Fig Leaf Coconut Rice

Fig Leaf Coconut Rice Recipe


Claudia Schwartz is the lovely, charming proprietress of Bell'occhio, one of the establishments that makes San Francisco special. I see Claudia nearly every Saturday morning, early, at the farmers' market. A few weeks back we had a chat about fig leaves. I had a few in my bag, and she told me she likes to simmer rice with a fig leaf on top. Brilliant. It was one of those things that had never occurred to me. Added to a pot of simmering grains, the fig leaf imparts a subtle flavor and perfume to the entire pot. The best way I can describe it - a bit green, and a bit nutty. But more like raw pepitas than walnuts. And coconut, but green coconut. There are some of those notes as well.

Coconut Rice RecipeCoconut Rice Recipe

I considered making a pearl barley risotto deploying the fig leaf technique, but kept thinking about how nice it would be to do a coconut rice. There was something about making a creamy rice preparation that seemed right here, either way. We ended up enjoying the fig-leaf infused coconut rice for lunch topped with a handful of simple toppings pulled together as the rice was simmering - lots of shredded scallions to add some bright, greenness and counter the creaminess of the rice. There were toasted pepitas, dried figs, and pan-fried tofu sliced into matchsticks.

Coconut Rice Recipe

With the fig leaf, or without, I can imagine this rice being an incredible base for a whole host of preparations - coconut fried rice, futomaki, you could do a twist on arancini. Keep in mind, you want to seek out unsprayed fig leaves. And, in addition to rice, you can also simmer them in the cream you use to make ice cream or gelato. It is (also!) on my list to use them to infuse some vodka - for fig leaf vodka tonics this summer.

Thank you for the inspiration on so many fronts Claudia! xo -h

Lastly this, a bit of a p.s. - Sarah Lonsdale did a great profile on Claudia for Remodelista a couple of years back.

 
 
 
 

Fig Leaf Coconut Rice

2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 fresh fig leaf, unsprayed

to serve: lots and lots of shredded scallions, toasted pepitas, sliced dried figs, and pan-fried tofu

Start by rinsing the rice. You can do this by putting the rice in the thick-bottomed pan it is going to cook in. Fill the pot halfway with water, swish the rice around (the water will get cloudy), and pour out the cloudy water. Repeat a few times.

To the rinsed (and drained) rice add the coconut milk, water, and salt. Stir to combine. Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a boil (uncovered). Stir once or twice to prevent the rice from scorching down at the bottom of the pot. Once the liquid comes to a boil reduce the heat to a low, low simmer, place the fig leaf on top of the simmering rice, and cover the pot tightly with a lid. Simmer until the grains are tender, the timing will differ based on your rice, but typically 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat, and allow to sit for ten minutes or so. Fluff with a fork, and your rice is ready to serve.

Serve topped with any or all of the following: lots and lots of shredded scallions, toasted pepitas, sliced dried figs, and pan-fried tofu.

Serves 4 to 6.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 50 min

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Your Comments


eve
May 15, 2014

could you tell me a bit of what all you do for your pan fried tofu?

thanks !

 

This is such a pretty rice salad. I can imagine the flavour you describing of the coconut mixing with those fig leaves. Love you additional suggestions

Fig leave ice cream? Genius!

 

Valeria
May 15, 2014

I love coconut rice – definitely one of my favourite ways to eat brown rice these days. The tip of the fig leaf is genius, and I know exactly where to find some for the purpouse. The additions sound fantastic, too, especially the dried figs – I am very intrigued.

 

Orit
May 16, 2014

Beautiful! Coconut rice is one of my favorite dishes and this version looks and sounds delicious.

 

la domestique
May 16, 2014

The fig leaf is so pretty and I'm fascinated by the idea of cooking with it. The creamy rice looks like a lovely lunch.

 

Jules @ WolfItDown
May 16, 2014

This looks simply wonderful! It's incredible how well a dish with just a handful of ingredients can turn out!

Unfortunately, I don't think they sell fig leaves here in Glasgow, I have never come across them before anyway. If I do though, I will definitely make sure to bring some home with me, I'm so curious about the flavour! Sounds delicious :) x

 

Lail | With A Spin
May 16, 2014

I love coconut rice. Though I have never tried fig leaf, through your magical description, I can totally imagine how divine this rice must be. Can't wait to get some fig leaves on hand to try this. Thank you for the inspiration.

 

Nora&Laura
May 16, 2014

WOW!!! this looks so delicious!
x
laura&nora

 

Abigail
May 16, 2014

I'm growing a fig plant right now! I didn't know you could eat the leaves?

 

Zita
May 16, 2014

Great recipe! A friend of mine makes lemonade and ice cream from fig leaves! Although the recipes are in Hungarian you can translate them with the help of Google! :)

Ice cream: http://alacarte-kulinaria.blogspot.hu/2013/07/fugefa-level-fagyi-legjobb.html

Lemonade: http://alacarte-kulinaria.blogspot.hu/2013/07/fugefa-level-szorp-es-limonade.html

 

Shannon
May 16, 2014

I have a huge fig tree with loads of leaves (and fig buds!) in my backyard. I would never have thought it do this. Thank you as always, Heidi!

 

Nancy Walker
May 16, 2014

This looks delicious. Do you have a source for the fig leaves? I shop every Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza - Knoll is one of the vendors who sell figs but I've not seen fig leaves anywhere - or I've overlooked them - not surprising since I get there early and I'm often not quite awake :)

 

gluttonforlife
May 16, 2014

I've long been a fan of Dyptique's fig fragrance, so the thought of actually tasting its subtly green notes is very inspiring!

 

Rennae
May 16, 2014

I've been to the SF farmer's market recently during a visit and wondered if you were there. I definately live in the wrong part of this continent! I love fig anything. I'd make this if I could find fig in Ohio. Love your creations Heidi!

 

Vickie
May 16, 2014

Definitely have to try this, since I have a fig tree. Sounds delicious!

 

Ale
May 16, 2014

Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas! I have a beautiful fig tree in my back yard so i can´t wait to try this rice.

 

Lindy
May 16, 2014

I've been wondering what I can do with my fig leaves...I'm going to try this dish.

 

Janet
May 16, 2014

I'll be making this today! I'm impatiently watching the figs ripen on five trees, so I'll gladly give one leaf a try in the meantime. I'm guessing you don't actually eat the leaves, but I'll do some more research for additional ideas. Hey, and if times get really bad, now I know we might make some money shipping fig leaves! Thanks Heidi!

 

Nancy Walker
May 16, 2014

This looks delicious. Do you have a source for the fig leaves? I shop every Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza - Knoll is one of the vendors who sell figs but I've not seen fig leaves anywhere - or I've overlooked them - not surprising since I get there early and I'm often not quite awake :)

 

Janet
May 16, 2014

I'll be making this today! I'm impatiently watching the figs ripen on five trees, so I'll gladly give one leaf a try in the meantime. I'm guessing you don't actually eat the leaves, but I'll do some more research for additional ideas. Hey, and if times get really bad, now I know we might make some money shipping fig leaves! Thanks Heidi!

 

betsy shipley
May 16, 2014

As I sit here reading these marvelous recipes I can't wait to try them as soon as possible. Right now we are having our kitchen remodeled so when I do a tempeh demonstration hopefully with pictures and recipes.
betsy shipley

 

Eileen
May 16, 2014

I have never heard of cooking with fig leaves before! SUPER interesting. I'm definitely going to have to collect a few leaves and try this out.

 

thefolia
May 16, 2014

How interesting...I can't wait to try this. I have a fig tree--lucky me! Happy Nesting.

 

Francesca
May 16, 2014

Thanks for the fig leaf idea. As i have some in my garden, I will definitely give this a go.

 

Bob
May 16, 2014

When I lived in SF, I used to buy fig leaves from the Knolls at Ferry building farmer's market. Christie told me to grow my own when I moved to Inverness...mostly to use to cook fish. Not even the heat wave will grow figs on my hill in Inverness, but I have a now huge tree full of leaves and will try this recipe tonight. The Knolls have far more than fig leaves. All of their produce is some of the best in the market, and they interesting, fun and absolutely dedicated to organic.

HS: Agreed Bob! That is where I typically find them as well. They have beautiful produce.

 

lori
May 17, 2014

Maybe this will be the push I need to finally go plant the fig tree I've been wanting to put in the ground.

 

Such a great recipe! I love your pictures, they are just amazing... I would have never even thought about a combination of coconut rice with a fig leaf. Not in a million years.

Thank you so much for sharing this and inspiring.

 

DessertForTwo
May 17, 2014

You always inspire me so much! I had no idea I could use fig leaves in cooking. Thanks :)

 

Mooch
May 17, 2014

Where would someone living in Ontario, Canada find a fig leaf? Art gallery or sculpture garden would be my only frame of reference!

 

Denise | TLT
May 18, 2014

What a great and original recipe!
I'm currently thinking about going to San Francisco next summer. I've been several years ago and can't wait to return to the city I loved so much. This post made me realize just how much I need to just do it. Thank you for that encouragement!

 

The unique ingredient combination here is stunning Heidi. Love the idea of dried figs with coconut rice. But I have never used fig leaves and am really curious about them. Now, if I were just back at my grandmother's house where I could have access to a fig tree and fig leaves! ;-)

 

Peggy
May 19, 2014

Thank you for sharing such a great idea. Our neighbor's fig tree has several branches coming over our fence, so I may pick a leaf tonight to use!

 

Sophia
May 20, 2014

This is such a wonderful idea. I adore the smell of fig leaves and having made yoghurt mousse using fig leaf infused cream I adore that unique flavour that you describe so well too (fruity yet with a hint of coconut). Since making that mousse I have been wondering what else to make with fig leaves and you have just given me an answer!

 

Susan Engelbrecht
May 20, 2014

I so enjoy your newsletters, hints and recipes. Since I am fortunate to have a fig tree in the garden (grown from a cutting obtained from the neighbours just as they cut their tree down!) I immediately tried it, and that's the way to cook rice. Regards from South Africa.

 

alyson
May 20, 2014

By chance, I read this post last Saturday AM, before heading to the Ferry Building. Picked up a couple fig leaves for .25 each at Knoll. Just finished simply steaming a fig leaf with some brown basmati rice, and omg the aroma is insane. So much coconut, even without using the coconut milk in the rice. Thanks so much for the tip, Heidi!

HS: Love hearing it Alyson!

 

Lauren
May 20, 2014

Hi Heidi, I have a new food blog. I think you might really like it. I've been reading your beautiful, inspiring site for years, and I just wanted to let you know about my new site. I hope you like it. xx

 

Lauren
May 20, 2014

PS. Especially read the 'about' page and the 'homemade yogurt' post.

 

Samantha
May 21, 2014

I am so happy you posted this recipe!! I have been looking for ways to use fig leaves ever since I got a tree 4 years ago. So happy all the huge, beautiful leaves don't have to go to waste!! Can't wait to try! Thanks!!

 

You had me at "coconut rice." Seriously, I make coconut rice (savory and sweet) almost every single week and you have now given me a new idea!

 

Millie
May 21, 2014

Absolutely gorgeous and looks delicious! Definateiy going to make this as I'm obsessed with anything coconut.

 

Michele
May 23, 2014

Any other fig leaf ideas would be welcome, as I am constantly pruning off the leaves from my giant Turkish fig tree (to allow the sugar to run to the fruit).. Mario Batali did a recipe several years ago where he wrapped shrimp in fig leaves, skewered them, then grilled. I just have no sense of what the flavor is going to be in any of these infusions (would it work in a marinade?) -- I am leery of anything perfumy or soapy (my family is anti-cilantro and rosemary only in moderation).
To obtain leaves, just ask a fig vendor at the market for extra leaves (the trees are quite lush). I would be happy to send anyone an envelope full of fig leaves, or kaffir leaves, btw (any ideas for those?). If you want some, maybe post your interest here and we can exchange contact info through Heidi?

 

Michele
May 24, 2014

Any other fig leaf ideas would be welcome, as I am constantly pruning off the leaves from my giant Turkish fig tree (to allow the sugar to run to the fruit).. Mario Batali did a recipe several years ago where he wrapped shrimp in fig leaves, skewered them, then grilled. I just have no sense of what the flavor is going to be in any of these infusions (would it work in a marinade?) -- I am leery of anything perfumy or soapy (my family is anti-cilantro and rosemary only in moderation).
To obtain leaves, just ask a fig vendor at the market for extra leaves (the trees are quite lush). I would be happy to send anyone an envelope full of fig leaves, or kaffir leaves, btw (any ideas for those?). If you want some, maybe post your interest here and we can exchange contact info through Heidi?

 

Kathleen
May 27, 2014

I can't wait to try this. I will have to search out the fig leaves though. I am not a fan of tofu (ick!) so will pan toast some tempeh instead. Thanks much for the coconut rice recipe.

 

Adriana
May 27, 2014

Hi Heidi
I just made this today, no fig leaves available where I live : (
Since I read it I thought it was very little water/milk for the amount of rice. I used very low simmer and thick bottomed pot, but it wouldnt finish cooking, I had to add almost a full cup of extra water. It was good in the end, a soft hint of the cooconut there.
Thanks for all the wonderful recipes as always

 

Mairi-a
May 30, 2014

In Cyprus, Mediterranean cooking,young vine leaves are used in koubebia-stuffed finger shaped [pork mince,washed rice,finely chopped onion,finely chopped tomatoes,chopped parsley chopped green sweet pepper,dried mint ,lemon juice,olive oil salt-pepper.n.b. the pork mince is gently sautéed a little before all is mixed together.P.S .we also make the above without meat .[.Nistisima ]which means [fasting].which by the way are delicious ,the same mix [without meat] used for stuffed zucchini flowers....no these are not Dolmas,Cypriot cuisine is very indigenous .

 

At a restaurant i worked, we'd make fig leaf ice cream and it had this amazing, creamy-coconut flavor. Never thought to use it in a savory version!

 

Torgny
June 24, 2014

This looks interesting. I recently made fig liqueur (using gin as a base) and then letting it rest for at least one month before use. I was surprised by the vanilla and coconut flavors that developed; it doesn't taste like gin at all. I'm not sure what to do with it, as it's very sweet, but it is certainly one of the more interesting liqueurs I've come across. If anyone wants to try the recipe, which I found on the net, here 'tis:

625ml (21 ounces) sugar
750ml (25 ounces) water
12 fig leaves
750ml gin (you could use vodka)

Heat sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add fig leaves and boil for 20 minutes. Allow syrup to cool. Remove leaves and add gin to syrup. Pour liqueur into sterilized bottles and store for at least a month before use.