amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Coconut curry with brown jasmine rice blend

POSTED ON December 11, 2011

coconut curry

coconut curry

I made this meal for friends last week and enjoyed it for lunch for a couple of days afterwards.  Many curries have a complex mixture of spices behind them, but not this one; instead it has a nice clean flavor and lovely delicate fragrance from the lemongrass. The curry is still warming and soothing and contains enough heat to clear your head, but not overwhelm your palate.


lemongrass, ginger, and garlic

cooking them

I like to make my own coconut milk because the flavor and texture are so much lighter than the canned versions. I use dried organic coconut because it’s easier to find than fresh organic coconuts in New York.  If you have fresh available then by all means blend some up. If you want to use canned coconut milk, I would use one-third water, as it can be very rich and heavy.

The whole meal ended up with a great Thai flavor. If I had had Kefir lime leaves, I would have definitely added them, although on second thought, I didn’t miss them. I had some limes on hand to squeeze over each portion but at the last minute decided that it was perfect as is.

Since I wanted to make the curry a bit more special than an everyday meal, I sautéed some red peppers and stirred them in at the end, definitely not necessary but it added a lovely bust of color.


One last thing…you could make this with or with out the chickpeas or add any kind of cooked bean you have on hand. I have made a delicious version with French lentils too. Please don’t be put off by the length of this recipe, it really is quite easy to make and a sure crowd pleaser!

from above


straining the milk

coconut milk

Coconut curry

The jalapenos I used were not at all hot, so I decided to add some cayenne pepper. Make sure you taste your curry before adding the cayenne.

6 cups filtered water

3 cups dried coconut

2 stalks lemon grass, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil or coconut butter

1 onion, sliced

Sea salt

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ inch piece ginger, minced

1 red jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 green jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 small bunch cilantro

1 small leek, sliced

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 red turnips, cut in ¾ inch wedges

4 cups kabocha squash, cut in ¾ inch pieces

3 small carrots, cut in ½ inch pieces

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (optional)

2 cups cauliflower florets

2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced

Large handful baby spinach leaves

Cayenne pepper to taste

To make coconut milk pour the water and coconut into a blender and blend on high speed for at least 2 minutes. You can do this in two batches if you have a smaller blender.

Place a strainer over a medium sized pot and line with a thin kitchen towel or nut milk bag. Pour the coconut milk into cloth or bag and gently squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Compost the pulp and place the pot over high heat. Add the lemon grass and bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer while you make the curry or for up to 30 minutes. Remove lemon grass with small strainer and discard. Set milk aside.

Warm coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add a pinch of salt, the garlic, ginger and jalapenos and cook for another couple of minutes. Finely slice the cilantro stems and add to the pot along with the leeks. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and set aside.Stir in turmeric then add the turnips, squash and carrots. Pour in homemade coconut milk and bring to a boil. Stir, lower heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower raise heat to bring back to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and continue cooking for a few minutes. Slowly drizzle in arrowroot and gently stir until mixture thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper if you want it spicier.Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add peppers and a pinch of salt and sauté for a few minutes or until they begin to brown in parts. Remove from heat and add to the curry. Stir in cilantro leaves and spinach until wilted. Remove from heat and serve. Serves 6 to 8 people

Brown jasmine rice blend

If you like you can reduce the amount of jasmine rice and increase the red and wild rice. I just wanted it to be flecked with some color and contrasting textures. Pre-soaking wild rice is of course a great thing to do but it becomes very soft and open and doesn’t look as pretty.

1 ½ cups brown jasmine rice

1 tablespoon red rice

1 tablespoon wild rice

3 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking

3 bay leaves

Pinch sea salt

In a small pot with tight fitting lid, combine jasmine and red rice.

Cover with at least 2 inches of filtered water, cover and soak overnight.

Drain, rinse and drain again. Return to pot and add wild rice, water, bay leaves and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6 people

POSTED IN Gluten free, Grains, Mains

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  • Rachel says:

    Hi! I just saw the Martha Stewart issue, which is where I first read of you, and am so glad to have discovered your lovely-looking blog! I am immediately entranced. Question: if one were to use canned coconut milk, how many cups of liquid does the recipe require? Thanks!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Good question! When I make my own milk I am left with only slightly under 6 cups as you can’;t squeeze all the water out.
      So I would say 2 cans of milk and the rest water…if you want it richer you can add more coconut milk and less water.
      Or use 6 cups of “light” coconut milk. Happy cooking and thanks for writing!

  • Nancy says:

    Would cheese cloth work for straining the coconut milk? Thanks

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Yes, but it needs to be the thicker muslin type of cheese cloth, otherwise the pulp will get through.
      Let me know how you go!

  • Ashley says:

    Another coconut recipe! Love it.

  • We love this recipe it’s awesome so much we had to post the link.
    I love caribbean style curry but this made me a believer Amy. It’s kind of a clean version if you will. At times I’m not in for all the heat of the spices.

    We love that you use so much bamboo products too please let us know if we can be of service to you.

  • Kelly says:

    I’ve made 5 of your recipes since ready the latest MS magazine. Love all of them! Your coconut curry is delicious. I ran out of time and did not make the coconut milk. Still delicious. Next time I will increase the amount of milk or make my own. Thanks for sharing your recipes. I am looking forward to trying many more.

  • Lauren says:

    Absolutely addicted to your blog. On my way to cooking just about every single one of your recipes! Totally re-inspired, which I needed!

    Have made this coconut milk a few times now but used it for different things…chia pudding, etc. but this time it separated and curdled when I simmered it with the lemongrass. I was too far in so went ahead and used it and it was still delicious but the texture and appearance were deterrents. It was just visually off. Any suggestions?

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Sometimes the coconut milk separetes when the fat content is higher. If you can see it separating before adding it, sometimes blending it again
      works, but usually it begins to separate when its warmed. So glad you’re inspried! Thanks for reading and for your comment!

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