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I love going out for Thai food and it’s always the simplest accompanying dish that I crave- coconut rice! I found this recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine way back in September, 1994 and it has been a staple in my kitchen ever since. I usually make it plain to go with a curry but today I added some prawns to make this a complete meal.

Coconut Rice with Prawns

6 cardamom pods or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 large onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1-1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

fresh coconut, shelled but unpeeled and shaved for garnish

1-1/4 cup basmati or jasmine rice

1 cinnamon stick

Optional: sliced almonds, toasted

Remove seeds from cardamom pods, if using and discard pods. Grind seeds to a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cardamom and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and stir until the grains are well coated with butter. Add cinnamon stick, coconut milk, 1-1/4 cups water, salt and sugar. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to lowest setting.

Optional: While rice cooks, stir fry prawns (or any meat or tofu that you choose to add). Cook thoroughly and then add to finished rice just before serving.

Cook rice, covered, for 25 minutes (or longer if necessary). Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and add prawns, if using. Serve hot, garnished with shaved coconut and/or toasted almonds.