If you eat a lot of rice, this is the easiest way to have perfect rice every time. It automatically switches to a warm setting when the rice is done.
This adds the golden color to this rice along with a big nutrition boost. Turmeric is a main ingredient in curry powder.

Golden Coconut Brown Rice

Turmeric and coconut milk add a flavor & nutrition boost; gluten free, vegetarian, vegan

Coconut rice is a favorite at Thai restaurants. I love the stuff. My version uses brown rice instead of the usual white. If you're looking for a flavorful, nutritious side, this just might be the recipe for you. Every single ingredient is good for you. (Except I added a little salt, but that can be omitted, if you prefer.) Brown rice, coconut milk, turmeric, and ginger all have healthy, healing qualities. Unless you're avoiding carbs, with a little portion control this is a guilt-free recipe that is tasty and nutritious.

This rice is good with both Indian and Thai food. We also eat it as a side with grilled chicken or salmon. The rice has a mild flavor that has a hint of sweetness that comes naturally from the coconut milk. There's not a pronounced coconut flavor, though; so even coconut haters (like King-Man) like this rice. It freezes and reheats well, too.

Why brown basmati rice? It's been years since there was any white rice in my kitchen. I initially switched to brown rice for its nutritional benefits, but now I prefer the taste and am especially partial to basmati brown rice.

  • Brown rice is packed with nutrition compared to white rice. Brown rice has 2.5 times the iron, 3 times the vitamin B3, 4 times the vitamin B1, 10 times the vitamin B6, and is much higher in fiber. (source) According to recent research, replacing white rice with brown rice in your diet can reduce the risk of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes. (source)
  • Basmati brown rice has a milder nutty flavor and lighter texture than other brown rices, so I find it to be a better substitute for white rice in many recipes. However, any type of brown rice may be used in this recipe.

Coconut Milk is good for you.  Although previously believed to be bad for you because of its saturated fat, now it is touted as a super healthy food. That's because it has a kind of saturated fat that quickly turns into energy, instead of being stored as fat like the "bad" saturated fats. Coconut milk is loaded with vitamins and nutrients and can actually boost metabolism and contribute to weight loss. (source)

Although it contains a healthy fat, coconut milk is high in calories. As a compromise in this recipe, I used half full fat coconut milk and half lite coconut milk. That way the rice still has a rich flavor with the health benefits of coconut oil without quite as many calories.

Turmeric sets a new "gold" standard.  It gives this rice recipe it's beautiful golden color and is a common ingredient in curries. It also gives American ballpark mustard it's bright yellow color. In addition to it's vibrant color, turmeric is a nutrition powerhouse. (Google "healthiest spices" and turmeric will show up on every list.) It is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies suggest it can protect the body against types of lung damage, skin diseases, Alzheimer's disease, heart failure, colitis, stomach ulcers, arthritis and high cholesterol. It also helps treat upset stomach, scabies, diabetes, HIV, and viral infections. (source)

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (for 1/2 cup without garnishes): 184 calories, 8.2g fat, 25.7g carbs, 1.7g fiber, .9g sugars, 3.2g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5

This recipe is gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan.


Step-by-step photos for making
Golden Coconut Brown Rice 

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients.

  • gluten free basmati or jasmine brown rice
  • canned coconut milk--I use half whole and have lite. This is the kind found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store. Don't use the diluted version in the cartons.
  • turmeric powder
  • bay leaves
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • fresh ginger

view organic ingredients on Amazon:
gluten free basmati brown rice, coconut milk, lite coconut milk, turmeric


Optional toppings:

  • fresh cilantro, chopped (or parsley)
  • macadamia nuts, whole or roughly chopped (or cashews)


Step 2:  Zest the lemon. I use a handy dandy Microplane.

view Microplane on Amazon


Step 3. Use a spoon to easily scrape the peel off of the ginger. Then mince it. I used a Microplane for this, too -- it's one of my go-to gizmos that makes so many prep tasks easier.


Step 4.  Add the turmeric to some water and whisk it together.


Choose from two cooking methods:
Stove Top or Rice Cooker

Step 5.  To prepare the rice for stove-top cooking, add all of the ingredients to a large pan and give it a stir.


Step 6. Cook the rice either on the stove top or in a rice cooker.

Stove Top Method: Bring the pot to a boil, stirring it occasionally. (Because of the coconut milk, this can stick to the bottom of the pot and scorch if it's not stirred periodically.) Lower it to a simmer and cook it uncovered until most of the liquid is gone. Cover it, and cook it on low until the remaining liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender to bite. Remove the bay leaves.


Rice Cooker Method. If you have a rice cooker, this gets even easier. Simply add all of the ingredients to the rice cooker, close the lid, and turn it on. Mine was perfect after it went through the cooking cycle and then softened on the automatic warm setting for an additional half hour.

view on Amazon:
electric rice cooker (An updated version of the older model I have; large enough to make a full batch of this coconut rice)

coconut rice in rice cooker

Not only is this rice flavorful, it's also beautiful--don't you think? That golden color sets it apart from plain ol' white or brown rice. If you are feeding people who are resistant to eating brown rice over white, you can totally fool them with this recipe. With its golden color and rich coconut milk flavor, many would assume that it's made with white rice. That makes this a great introduction to brown rice, if you haven't made the switch yet.

golden coconut brown rice

GARNISHES & ADD-INs:  I like to top my rice with macadamia nuts and cilantro. These are optional, of course. You can substitute other nuts, too. Cashews are also good with this rice. Parsley can be used instead of cilantro. There are lots of stir-in options too: garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, olives, basil (or other herbs)...the list goes on. Use your imagination!



  • This rice may be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. It reheats well in microwave.
  • This freezes really well, too. I freeze mine in 1 qt. Ziploc freezer bags, 3 cups of rice per bag. Flatten rice in the bags to a thin, even layer, and press out as much air as possible before sealing. That makes it easy to stack them in the freezer; and, they thaw quickly and easily.
  • To reheat frozen rice, transfer it to a covered microwave safe dish--no need to thaw it first. Cook at full power for 2 minutes, stir; cook another 1-3 minutes until heated through.

HANDY GADGET TIP:  I use a Baggy Rack (pictured below) for filling Ziploc bags with rice. It's such a clever little gadget that's like having an extra pair of hands, and it folds flat for easy storage. Baggy Racks are so handy and inexpensive, that I bought them for stocking stuffer gifts last year--big hit!

view Baggy Racks on Amazon


BIG OR SMALL BATCH:  I like to make a big batch of this rice and freeze it to have on hand for a variety of meals. If you don't have freezer space to do that and prefer to make a smaller batch, I've got you covered. My printable recipe at the end of this post lists ingredients for a big batch that makes 15 cups or a smaller batch that makes 7.5 cups.

golden coconut brown rice

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Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Golden Coconut Brown Rice
By Monica              Servings: makes 15 cups*
  • 1 tablespoon dried turmeric
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 (13.5 oz) cans coconut milk
  • 2 (13.5 oz) cans lite coconut milk
  • 2 lbs (5 cups) basmati or jasmine brown rice
  • GARNISHES (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Macadamia nuts or cashews, chopped
In small bowl, whisk together water and tumeric. In 5-6 quart pan, add turmeric water and remaining ingredients (excluding garnishes); stir to combine. Bring to boil, uncovered, over high heat, stirring occasionally (takes approx. 10 min.). Lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until most of liquid is gone, approx. 30-35 min. Cover pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender to bite, approx. 20-25 min. more. Remove bay leaves. Garnish with nuts and cilantro, if desired.

--May be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheats well in microwave.
--Freeze in 1 qt. Ziploc freezer bags, 3 cups of rice per bag. Flatten rice in bags to thin, even layer, and press out air before sealing for easy stacking and reheating. To reheat frozen rice, transfer to covered microwave safe dish. Cook with full power for 2 minutes, stir; cook another 1-2 minutes until heated through.

*FOR SMALLER BATCH (7-1/2 cups of cooked rice); follow same procedure, except use 1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric, 1/4 cup water, 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, 1-1/2 teaspoons minced ginger, 2 dried bay leaves, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 can coconut milk, 1 can lite coconut milk, 2-1/2 cups brown basmati or jasmine rice.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (for 1/2 cup without garnishes): 184 calories, 8.2g fat, 25.7g carbs, 1.7g fiber, .9g sugars, 3.2g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5
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Posted on Sunday, April 14th, 2013

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