Coconut rice is simply rice that’s flavored with coconut.
The dish uses ingredients you’d expect in a rice recipe, including oil, salt, and water, but it adds some shredded coconut near the end of cooking to boost the flavor.
Coconut rice also goes by several other names — it can be called coconut pilaf or even just “coconut rice pilaf”.
It’s a good side dish for those who like sweetness with their meal.
There are several variations of coconut rice, but the most common version starts with cooked white rice flavored with butter or oil, onion, and garlic powder.
Next, you add in some coconut milk and coconut water, as well as salt and pepper.
The rice is seasoned to taste with salt and pepper before it’s finished cooking.
Coconut rice is usually served with fish or seafood.
It goes well with a white wine like chardonnay, and it has enough sweetness to complement vegetables like carrots and peas.
It can be served as a side dish for lunch or dinner, but if you’re adding protein like shrimp to the rice, it might be best as a main dish.
In this article, we will list the eight best side dishes that go well with coconut rice.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Coconut Rice?
Coconut rice is a side dish that will complement the flavors of any meal, and it is easy to prepare in a short amount of time.
When preparing coconut rice, you can choose complimentary side dishes to create a complete meal.
The flavor of coconut rice can be enhanced by adding complementary ingredients to the dish.
It’s essential to serve side dishes that fit with the flavors of coconut rice.
Side dishes that are bland or have a sweet flavor pair well with an Asian dish, which coconut rice is.
Try pairing it with steamed vegetables, especially carrots and peas.
A cabbage slaw also pairs well with coconut rice since these ingredients are both full of flavor but not overly powerful.
Try pairing coconut rice with fish, especially if it is served as part of a meal at an Asian restaurant.
When serving coconut rice and fish, serve boiled carrots and cabbage slaw for a refreshing dinner full of flavor.
What to Serve with Coconut Rice? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Below are eight ideas for good side dishes to serve with coconut rice.
1 – Cabbage Slaw
Cabbage slaw is an excellent accompaniment to coconut rice since the two ingredients are flavorful but not overpowering when eaten together.
The faint sweetness in both dishes is also a perfect complement to one another when eaten together.
Cabbage slaw calls for various vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, celery, and green onion.
Likely spices include sea salt, pepper, sugar, and apple cider vinegar, among others, depending on personal preference.
You can make this dish in advance and keep it refrigerated for up to two days before serving.
2 – Steamed Vegetables
Steamed vegetables are another excellent accompaniment to coconut rice.
You can choose any vegetables you desire, depending on your tastes and what you’re serving the dish with.
This side dish is simple to prepare since you have to steam the vegetables until they are crisp-tender but not soggy.
To steam vegetables, place water in a pot with a steamer basket.
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat until the water is simmering.
Put your desired vegetables in the steamer basket and cook for five to ten minutes or until they are crisp-tender but not soggy.
3 – Cucumber Slices
Cucumber slices make a refreshing side dish to serve with coconut rice, especially during the summer months.
This dish is best when fresh cucumbers are used because they add crispness and unique flavor.
To make cucumber slices, slice up one to two cucumbers and place them on a plate.
Sprinkle sea salt on top of the cucumber slices before serving.
The salt makes the dish more flavorful, but it also draws moisture out of the cucumbers, which causes them to be crispier.
You can garnish these with olive oil and fresh dill.
4 – Carrot and Pea Salad
Carrot and pea salad is a healthy dish that makes for a complementary side to coconut rice.
This dish calls for carrots, peas, green onion, and mayonnaise.
Many people also like to add some garlic powder or black pepper to the dish and sea salt.
Carrot and pea salad is easy to make by simply mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.
If you want the dish’s flavor to be more robust, let it sit for one hour before serving.
This allows time for the flavors of the mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to mix into the other ingredients.
5 – Steamed Tofu with Soy Sauce
Steamed tofu is a healthy side dish that pairs well with coconut rice.
This dish calls for steaming tofu until it’s crisp on the outside and soft inside, then serving it over rice with soy sauce.
To make this recipe:
- Begin by draining tofu in a colander for 30 minutes.
- Place the tofu on a cutting board and cut it into 1-inch cubes.
- Place each cube in a steamer basket, then steam them for 20 to 25 minutes.
When finished cooking, place the tofu over rice with soy sauce or your favorite Asian cuisine sauce for dipping.
6 – Stir Fry Vegetables
Instead of serving steamed vegetables or a salad with coconut rice, you can also stir fry them instead.
Stir fry vegetables call for cooking them in a wok on high heat until they become crisp and flavorful.
To make the dish:
- Heat the wok over medium-high heat and pour some vegetable oil into it.
- Add your desired vegetables and cook them for five to seven minutes or until they soften.
- Add spices such as garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar to the dish for added flavor.
7 – Chicken Curry
If you want to serve a chicken dish with coconut rice, consider making curry.
Chicken curry calls for cooking the chicken in a pot of boiling water until it’s tender, then adding vegetables and coconut milk to the pot for cooking.
Chicken curry is easy to make by sautéing onion and garlic in a pan on the stove.
Next, add potatoes, carrots, and water and bring it all to a boil.
Once boiling point is reached, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables become tender.
Then add coconut milk and the chicken.
Cook for an additional 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Lastly, add salt and spices like curry powder to make the dish more flavorful.
8 – Fruit Salad
Fruit salad can be served as a side dish to coconut rice.
This fruity dish adds a sweet and healthy twist to the meal.
Many people like to use a combination of pineapple, mango, strawberries, and kiwi when making fruit salad to have a tropical flavor.
There are many different ways to make fruit salad.
One method calls for chopping the fruits and mixing them in a large bowl, whereas another method calls for serving the fruits on their separate plates next to the coconut rice.
The choice is up to you.
You can also add some sugar or honey to fruit salad if you want it to be sweeter.
In conclusion, coconut rice goes well with many different side dishes.
If you are looking for a healthy side dish, steamed tofu with soy sauce makes for a great option.
Preparing the dish is simple because it only requires cooking the tofu, while soy sauce can be found at most grocery stores.
Serving special dietary needs guests, carrot and pea salad, stir fry vegetables, and frozen vegetable medley are all suitable options.
Each dish is healthy and easy to prepare, with most ingredients being found in the average grocery store.