Coconut Saffron Basmati Rice

Since we make a stir-fry or a curry at our house on a weekly basis, this has become a staple.  This Coconut Saffron Basmati Rice recipe takes white rice and elevates it to regal status.  I could eat a big bowl of this on its own.  I could rub this all over my face and go to sleep in it.  I could springboard forward 2 and 1/2 somersaults in the pike position into a swimming pool of this stuff.

It is amazing.  

Adding coconut oil gives it a little tropical touch, but a serious tropical - sans umbrella.  The saffron brings that floral nuance that basmati rice already has, but forgot to bring to the dance.  The last part is the Better than Bouillon; which I think is really better than bouillon.  Saltiness is what rice needs to keep it from going flat on you.

One trick is to add twice the saffron the cheapskate side of your brain tells you to add.  Yes, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.  Yes, at $1,000 per pound, it is ridiculously more expensive than anything else.  Yes, it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 dried flowers to produce only one pound of saffron.  Yes, a little bit goes a long way.

My cheapskate brain has told me all of these things but the rational thought that comes next should be, "If I bought this little jar of saffron in 1988, why is it still here?"  And that's the key.  How old is your saffron?  Was it picked sometime during the Carter Administration?  Get over it.  Dump it in some rice and buy some more.

The next trick is the coconut oil.  Stir it in at the end, to fluff the rice, and not in the beginning.  This is so that you don't cook the turquoise lagoon and white sand beach out of it.  You want the pure essence of the coconut to remain.  You may be pleasantly surprised how light coconut oil is, it is much lighter than olive oil or butter.

The last secret is Better than Bouillon.  This adds a complex saltiness that lends more body and richness than stock.  It can also sit in the fridge for eons.  Along with the rice, the saffron, and the coconut oil, these can be kept for a long time ready to be formed like Voltron when needed.


Coconut Saffron Basmati Rice 

  • 1 cup Basmati rice, rinced well
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon of Better than Bouillon
  • 1 large pinch of saffron, don't be a Grinch
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil


Add the saffron and the Better than Bouillon to the water in a small pot, covered, and bring to a boil.  Add the rice, which will cool the water, bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.  Kill the heat and stir in the coconut oil with a fork, fluffing the rice as well.  Serve hot with a shovel.

Serves 2


In case you didn't know what Voltron was...

Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Recipes
3 CommentsPost a comment

Mrs. Solanki’s Chicken Curry photo by Loren Tama

My friend and co-worker, Milan Solanki, upon hearing that I had never cooked Indian curry before, provided this spectacular recipe from his own mother.  Other Indian friends have since bashed the recipe for its authenticity.  I have since learned that, to an Indian, the only truly “authentic” curry recipes are those cooked by one’s own mother.  Here is Mrs. Solanki’s recipe, copied exactly as it was provided to me:

  • 1lb chicken fillet cut into 1inch cubes
  • 3 tblspn olive oil
  • 2 medium size onions sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tspn crushed ginger
  • 1/2 tspn crushed garlic
  • 1or 2 green chillies cut in half length wise
  • 1tspn salt ( or to taste)
  • 1/4 tspn turmeric powder
  • little less than half a can of peeled tomatoes (liquidised)
  • 2 tspn coriander and cumin powder (buy it ready in shops namely dhana-jeera powder)
  • handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped, washed and drained
  • 1 tspn garam masala (readily available in indian shops)
  • 2 tspn lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan add the slit chillies, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorn and then add the sliced onions.   Fry the onions until golden brown,

**add the chicken and stir gently for couple of minutes until the chicken is coated completely with the onions and olive oil,  add all the spices upto and including turmeric power and again stir and mix it in to the chicken, add half a cup of water, cover the lid and let it simmer (you can add more water if it looks too dry)  for 15 to 18 minutes add the tomatoes and again let it simmer for 3 minutes then sprinkle the garam masala and mix, add the lemon juice and after a minute take it off the flame add chopped coriander just before serving.

 ** variation for methi (fenugreek leaves) chicken.  add the washed and roughly chopped methi after the onions have browned and before adding the chicken.  Stir fry the methi with the onions for 2minutes then add the chicken and continue as above.

All the above spices can be adjusted according to your taste after making it a couple of times. Also how runny or dryish - add water accordingly.

AuthorLoren Tama