Spicy Sesame Coconut Rice

This recipe makes a pot of brown rice cooked In a thin sesame-coconut broth. It is showered with lemon zest and drizzled with chile oil if you like a bit of heat.

Spicy Sesame Coconut Rice

Rice has always been my top comfort food. It’s what my mom would feed me when I was sick, and the only food I ever wanted to escort me out of the haze of flu. As an adult, I vacillate between making beautiful, simply-cooked pots of plain rice and more elaborate creations that I think of as “wild style.” Lol. The simple preparations are the most comforting - basic brown short-grain rice with a bit of salt and (maybe) a pat of butter or drizzle of good olive or sesame oil. The wild style versions are the opposite. They're exciting to make - even invigorating!  It’s when I grab from different cupboards, raid the spice drawer, and supplement the rice with other grains. I’m never 100% sure how things will turn out, but I make note of favorite wild-style versions in my notebook so it's easy to revisit them. This Spicy Sesame Coconut Rice has lots of stars next to it.
Spicy Sesame Coconut Rice
This version isn’t over-the-top ‘wild” per se - you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. But it’s a combination that’s just off-beat enough to be special. This recipe makes a pot of brown rice cooked in a thin sesame-coconut broth. It's showered with lemon zest and drizzled with sesame-chile oil if you like a bit of heat. It’s the kind of rice that goes nicely alongside a brightly cooked vegetable, and as the star component in whatever rice bowl you might be dreaming up.Spicy Sesame Coconut Rice
You can see the coconut rice here, served family-style for lunch yesterday. It's pictured topped with tempeh crumbles, the last of an avocado, simple steamed asparagus, and scallion paste (just green onions pulsed with a splash of olive oil & a pinch of salt). 

More Rice Bowl Recipes

A few favorite rice sources included: Massa Organics, Koda Farms, Lotus Foods, and Toiro Kitchen. If you're on my mailing list, I also put a bunch of favorite rice links, books, and media in there & will link to it in the archives once it goes out. Enjoy! xx -h

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Spicy Sesame Coconut Rice

4.25 from 16 votes

You can also use short grain brown rice here, but you may need to cook it a bit longer or add a tad bit more water.

  • 2 cups brown jasmine or brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sesame-chile oil, or to taste
  1. Rinse and soak the rice for at least 20 minutes, or overnight if you have the time. 

  2. Drain the rice and transfer it to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the coconut milk, water, salt, and toasted sesame oil. Bring to a boil, and then dial the heat back to a simmer, covered, for 35-45 minutes, until the liquids have been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and remove the pan from the heat. Let the rice sit, covered, for another 10 minutes. 

  3. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, shower with lemon zest, drizzle with the sesame-chili oil, and fluff again with a fork. Drizzle with more chile oil if you like, and finish with lots of lemon zest.


Serves 6.

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Can you make this with white jasmine rice?


    Hi Lindsay, yes, just adjust your timing and the amount of liquids based on the rice you use.

    Heidi Swanson

Made today in the instant pot and it was DELICIOUS. Thanks so much for the recipe- it's the perfect base for a grain bowl of roasted veggies and chickpeas.

Sarah Heat

I made this in the Instapot last night, and it was delicious. I just used 1 cup of coconut milk and 1.5 cups of water for the liquid and cooked it for 22 minutes.


    Thanks for the timing Erica! -h

    Heidi Swanson

did you use canned coconut milk here? mine always hardens and separates, so do you just shake it to combine the water/solids?

helen tsao

    Yes, or just patiently stir it with a fork until creamy.

    Heidi Swanson

Can’t wait to make this, but gonna try it in the Instant Pot!!! Thanks for continuing to inspire and delight they these tense times. I love what you do, Heidi!

Kathy Martens

    Thanks Kathy! Let me know if you end up with timing you like for this in the IP & I'll add a note.xx

    Heidi Swanson

What type of coconut milk do you use in the rice recipe?


    Hi Vickie - full-fat organic.

    Heidi Swanson

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