Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
First published August 2012. Updated June 2017.
This Thai Green Rice recipe is an original Thai recipe I created for a charity cooking class many years ago. It’s a rich and creamy rice dish, and I drew inspiration from 2 favourite rice dishes: the Mexican Green Rice (Arroz Verde) and the Malay Nasi Lemak (recipe soon).
In Arroz Verde, the colour is achieved by puréeing fresh coriander leaves and green capsicum (bell pepper) and in the Nasi Lemak, lemak refers to the coconut milk the rice is cooked in, so it’s Coconut Rice. I borrowed the coriander (cilantro) from Arroz Verde and added Green Thai Curry paste to the mix and took the coconut milk idea from Nasi Lemak.
The result? A phenomenally flavoursome and aromatic rice that is good enough to eat on its own with just some salad or a fried egg. In Thailand and other parts of Asia, it is not uncommon to have a bowl of plain rice with just one side dish.
A quick note on some of the Ingredients used
Coconut milk: In Thai cuisine, the thick, creamy “head” of the coconut milk is used to sauté spices at the start, much like using oil. As many of us in the West have no choice but to use canned coconut milk, the thick part of the milk will be right at the top, so don’t shake the can before opening it when cooking Thai.
Usually when I cook Asian rice recipes, I don’t stir it at all. But because of the coconut milk and paste in this Thai Green Rice, I do it twice while it’s cooking. That’s to prevent a crust from forming at the bottom. Of course, if you are a fan of Persian Rice and Tahdig, as I am, you might want that burnt crust! But be warned, you’ll have to increase the recipe proportions, so as to have enough actual rice for everyone!
Green Thai Curry Paste: Now I am going to assume that you will be using a shop bought paste here, which, in this day and age, should be readily available. However, if you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own, just click the link above for the recipe.
Lemongrass: Always use the bottom half only. Click on the link for more info.
Kaffir Lime Leaves: These guys are an indispensable herb in much of South East Asia. There is no substitute for them. If you can’t get them, leave them out and finish off your rice with the coriander leaves (cilantro). You could drop in a bay leaf for some fragrance instead. Click on the link above to read more about Kaffir Lime leaves.
How to serve this Thai Green Rice?
It goes with any number of dishes from South East Asia. So you can look for recipes from the following pages:
And for a visual idea of recipes:
I love to serve this on a plate lined with banana leaves. If not serving immediately, line a deep dish all around with banana leaves, pile the green rice in, cover with another layer of leave and place a lid/plate over. The hot rice will absorb the flavour of the leaves and the resulting dish is like nothing you’ve had before!
That’s it. Any questions, just ask, I’ve just opened the comments on his post!
Shall we get our aprons on?
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Thai Green Rice
- 300 g Jasmine Rice, rinsed and left to drain
- 500 ml coconut milk
- PLUS 3 Tbsp of the thick/creamy part of the milk
- 1 Tbsp green Thai curry paste
- 2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves cilantro with stalks
- 2 stalks lemongrass bruised
- 4 Kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tsp Thai fish sauce
- fresh coriander / cilantro leaves chopped, to serve
- Puree the coriander leaves in a food processor, using as much or as little coconut milk as needed.
- Heat the 3 tbsp of thick coconut milk in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.
- When it starts to bubble, add the Thai green paste and lemongrass, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes until the oil from the milk separates and is visible as a transparent greenish liquid. There won’t be much of the oil, but you will notice it.
- At this point, add the drained rice and stir to coat.
- Make up 500 ml (2 cups) in total of liquid using the pureed coriander leaves and the rest of the coconut milk. Add this to the rice, along with the lime leaves and fish sauce.
- As soon as the coconut milk starts to bubble, stir well and reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir well at the 5 and 10 minute mark.
- At the end of the 15 minutes, take it off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Scatter the coriander (cilantro) all over and serve.