Arroz con coco, or coconut rice, is a dish that will take your taste buds on a delicious journey to Cartagena, Colombia. The moment the lid is lifted, the aroma of rich, creamy coconut milk infused with tender, fluffy rice will fill the air, making your mouth water with anticipation.
Inspired by one of my favorite destinations in Colombia and my favorite Colombian cookbook called Gran Libro De La Cocina Colombiana, each grain of rice is perfectly cooked, with a tender center and a slightly crispy exterior, creating a perfect balance of texture. As you take your first bite, the creamy coconut milk coats your tongue with a velvety smoothness, while the hint of salt brings out the natural sweetness of the rice.
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The dish is versatile and can be paired with various proteins such as succulent shrimp, tender chicken, steak, or a vegetarian option like black beans or lentils. You can also add a touch of fresh herbs or cilantro for extra flavor.
This recipe was inspired by my most recent trip to Cartagena, where this arroz con coco is served with a side of freshly pan-fried fish and tostones. Yum!
In this recipe, I cooked with organic jasmine rice; you can absolutely cook with jasmine or different medium to long-grain rice. Short-grain rice will make this recipe mushy.
I incorporated cane sugar or panela in this arroz con coco Colombiano. You can go with coconut sugar or brown sugar. You can also play around with the sweetness. I made it less sweet with one tablespoon of sugar. However, if you prefer sweeter arroz con coco, you can add up to two tablespoons of sugar.
Coconut Milk has less fat than coconut cream. We are looking for coconut flavor without all the fat for this recipe. You can use coconut cream instead of coconut milk if you only have coconut cream. You can use less of the cream and add water to it.
Arroz con coco can be safely stored in the refrigerator for a few days, a week at maximum.
Warm a serving in a small pot and add a small amount of water – the vapor will help warm the rice.