The key to making this dish properly is using coconut water — a tropical ingredient that, in recent years, has become incredibly popular in America. During cooking, the coconut water hydrates the rice without overwhelming the grains, and it imparts a delicate, sweet tropical lilt. Coconut oil delivers the rich closing punch.

If available, grate fresh turmeric for extra vibrancy; you can find it in more and more supermarket produce departments these days.

This rice is often served with curries, but it’s also terrific with grilled meats, seafood and vegetables. She packs leftovers for lunch.


1 1/2 cups of uncooked long-grain white rice, such as jasmine

1 3/4 cups of coconut water (see overview)

1 1/2 teaspoons of peeled, grated fresh turmeric, or 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (see overview)

1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of virgin coconut oil


Step 1

Wash the rice in several changes of water (which should go from cloudy to clear) or place in a strainer and rinse under running water, then drain well.

Step 2

Combine the coconut water, drained rice, turmeric and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to loosen the grains, then reduce the heat to medium and let bubble for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the surface of the mixture is glossy, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Uncover, add the coconut oil and fluff with chopsticks or a fork to separate the grains. Re-cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes, to finish cooking process.

Step 4

Before serving, fluff the rice once again.

Adapted from “Vietnamese Food Any Day,” by Andrea Nguyen (Ten Speed Press, 2019).

Tested by Andy Sikkenga; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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For a printer-friendly and scalable version of this recipe, view it here.

NUTRITION: Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

Related recipe: Grilled Lemon Grass Pork Chops


Calories: 540; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 160 mg; Carbohydrates: 113 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 4 g; Protein: 9 g.