Coconut Rice is a light and refreshing way to use leftover rice. This tasty dish is eaten regularly in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. But as a Maharashtrian, I also grew up eating this simple and delicious rice dish, which we just called “Khamang Narali Bhath” which translates directly into “Savory Coconut Rice”. We usually ate this dish with a little Indian pickle on the side and papads (crispy lentil wafers), it was just perfect for a simple lunch or even as a light meal.
KHAMANG NARALI BHATH (Savory Coconut Rice)
2 cups cooked rice (warm), lightly mashed
1½ cups coconut milk (or more if needed)
½” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2-3 dried red chilies OR small green Thai chilies (split in half lengthwise)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal (skinned and split)
1 tbsp chana dal (split)
pinch of asafetida (hing)
4-5 fresh curry leaves
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a small bowl, soak the chana dal in a little warm water for at least 15-20 minutes. Drain well, dry well and set aside until needed.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk with the warm cooked rice and a little salt. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients. If you prefer a creamier coconut rice, feel free to add a little extra coconut milk. Keep aside until needed.
FOR THE TEMPERING:
In a small saucepan on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds stop splattering, add both the urad dal and the chana dal. When the urad dal starts to brown lightly, quickly add the asafetida, curry leaves, minced ginger and either the dried red chilies or the fresh green chilies. Stir to combine all the ingredients with the oil and then pour the entire hot oil and spice mixture over the coconut rice. Mix well to combine all of the flavors, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve immediately with a variety of Indian pickles and papads.
Feel free to add some fresh vegetables to the coconut rice such as diced cucumber, grated carrots, green peas or some diced red onion. You could also add some toasted cashew pieces or toasted coconut flakes for crunch & texture.