This lovely, rich-flavoured dish goes with everything: lamb, chicken, fish, vegetables or lentils. I prefer it with less coconut, but lots of people prefer the stickier version with more; I have given both options, just adjust the quantities of coconut milk and water. Any leftovers make delicious coconut rice cakes (press into flat balls and fry gently on both sides in a little oil).
Anjum Anand's Goan coconut rice
300g basmati rice, well washed (see below)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 red onion, finely sliced
360–400ml coconut milk
handful of roasted cashew nuts
shop-bought crispy fried shallots
1 Once the rice has been washed, leave it to soak in fresh water while you start the cooking. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the whole spices, cook for 30–40 seconds, then add the onion. Sauté until soft and caramelising on the edges. Drain the rice and add to the onion, stir
2 Add the coconut milk and water, in the ratio you prefer, to give a total liquid volume of 760ml. Season with salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Cook until the rice is cooked through, around 10 minutes. You will need to stir the pan a few times to make sure it does not stick.
3 Increase the flame, uncover and cook off any excess liquid for one or two minutes. Turn the flame off, cover and allow the rice to steam for five minutes. Serve with one or both of the toppings, if you like.