One-pot turmeric coconut rice with kale is smooth, aromatic and full of flavor. Coconut milk along with toasted coconut flakes gives it the richness you are looking for while kale and green onions gives it depth and texture.
Let's make turmeric coconut rice with kale right now!
Start by toasting coconut flakes and sesame seeds
If you’ve cooked with me before, you already know that I’m a fan of toasting spices. Nothing says ‘I’m cooking something wonderful’ like the aroma of toasted cumin seeds wafting from the kitchen. Toasting allow spices to open their flavors and it gives a nutty flavor to sesame seeds which I find makes homemade tahini even better.
I like to toast big coconut flakes until they just start to brown. The smell is yes, wonderful, but the taste is more intense, although slightly less sweet which means you won’t need to use as much to get an intense coconut flavor to add to Asian chopped salads or in our case, rice.
What is turmeric?
Like its color suggests, turmeric is a spice filled with warmth. It has mild scents of orange and ginger which isn’t a bit surprising considering it comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant that is a member of the ginger family.
What is turmeric used for?
Indian dishes are famous for their use of turmeric. You’ll find it in a variety of curries as well as mustard blends. Although it isn’t a perfect match, turmeric is often used in place saffron. I’m a frequent turmeric user because it really enhances the flavor of dishes such as such as kidney bean curry, pineapple lentil soup and one-pot lentil dahl just wouldn’t be the same without it. If you use an off-the-shelf Indian curry powder, you’re probably using turmeric too.
Don’t underestimate the color of turmeric. Try it with your next tofu scramble. Just a little gives your tofu a wonderful yellowish color. And if you’ve ever used fresh turmeric root, you’ve may have shared my experience of having your cutting board turn a bit yellow and having that color last through several scrubbings. No wonder it’s also used as a dye.
Is turmeric good for you?
Traditionally, turmeric has been hailed a bit like a ‘cure all’ as a topical treatment for wounds, bruises or even chicken pox. It’s also been touted for having positive implications for a variety of ailments and although there is not yet definitive evidence, trials continue to determine if turmeric can have positive implications for treating Alzheimer’s, colon and pancreatic cancers to name a few. Like with any on-going trials when it comes to medicinal claims, it’s something to watch for, but be mindful not to get swept up in the hype.
What does turmeric taste like?
When the curcuma root is dried and ground up, it shows up on our shelves as turmeric which has pungent, somewhat bitter, but earthy-sweet taste. You only need a little to give depth to your recipes when is precisely why 1 teaspoon was just the right amount for flavoring turmeric coconut rice.
The one-pot turmeric coconut rice process
Once you toast the coconut flakes and sesame seeds, you will remove them from your large skillet or pan and just keep them around for later. I try to put them a bit inconveniently out-of-the way. Otherwise, I start snacking while I get the rice cooking.
I used brown basmati rice because I find its aromatic and nutty flavor compliments the turmeric and coconut. If you add the rinsed rice to the turmeric, chili flake and scallions before adding the coconut milk and water, you can give it a bit of a toast for a few minutes. This brings out a bit more of the nutty flavor if that’s what you’re going for.
Rice, liquid, cover and launch
Once you add the coconut milk and stir everything up, just cover the pan and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. I usually cook rice in a deep pot because I invariably get the heat too high and it all starts running over the sides. But when you cook rice in something denser than water such as coconut milk or even tomato sauce, it’s a bit easier to manage in terms of side run off.
Adding kale or other greens
After 15 minutes, your rice should be cooking up nicely and you should check the liquid to ensure that there enough to keep it from sticking to the bottom. If there isn’t, you can always add a bit more water. The added layer of kale on the top just steams up and makes everything a bit prettier.
It seems the more I just kale, the more I like it. It holds up well to steaming and cooking and although it gets more tender and loses some of its sharp texture, it still retains a bite that adds interest to the mouthfeel of the creamy rice.
Stalking and eating
Lately, I’ve been making a serious effort to incorporate more of the green parts of scallions and even leeks (although the latter needs to be cooked). Both are completely edible and maybe it’s a bit psychological on my part, but I hate the idea of throwing out 2/3rds of anything. Besides, I’ve discovered that the green tops have a flavor of their own that’s worth eating.
Add the finishing touches
Hopefully, you haven’t eating all the toasted coconut in the minutes it takes the rice to cook so you have something pretty (and tasty) to add as the final layer of your one-pot turmeric coconut rice. The coconut and sesame seeds really liven this dish up. And of course, this means you get a double layer of coconut which is never a bad thing.
Main or side?
When it comes to turmeric coconut rice, the jury is hung on that question. When I first made this recipe, I used it as a side. It’s a good one because it doesn’t require a lot of prep and you can’t overcook the kale which makes it perfect when your attention might be turned to preparing something else. But I’d highly recommend this dish for a quick meal or lunch. We also found that if you steam the leftovers, it retains its creaminess and flavor. That hearty kale also keeps it shape and texture making this the perfect kind of dish to keep handy when you want a quick bite.
Weather or not we can make a claim that a particular herb or spice has definitive medicinal attributes, we do know that doing things like adding healthy doses of kale or other greens is nothing short of a win-win. It’s the pleasure of eating tasty food coupled with good nutrition. Keep that as a guiding principle and it will keep you stepping forward along the path – or who knows? You might even skip. Peace.Print
Flavorful one-pot turmeric coconut rice with kale is creamy, aromatic, and layered with texture and goodness from kale and toasted coconut and sesame.
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
- 2 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups long-grain rice, such as basmati or jasmine
- 1 -14 oz. (400 gm.) can coconut milk
- 2 cups chopped kale
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Rinse the rice and set aside.
- In a large skillet or medium pot, toast the coconut flakes and sesame seeds over medium heat until they get a bit brown (2-3 minutes). Stir frequently so they don’t burn. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pot so any leftovers don’t burn.
- In the same pan, sauté the white parts of the scallions, 1 tsp. ground turmeric and ½ tsp. ground black pepper until the scallions are well-covered and get a bit translucent (about 1 minute).
- Add the rice to the pan and stir it so the scallions and turmeric gets mixed in. Toast the rice for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the coconut milk and then fill the can with water and add that to the pan. Stir well so the rice doesn’t clump up.
- Bring the rice to a boil and then turn it down to a low simmer, cover the pan and allow the rice to simmer for about 15 minutes until it gets tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- To the top of the rice, add a layer of kale, the green parts of the scallions, the lime zest and lime juice. Check that there is enough liquid left in the bottom of the pan and if there is very little or none, add ½ cup water. Cover the pan and allow the kale to steam for 5 minutes. Cut the heat and leave covered until ready to serve.
- Add the toasted coconut flakes and sesame seeds to the top right before serving.
- Serve with additional lime wedges if desired.
- Nutritional information is for 6 main servings.
- You can substitute the rice for quinoa or bulgur if desired. Use the same amounts (2 cups). You may need to shorten the cooking time, so keep an eye on the pan.
- Although kale gives this dish a lot of texture, you can substitute other greens including spinach. If you use spinach, cut the heat on the pan after the rice is cooked, add the spinach and replace the lid and allow the spinach to steam.
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: turmeric coconut rice with kale