Instead of popular sticky, glutinous rice, I’ve gone golden-brown — brown rice made golden with turmeric and gently rich with coconut. It straddles savory and sweet, is comforting to eat, kind to the belly and is the perfect way to celebrate the new year.
In a perfect world (or Asia) you cook the rice with a few pandan leaves. The botanical name is pandanus amaryllifolius. It also goes by screw pine. Whatever you call it, pandan is child’s fantasy of an herb with a comforting flavor that’s a whisper of vanilla kissed with roses and grass, and a color that’s an absurd neon green.
Pandan is native to Thailand and Malaysia. Some Asian markets stock the leaves in their freezer section, If you find yourself pandanless, fear not, conjure a mental image of a fan of pandan leaves —narrow, long, serrated, fibrous and Wicked Witch green while adding the turmeric, cardamon, rose water and a single drop of vanilla.
Golden Moon Rice
- 1 cup brown or brown basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 15- ounce can coconut milk full fat tastes best
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamon seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon rose water
- 1 drop vanilla extract
- juice of 1 lime
- a sprinkle of sea salt
- optional — 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted, for garnish
- Pour rice into a medium glass or stainless steel bowl. Let soak for 2 hours or as long as overnight. Rinse and drain in a strainer.
- In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil over high heat. Pour in coconut milk. When it starts to boil again, add rice, turmeric, cardamon seeds, rosewater and vanilla. Stir gently to combine.
- Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is softened, plump and gold from the turmeric. It will have a dreamy perfume that makes you feel like a child — beloved, protected, and best friends with the new year.
- Fluff, add a sprinkle of sea salt and, if desired, optional shredded coconut and serve.