Sweet Coconut Rice

This treasure from Thailand is versatile and festive—may even be made into a delectable rice pudding—Alternative below. A fine complement to spicy and strong flavors. Here we don’t use white or jasmine rice. Glutinous rice—also called “sweet” or “sticky” rice— is great stuff. If you have a Chinese steamer, it will help for this dish. (Serves 6 to 8)

Jerry Weinberg

Sweet Coconut Rice

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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Five Spice, Thai


  • 1 pound glutinous rice (covered with water, soaked overnight)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut meat (shredded, , soaked in 1/2 cup good water)
  • cup sugar (or palm sugar, maple syrup)


  • Drain rice, put in heat-proof dish—a good-size pie plate is good. Improvise a steamer: In a pot big enough that pie plate would fit with 1” space all around, place a 5” tall heatproof bowl. Pour water into the bowl, continue filling water to 4-5”. Bring water to boil and carefully lower rice plate onto inner bowl. (Or place pie plate in Chinese steamer, wide enough for steam to rise around the plate.)
  • Steam for 45 minutes, till a chewed kernel has no tough center.
  • Remove rice, put in saucepan, add coconut milk, dried coconut, and sugar. Bring mixture to a simmer and, on low heat, stirring cook till coconut milk is absorbed.


This now may be served as a wonderful side dish.
ALTERNATIVE: Rice pudding 1 cup golden raisin, covered with 1/2 water, 1/2 white rum—or all water, if you prefer. Save soaking water for finished dish
1/2 cup dried sweet ginger, soaked in warm water till soft. Chop in 1/4″.
Dice 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, ground fine just before using at end of recipe
Stir in raisins and ginger, and just enough of rum water and ginger water for a moisture that you like. Spoon into attractive serving bowl, grind cardamom seeds fine, and sprinkle over top of rice. Serve cold—but preferably warm.

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