Authentic South Indian Coconut Rice

Authentic South Indian Coconut Rice


chicken curry and coconut rice

Special occasions deserve special food. On our birthdays in India and then in the U.S., my mom used to make chicken curry with coconut rice. The aromas of this delicious food combination just heightened the anticipation of celebrating our birthdays and enjoying my mom’s heavenly food, cooked with love. Even to this day when I visit my parents, my mom makes this dish to welcome me home. I make sure I eat sparingly when traveling to see them so that I can savor my mom’s home cooking, literally within 5 minutes of entering parents’ home.

I had not tried making my mom’s coconut rice until very recently as I was under the impression that it was quite complex to make. However, after my mom shared her detailed recipe and coaxed me to make it, I realized it was relatively simple. Recently, my own family made it for me to celebrate Mother’s Day! What a special treat! We all agreed wholeheartedly that my mother’s coconut rice accentuated the flavor of her chicken curry recipe so much that it has been declared our NEW family favorite. I am absolutely delighted that this DELECTABLE  combination has come full circle, with my own family savoring the aromas and flavors of authentic South Indian chicken curry and coconut rice on OUR special occasions!

A big heartfelt thank you to my Mom for so generously allowing me to sharing your AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS home cooked food, authentic recipes and our special memories for all to enjoy!  I hope you enjoy this recipe on your special occasions too!

Coconut Rice

Makes 2 cups fluffy and flavorful cooked rice


Basmati rice: 1 cup (8oz) of raw rice (or 2 cups when doubling recipe).

Cashew nuts: 6-7 (raw), optional

Olive oil: 2 teaspoons

Onions: ¼ cup, preferably purple, finely diced

Jalapeño: ½ thumb size deseeded & finely diced (optional), addition of coconut milk makes dish quite mild, so no  need to omit if you like mild dishes

Turmeric: ½ teaspoon

Salt: ¾ tsp; add in ¼ tsp in the end if desired (or 1 - 1 1/4 tsp when doubling recipe).

Unsweetened coconut milk: ½ cup or 1 cup when doubling recipe. Mix well in can or in bowl till liquid and milk are combined well, preferably without lumps. 

Water: 1 ½ cups (or 3 cups when doubling recipe).

Chef’s tip:
Double recipe to 4 cups cooked coconut rice by adding increased amounts of select ingredients indicated in BOLD & italics.



Step 1:

  • Prep rice:
    1. Rinse and drain basmati rice a couple of times to get rid of starch.
    2. Place in bowl
    3. Add warm water enough to cover rice, set aside, at least 30 mins prior to cooking.
  • Prep cashew nuts:
    1. Break each cashew nut into ½ or ¼ piece.
    2. Place in a small bowl and fill with cold water to soften, for 10 mins prior to cooking.

Step 2:

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pot.
  • Add diced onions, cook till soft (not golden brown) for ~ 3-4 mins.
  • Add jalapeño and cashew nuts, sauté for 1-2 mins, making sure cashew nuts DO NOT burn.
  • Add turmeric, mix well.
  • Drain water from rice, then add rice to spices in pot. Mix well to coat rice with spices.
  • Add coconut milk to pot and mix well.
  • Add water, mix well.
  • Add salt, mix well.
  • Cover pot with tight fitting lid and bring to a boil.
  • After water comes to a boil, turn down heat to medium low and cook for ~ 15 mins. Stir rice at ~10 mins to make sure it is not burning. (If rice is starting to burn at the bottom and not cooked on top, stir rice to bring burnt rice to top and uncooked rice to bottom. Turn heat down even lower and add a couple of tablespoons of water)
  • After 15 mins, stir rice frequently and check if it is cooked. If it is not cooked, turn heat down to low and let it cook for another ~ 2-3 mins.
  • Add ¼ tsp salt if desired. Turn stove off!
  • ENJOY with chicken curry made w/Grandma’s Spicy Chicken Curry seasoning kit or your favorite dish!

Download a printable copy of this recipe HERE

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