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Coriander (Cilantro) Coconut Rice & Vegetable Raita

This recipe is incredibly simple and extremely flavorful!! Cilantro or coriander, as it is called in India is my most favorite herb. I cannot live without it and you will always find my fridge stocked with at least a bunch!! I use it in everything, everything savory :) And in this recipe, cilantro is the star!!! The recipe is so easy, you can’t go wrong with it. And the peanuts add a nice texture to the rice. You may go ahead and use cashew nuts in place of peanuts if you are feeling indulgent. This is also a great option for lunch boxes or picnics. Serve with salan or simple vegetable raita (recipe follows) to make the meal wholesome. Well, I don’t have much else to say today, so lets just get to the recipe :)


Rice (preferably basmati or any long grained rice) – 2 cups
Coconut Milk – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Cilantro (Coriander) leaves – a large bunch (roughly chopped, 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
Mint leaves – 10-15 leaves (optional, but recommended)
Green Chillies (Serrano or Jalapeno)* – 1-2 no. (use more or less according to your taste)
Lemon juice – from 1 large lemon (2-3 Tbsp)
Onion – 1 large
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Garlic (minced) – 4 large cloves
Ginger (grated) – 1 inch piece
Raw Peanuts (groundnuts) – 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt – to taste
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Cloves – 3-4 no.
Green Cardamom – 1 no.
Cumin or Caraway seeds – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 2 Tbsp

*Note: Serrano is less spicy than jalapeno. Keep that in mind!!


  • Rinse and soak the rice in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Thoroughly wash the cilantro leaves and discard the tough woody roots. You don’t need to remove all the stems, in fact stems have a lot of flavor!! Discard only very tough roots. Combine the cilantro and the green chilli in a blender and grind into a smooth paste adding water as required. But don’t add too much water, about 3-4 tbsp would be enough.

Tip: To wash the cilantro leaves, fill a large vessel with lots of water. Drop in the leaves and rinse them. Then pick up the leaves that are floating on the top. The dirt and mud will sink to the bottom. Repeat until the water runs clear, at least three times.

  • Heat oil in a sauce pan (the one you can use to cook the rice in) on medium high heat. Add in the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and saute for a minute, until aromatic. At this point, I like to remove the whole spices, but you may keep them and remove them after cooking.
  • Once the spices are aromatic, add in the mustard seeds and let them splutter, then add in the cumin or caraway seeds and saute for 20 seconds. Then add in the raw peanuts and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the raw smell of the peanuts goes away. Take care not to burn the peanuts and keep stirring often.
  • Then add the onions with a pinch of salt and saute until the onions are lightly browned. Then add in the ground cilantro-chilli paste and coriander powder and fry until most of the moisture dries up. Then add the drained, soaked rice and saute for 3-4 minutes until the rice is translucent. At this point, you may do three things. One transfer the rice mixture to an electric rice cooker. Two, transfer it to a pressure cooker. And three, continue to cook in the saucepan.

Note: The ratio of rice to water is usually 1:2. But because we have already soaked the rice here, it would have absorbed some water already. So we reduce the quantity of liquid and use the ratio of 1:1 1/2 (rice:water).

  • Whichever method you follow, add in the lemon juice, coconut milk and 1 cup of water and check salt. If you are going to continue cooking in the saucepan, reduce the heat to low-medium and cover the pot with a tight lid. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the rice is done. Then turn off the stove and keep the pot covered for at least 10 minutes. Then fluff up the rice using a fork, if required and serve hot!!

Tip: Always add lemon or lime juice when you are adding liquid to the rice. The acid will keep the rice (starch) from sticking together. And you will never even have a sticky, clumpy pot of rice! And thank my mom for this tip :)

  • I serve this rice with a vegetable raita. Just finely chop some onions, tomatoes, carrots, green peppers and some cilantro. Add into plain yogurt seasoned with salt, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder and a little bit of red chilli powder. That’s it!!

Isn’t that tomato rose is pretty?? This is my first attempt and I am so glad it turned out so beautiful :)


You might also like:

Tamatar Dhania Shorba (Tomato Cilantro Soup)

Kovakka (Dondakaya/Tindora) Podi Curry

Sambar Avalakki (Poha/Aval) – A light, no-cook snack!

Anjum’s New Indian – Book Review & Cannellini Bean Curry Recipe

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