Coconut rice, with its slightly sweet flavour, is much loved around the world. It is a quick and easy meal prepared differently depending on where you are in the world. The Nigerian coconut rice is a spicy dish, bursting with flavours from the addition of spices and condiments like dried ground crayfish, curry powder etc. The addition of smoked mackerel and colourful peppers to this recipe makes it a nourishing one-pot meal.
How To Cook Nigerian Coconut Rice With Smoked Mackerel
Here are the ingredients you need to make my Nigerian Coconut rice...
The recipe can be adapted for vegetarians by excluding the smoked mackerel and the ground crayfish.
A few notes about ingredients…
- Coconut milk: The Nigerian coconut rice is rice cooked with coconut milk. This is different to the Indian coconut rice, which is cooked with shredded coconut. You can either use freshly made coconut milk or canned coconut milk like I did. Please note that you cannot use the dairy replacement coconut milk from the refrigerator in the shops, as this is highly diluted and not meant to be cooked. If you prefer to make your coconut milk at home, this post will show you how.
- Rice: I used golden/sella basmati rice as it is fluffy with a unique flavour, but any non-sticky rice will work for this recipe. Just follow the cooking instructions on the pack and remember to reduce the water quantity because of the added coconut milk.
- Vegetables: As this coconut rice recipe is a one-pot meal, you should add vegetables for nutrients. I used peppers, but you can use your vegetable of choice. Green peas, sweet corn and carrots all go well with coconut rice. Whichever vegetable you choose, you must be aware of the cooking time. This will help you to know when to add it to the pot, as you do not want soggy overcooked vegetables in your Naija coconut rice.
- Added Protein: Use your protein of choice for this recipe – chicken, liver, gizzard, beef and dried fish all work well in Nigerian coconut rice. If you are using meat, you need to cook before adding to the rice.
- Thyme: You can use substitute dried thyme with fresh thyme. Substitute one tablespoon of fresh thyme for one tablespoon of dried thyme.
How to make it…
Chop the onion and garlic, and strip the thyme (if you are using fresh). Prepare the smoked mackerel by removing any remaining bones before flaking. Keep to one side.
Wash the rice at least three times until the water goes from cloudy to slightly clear to remove excess starch. Drain in a colander.
Heat oil in a saucepan under medium heat and pour in the onions.
Allow to cook until the onions start to brown, then add the garlic ground pepper and curry powder.
Stir for around 30 secs. Pour the coconut milk into the pan. It is normal for the cream and the liquid in the canned coconut milk to separate in cold weather. If this happens, use a spoon to scoop out the cream at the top into the pan before tipping the liquid in.
Add the thyme, crayfish and some salt. Then pour in the rice with some salt to taste. Add the fish.
Add enough water to cook the rice – remember to take into account the liquid coconut milk, which means that you need less water than you would typically use.
Cover the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. When the rice has nearly absorbed all the liquid (the liquid does not cover the rice anymore at this point), add the peppers and cover the pan.
Reduce the heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork.
Recipe FAQ and Notes
Can I use shredded coconut? Not directly for this Nigerian coconut rice recipe as you want the creamy coconut taste without coconut pieces. If you only have access to shredded coconut, you can extract milk from it as shown here.
Coconut rice will keep in the fridge for around a week. Make sure you warm properly by heating the rice all the way through before consumption.
Other Nigerian rice dishes you must try:
Nigerian Coconut Rice With Smoked Mackerel
- 2 tablespoons Oil
- 1 medium Onion or 1 cup chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Curry powder
- 1 tablespoon Ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Thyme stripped or 1 tablespoon dried
- 400 g Coconut milk (1 can)
- 2 tablespoons Ground crayfish
- 2 cups Rice
- Salt to taste
- 2 fillets Smoked mackerel
- 1 Green pepper
- 1 Red pepper
- 1 Yellow pepper
- Chop the onion and garlic, and strip the thyme (if you are using fresh). Debone and flake the fish. Keep all aside.
- Wash the rice at least three times until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain in a colander.
- Heat oil in a sauce under medium heat and pour in the onions.
- Allow to cook until the onions start to brown, then add the garlic, ground pepper and curry powder.
- Stir for around 30 secs. Pour the coconut milk into the pan.
- Add the thyme, crayfish and some salt. Then pour in the rice and some salt. Add the smoked mackerel.
- Add enough water to cook the rice, taking into consideration the added coconut
- Cover the pan and bring the mixture to boil. When the rice has nearly absorbed all the liquid, add the peppers and cover the pan. Reduce the heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork.