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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Coconut Rice
Contributed by: Aham Amachi

 

I realized about 6 months ago or so that in my now 20 plus years of working in foodservice that I have not taken advantage of the wealth of food knowledge that is housed in the mind of one Gloria Amachi.
 
There were two rice dishes that were prominent in our house growing up: jollof rice and coconut rice. Now to be honest, jollof rice was always my favorite, but after making the coconut rice with mom and seeing how the depth of flavor is achieved I have begun to fully appreciate the flavors of the coconut rice. It is a labor-intensive recipe, but the end result is worth the effort.
 
From the recipe vault of Gloria Amachi.
 


 

Ingredients

  • 1 med. Coconut1
  • 1 c. sm. diced red onion
  • 1 c. sm. diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. sm. diced tomato
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp (26-30ct.) peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp ground2
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 c. long grain rice parboiled
  • 2 c. warm water
 
Preparation:
 
  1. To crack the coconut, hold the coconut with the "eyes" slightly facing down and use a claw hammer to hit the coconut. Rotate the coconut clockwise about a quarter turn after each strike to ensure that you get an even crack at the top.
     

     
  2. Once you have cracked open the coconut pour the coconut water into cup and reserve.
  3. Strike the coconut a few more to get some smaller pieces to extract the coconut flesh.
  4. Using a pairing knife carefully wedge the tip of the knife between the shell and the flesh to pry it loose.
     

     
  5. After all the coconut flesh has been extracted place a boxed grater in a large mixing bowl and finely grate the coconut.
     

     
  6. To extract the coconut milk from the grated coconut, pour the two cups of warm water (100° -110°) and knead the mixture to expedite the process.
     

     
  7. Wash the leg quarters with the juice of the lime and 1 tbsp of kosher salt.
  8. In a 6 quart pot add 1/2 cup of red onions, 1/2 cup of red pepper , 1/4 cup diced tomato and the leg quarters. Add water to cover the chicken bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer chicken until fully cooked.
  9. Pull the cooked chicken from the pot and let cool. Reserve the poaching liquid and its contents. This will be part of the broth for the finished product.
  10. In a medium sauce pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil add the 2 cups of parboiled rice to the pot and cook for 1 minute.
  11. Drain the rice and wash with cold water.
  12. Once the chicken is cooled remove the skin and cut the chicken into bit size pieces (approximately 1" chunks).
  13. Place fine mesh strainer over the pot with poaching liquid and pour in the coconut milk into the pot. Reserve the grated coconut. If the rice seems to be too dry at the end you can squeeze the grated coconut to add more milk.
  14. Add the ground shrimp, the cut up chicken coconut water, remaining red onion, red pepper, cayenne pepper and tomato to the broth and bring to a simmer.
     

     
  15. Once the broth comes to a simmer add the washed rice and let cook for about 20-30.
  16. After 20-30 minutes check the rice for doneness. If the rice is al dente add the shrimp and let it cook through.
  17. If the rice seems a bit dry squeeze some more of the coconut milk from the grated coconut.
  18. Taste and check for seasoning. Add salt if needed.
  19. It is ok if crust of rice (not burnt) forms at the bottom of the pot. This will help add texture and flavor to the rice.
 
Notes:
 
  1. When selecting your coconut check the "eyes" to make sure they are still brown without any flecks of white. Give the coconut a shake to make sure there is a good amount of water in coconut. When you crack the coconut taste the water. It should be sweet with a slight mineral taste to it. If it is sour discard. The coconut flesh should sweet, moist and crunchy.
  2. If possible buy whole dried shrimp. Sift through the shrimp to remove any debris and grind the shrimp. Most dried shrimp are salted in the drying process so check seasoning of the broth and the finished rice before adding any additional salt. You can substitute dried crayfish for the dried shrimp, buying whole crayfish if possible.
 

Aham is a graduate of The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. He has worked as cook at Cuvee Notre Dame in Philadelphia and Sous Chef at the former 'Stazi Milano' in Jenkintown. Currently, he is the Manager of Operations for The Philadelphia Catering Company.
 
 
 
 

2018
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul.  | Aug.
 
Sept.  | Oct.  | Current Recipe
 
 
2017
 
Jan.  | Feb.  | Mar.  | Apr.  | May  | Jun.  | Jul.  | Aug.
 
Sept. - Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2016
 
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Sept.  | Oct.  | Nov.  | Dec.
 
 
2015
 
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