This Arroz Con Coco (Colombian Coconut Rice) side dish is super simple to make at home, but packs in all the sweet and savoriness, that reminds you of the Caribbean coast. This will be your new favorite way to make rice!
Arroz con Coco! I first discovered this savory and sweet side dish on a family trip to Colombia. I fell in love with the port city of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. With a tropical climate, Cartagena is scattered with plazas and outdoor food markets are chock full of local ingredients, fruits, spices, and dried food.
Mercado de Barzuto
Mercado de Barzuto perhaps best exemplifies the charm of the old city and into the depths of local life in Cartagena. On our trip, we took a culinary food tour run by a local Colombian family. The guides took us to the old markets to shop for exotic Colombian ingredients that we later cooked in their cozy home in the countryside of Cartagena.
We packed our shopping bags with local catched fish, plantains, coconuts, passion fruit, and dragon fruit.
At the local guide’s home, we prepared a full-on feast alongside their family, consisting of fried whole fish, fried plantains, arroz con coco, and fruit salad. My favorite dish that I could go back to eat bite after bite was the arroz con coco.
Arroz con Coco
Arroz con coco is a labor of love. The traditional Colombian method takes hours to cook – cutting open fresh coconuts, and condensing the sweet coco milk and flesh down to a caramelized bits of coconut solids. The coconut oil lightly fries the coconut solids, that slightly sweetens and toasts the coconut solids and makes for a mouth watering flavor. The effort is worth it, but who has the time to wait hours tending to the stove, especially in our busy lives.
Our Easy method for Arroz con coco (in half the time!)
Instead of using fresh coconut, we used canned coconut milk. The result is very similar and all so satisfying. The coconut milk reduced down to the separated coconut solids and coconut oil in about 45 minutes, cooking slowly over low heat. The rest of the steps consisted of toasting the rice in the leftover coconut solids and then cooking the rice with water.
Arroz con coco can be topped with golden raisons for a sweet side dish, or served as-is and paired with a main course, like fish or pork.
The effort is definitely worth it!
You guys! Once you try this recipe, you’ll be yearning to change how you cook rice going forward!Print
Arroz Con Coco (Colombian Cartagena Coconut Rice)
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Sweet and savory Arroz Con Coco (Colombian Coconut Rice). Perfect side dish paired with grilled fish.
- 1 14-ounce can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
- 1 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups of uncooked white rice
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- a handful of golden raisons (optional)
- Heat coconut milk over medium-high heat in a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Reduce to low-to-medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
- Continue to cook until the coconut milk separates into translucent coconut solids and coconut oil, about 45 minutes total.
- Continue cooking down the coconut solids to a deep, dark brown color.
- Add rice, sugar, and salt to the pan. Increase heat to medium, and toast the rice grains in the coconut mixture, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add water and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over high heat, and then reduce to low heat. Cover the sauce pan and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Fluff rice with a fork, top with golden raisons (optional), and Enjoy!
Brown sugar can be used as a substitute for granulated white sugar, if you’re seeking a darker colored Arroz con Coco. Alternatively, Rock Sugar can also be used which will lend to a more stickier and glossy production.
Full-fat coconut milk is imperative for the separation effect. If using reduced fat coconut milk, you may need to add additional vegetable oil in steps 1 and 2.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Category: SIde Dish
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Latin American
Keywords: arroz con coco, Colombian Coconut rice, side dish
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