Colombian cuisine is a tapestry of diverse flavors influenced by the country’s rich cultural heritage and varied landscapes. One dish that perfectly captures this blend of tastes is Colombian salted coconut rice. Unlike coconut rice in other Latin American countries, which is often enjoyed as a dessert, Colombian coconut rice is a savory delight that pairs beautifully with dishes like fried fish and patacones.
This unique recipe stands out because of its titote base, which involves reducing coconut milk to its rich fat and milk solids before using it to cook the rice. The hint of sweetness in this dish comes from panela.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- 1 coconut (to yield coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup of panela
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups of long-grain white rice
- Salt to taste
1. Preparing the Coconut
- Begin by separating the coconut meat from the shell. You can do this by placing the coconut in a hot pan to loosen it. Be cautious when using a knife for this step.
2. Grating the Coconut
- Once you’ve removed all the coconut meat, finely grate or chop it. There’s no need to remove the brown skin adhering to the white flesh.
3. Blending the Coconut
- Transfer the grated coconut to a blender. Add just enough warm water to aid in the blending process. You may need to stir the coconut in the blender to ensure it blends thoroughly.
4. Straining the Coconut
- Strain the blended coconut to extract the coconut milk. Don’t discard the leftover coconut pulp.
5. Grating the Sweetener
- Grate the panela. While we use this traditional sweetener, you can opt for sugar if you prefer.
6. Preparing the Titote
- In a pot, combine the coconut milk, salt, and grated panela. Heat the mixture and let it reduce until the liquid evaporates, leaving behind transparent coconut oil and small brown milk solids. This mixture is known as titote.
7. Blending the Coconut Pulp
- Blend the leftover grated coconut pulp again. This time, add four cups of water, which is double the amount of rice you’ll use.
8. Combining and Cooking
- Add the coconut milk obtained from the second blend to the titote. Allow it to simmer briefly, and then add the rice.
9. Season and Cook
- Check the salt level and let the rice cook until it’s completely done.
10. Serving the Delight
- Serve your warm Colombian salted coconut rice alongside fried fish, garlic-infused patacones, a fresh green salad, and a refreshing glass of panela water with a hint of lemon.
Colombian salted coconut rice is a mouthwatering testament to the country’s culinary diversity. Its rich, savory flavor and unique preparation process make it an unforgettable dish. Give it a try and immerse yourself in the tropical delights of Colombian cuisine.