Purple Jasmine Coconut Rice Recipe

My favorite coconut rice recipe - rich, fragrant, and just sticky enough.

Purple Jasmine Coconut Rice

I use this jasmine coconut recipe constantly, but I wasn't always so. My friend Joycelyn owns the hugely popular Burma Superstar restaurant here in San Francisco. Drive by any night of the week and you'll find a line out the door, people patiently waiting for a seat inside the modest-sized, one room dining area. Joyce always brings us the perfect parade of dishes. I'm know I'm not alone in singing the praises of the samusa soup, tea leaf and rainbow salads - and I'd never leave without a side of the rich, fragrant jasmine coconut rice.

Burma Superstar is where I typically get my coconut rice fix. My friend Jen and I talk about how good it is - a lot. That being said you would think I would make it at home. But no. Truth be told it has been a long, long time since I've cooked coconut rice, but when I came across a box of beautiful "purple jasmine" rice last week I took it as a sign. I made my way home from the store with visions of a vibrant platter of rice that would be as stunning to the eye as it was to the stomach.

Purple rice blend.

The purple rice (Khao Gram variety) is available under the Alter Eco brand (you already know how much I enjoy their sugar). The purple rice is actually blended with a percentage of naturally fragrant white jasmine rice (Hom Malee) - hence the purple/jasmine name. The purple grains are glutinous (sticky) when cooked and ever so slightly sweet. You can use this rice blend for both sweet and savory preparations. I've also tried their coral rice previously - it was used for another coconut rice preparation, sweetened and topped with mango. Delicious.

I topped this platter of coconut rice with crispy shallot slices, and pan-toasted cashews. Don't skimp on the shallots, they really set the rice off with their smoky, just-this-side-of-burnt crunchiness.

Leftovers make an easy rice salad, just toss in whatever you've got on hand - sliced green onions, tiny pan-seared tofu cubes, more cashews, etc and you've got yourself a satisfying meal. Or for a sweet, dessert preparation, just omit the shallots and cashews, sweeten up the coconut milk with a bit of palm or brown sugar, and top with mango.

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Purple Jasmine Coconut Rice Recipe

Look for these delicious, colorful rices in natural food stores. You can find them at some (many?) Whole Foods Markets as well. Here's a link to Alter Eco's store locator.

2 cups purple jasmine rice (or substitute white jasmine rice)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (don't use lite)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unsalted butter
A handful of cashews, chopped and toasted

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 3 times. The water might still be a bit cloudy, and that is o.k.

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 often 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, cover the pot tightly with a lid. Cook for about 15- 20 more minutes (resisting the urge to peek). Remove from heat (still covered!), and let the rice steam for another 10-15.

While the rice is cooking cook up the shallots in a small frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Too hot and you'll burn the butter instead of browning it. Add the butter to the pan, then stir in the shallots and a couple pinches of salt. Stir every few minutes letting the shallots brown increasingly until they are dark in color. Transfer to a paper towel until ready to use.

I fluff the rice in the pot so I don't completely dirty up the edges of my serving bowl or platter. Transfer the rice to desired serving vessel and sprinkle with cashews and the crispy shallots.

Serves 4 to 6.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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hey great recipe it taste very good
never experience such a good rice

Francisco Beauchamp

Wow! That looks delicious and I love the story that goes with it.

miami yacht

This web-site is the coolest! Now I dont have to feel so intimated by science! Youre a genius! I think Ill visit this site often.


I have such a hard time finding purple rice. Suggestions?


This looks really good. I never had puple rice before, the color is beautiful!


This is absolutely beautiful! I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on some purple jasmine rice!


I like adding a little bit of vanilla essence to coconut rice, to enhance the sweet aroma. I find that a 1/2 tsp isn’t enough for one to actually catch the vanilla explicitly, it just supports the gentle coconut.


i think have always hated rice but when my friend forced me to eat this i thought it was the best. … about the coconut millk dont think it matters….. the food is so rich in different flavors you barely noticce!


Thanks Heidi. I have never seen purple rice here in New Zealand, but will be keeping an eye out for it in future. Any update on your planned New Zealand tour? I am eager to hear all about your food experiences in my corner of the world!


As soon as I read the recipe I had to make it…I love rice, but this is superb!! Absolutly fab!!
Thank you Heidi!


I love experimenting with new dishes on my friends and family. They tend to enjoy it too. This looks wonderful and I would like to try it. I live in southern Oregon in a small town just outside of Medford. Any ideas where I can get my hands on some of that purple rice?

Mulling over Dinner

This looks great…I wonder if forbidden rice would work the same…(mixed with white rice)

Baking Fairy

I can only say that this recipe would be bettered by a Pandan leaf if you can find it.
and I only want a photo here if you’ll take it.
ps. i have found you a wonderful gift in Paris. xo

shuna fish lydon

This dish sounds fabulous and has made me see rice in a different way! Thanks! You mentioned the book Cradle of Flavor. Would you recommend this book to vegetarians? What is your favorite vegetarian cookbook? I am looking for a more updated veg cookbook. Mine are 30 years old or more!
This is such a wonderful blog and I sincerely thank you. Nickie


Oh, I will travel any distance for Burma Superstar’s samosas and that divine tea leaf salad… I’m SO glad you posted this recipe! I’ve often wondered how I could duplicate their yummy rice.
Any idea how they do the other one (w/ cinnamon and etc.)?


Let me just be the umpteenth person to say this looks amazing. It seems like it would be a nice dish to serve along with a fish of some sort, or maybe scallops.


Not to be the kill joy, but Burma Superstar is a poor exscuse rip off of New Yorks
“Star Stripes” I geuss since its all the way across country most would not notice. But I’m sorry the food is not that great.


oh how perfect! purple rice is on my grocery list this week now!


This is my first time getting to know of purple jasmine coconut rice – interesting! Over here in Singapore/Malaysia, it is common to have coconut rice [locally known as Nasi Lemak] for breakfast. It is eaten with omellette, fried fish, fried chicken wing, slices of cucumber and lots of sambal [spicy thick chili condiment]. Very yummy, but very fattening. 🙂 And the purple rice, is usually eaten as dessert, such as Bubur Pulut Hitam [kinda like sweet porridge with a little bit of cooked coconut milk on the top]. Very yummy indeed 🙂 Love the pix! 🙂


Yes Miss Mouse, you are right on the money – because you are already cutting the coconut milk with water you don’t want to use the lite versions. I don’t think it would be bad, just not as rich.
Anne, the purple rice is a whole grain. If you look at that close up shot it looks like some of the purple grains are pearled down and they’ve become speckled with the white endosperm showing through yet retaining some of their bran. And then there is the white jasmine rice which rounds out the blend – considered refined.
Sweetzark, I served this with a delicious Javanese Twice Cooked Tofu with Coriander from the new James Oseland book, Cradle of Flavor (page 330). Delicious.


Beth, I think it’s because (correct me if I’m wrong) ‘lite’ coconut milk is just coconut milk with (more) water in it; which would make the milk/sauce a little on the thin side as it’s already calling for water. Or perhaps that’s just my misconception at work.

A. E. Mouse

My first time responding!
This looks SO yummy! My boyfriend (who is a graduate of the CIA and who THINKS he is the better cook) will be intrigued! This is JUST the “different” thing I have been looking for in our on-going culinary one-upmanships! I can’t WAIT to try this upon his uppity “educated” palate! Any suggestions for an entree to go along with this? (AND a dessert?)


looks delicious. when I was younger I thought rice was just rice. Now that I’m older I know better.


Oh goodness, gurl, that looks de-VINE! (Just like you!)
I have a friend coming to visit in a few weeks, and I’m taking a day to let her do a visit of SF. Been trying to think of a few places to go, so maybe this should be one.
Know of any other good, budget wise places to eat by chance?


oops, typo. That’s timbales, not ‘timabales’…I’m a bit fast-fingered today.


Lovely…that rice is divine sounding.
I have some “forbidden black rice”…any recommendations for using it? I wanted to try to make up some recipe for ‘Forbidden Black Rice Timabales”, but I have no idea what it would be. Hrmm…black rice pudding might be insane. Stuffing would be odd, too.
Any ideas appreciated!

Uncle Hannah

Beautiful photos. I am really looking forward to making this, as a side to dish, but I don’t seem to see it in the Alter Eco website under puprle jasmine rice.


I’ve never seen purple rice before. The color is stunning. And the pan-fried shallot slices on top (YUM) sound like the perfect touch to this dish.


much less spooky looking than black rice. thanks for the intel!


I LOVE Burma Superstar! In fact, I was JUST telling a few co-workers about it yesterday. Small world 🙂


what’s purple jasmine rice? What makes it purple? It’s not a whole grain by chance, is it?


What an absolutely delicious description of a rice dish. I love coconut rice, sweet & savory, and will definitely give this one a try.


Oh, that rice is so pretty! Reminds me of zebra eggplant.


Why don’t you recommend using the Lite Coconut Milk? I’ve found that it works very similarly in most recipes.

Beth Anne

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