This is a dish that is so comforting it practically hugs you: The warm, slightly sweet rice with the crunch of cashews, fresh sweet peas, and spicy arugula makes for a lovely combination that's both hearty and layered. It would work as a fantastic side with some grilled shrimp or tofu, but honestly, I love eating it on its own.
||This dish hinges on rich and creamy coconut milk, so make sure to use one you love. My favorite is Thai Kitchen's Organic Coconut Milk. It stands out because unlike other brands, this one doesn't add water to the mix. $5 for a two-pack, Thai Kitchen
- 2/3 cup toasted cashews
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes, packed
- 1 handful arugula
- salt and pepper to taste
- For coconut rice:
- 1 1/2 cups brown jasmine or basmati rice
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1. In a small pot of salted, boiling water, blanch the peas by cooking them for 2 minutes (until bright green), then dunk them in ice water and strain them.
2. Combine the peas, cashews, mint, basil, coconut flakes and arugula and set aside.
3. Now make the rice: Rub the oil over the bottom of a regular-sized pot (you will also need a tight-fitting lid). Add the coconut milk, water, salt, and sugar.
4. Stir and set over high heat, bringing it to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 60 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
5. When all (or nearly all) of the coconut water is gone, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner (covered). Allow the rice to sit for another 5-10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. Your coconut rice will stay warm in this way for 1 hour or more (a great make-ahead tip if you're expecting company!).
6. Combine all of the ingredients together with the rice, season to taste, and serve while the rice is still warm.
Photograph: Claire Thomas