The Ingredient Swap You Need To Make For The Most Flavorful Rice

A great rice recipe can do a lot to help spice up your dinner routine and bring some diversity to your weekly meal planning. The other great thing is that rice is also a great source of nutrition. According to Colorado State University's Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center, the versatile grain is a good source of carbohydrates, which your body needs for fuel. Brown rice contains fiber, selenium, magnesium, and B vitamins, but even white rice offers some of these vitamins and nutrients, according to the center.

One great thing about rice is that it can be used in a wide variety of dishes and you can add flavor to the rice itself, ensuring that you eat more of it. There are a lot of great rice recipes that involve adding spices, herbs, and other ingredients to plain rice after it has cooked, but you can also cook the flavor right into the rice with one simple ingredient swap.

Easily adding flavor to rice

If you want to add just a hint of flavor to your rice dishes, canned coconut milk can be used in place of water or broth when you are cooking the rice. According to BuzzFeed, if you use coconut milk instead of water or even flavored broths, you will get a subtle flavor that is great for using in stir-fries and other rice dishes. Mahatma Rice says there are many variations of coconut rice from all over the world, including Indian Coconut Rice, Arroz con Coco (a Latin-American version), and Thai Coconut Rice. You can make it as a side dish for foods like fish, or add it into a bean dish to give a slightly sweet flavor to balance the earthy flavor of lentils.

Before tossing dry rice into it, there are a few things to know about canned coconut milk. First, coconut milk is a combination of the meat of the coconut and water, and it comes in unsweetened and sweetened varieties, per MasterClass. For rice, you will want the unsweetened variety so that you are not adding unnecessary sugar to your recipe.

How to use coconut milk for rice

Additionally, many coconut rice recipes call for using a 1:1 pairing of coconut milk and water. This means that if you use one cup of water, you'd use one cup of coconut milk and so on. This will make the flavor more subtle, but it also ensures that your rice cooks properly, which it cannot do because the milk is too thick on its own and the rice won't absorb it, per Recipe Tin Eats. The site also adds that when you use undiluted coconut milk to cook rice, the rice will end up sticky and clump together.

You should also be aware of the increase in calories along with the fat content when cooking with coconut milk. Per WebMD, just two tablespoons of coconut milk contains 56 calories and six grams of fat. Water has none of that, so cutting the coconut milk with water, or using a 1:1 solution, can help to keep your rice dish healthier.