Fluffy Coconut Basmati Rice


5 from 3 votes
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The fluffiest basmati rice cooked in coconut milk and flavoured with curry spices. This complex carbohydrate choice is the perfect accompaniment to your lunch or dinner and perfect for those following a Vegan or Gluten free diet. 

Super Fluffy Turmeric Golden Milk Basmati Rice- Fragrant, easy and LOADED with nutrients and flavor! {vegan, gluten free, dairy free recipe}- thebigmansworld.com


New Years Eve in New York City had always been one of my biggest dreams. 

It was a combination of American movies, tv shows and news features growing up which made this event even more monumental. The idea of watching an epic count down in the city that never sleeps was just that much more exciting and something I really wanted to experience. 

In 2012, I was nearing the end of my semester abroad in New York and purposely extended my trip to head back to Australia on the 2nd of January. Come New Years Eve, I remember waking up at 6am in the cheap hotel on the lower east side so excited to be part of the masses ready to ring in the new year. 


That day, it was snowing and I thought would only add to the beauty of the whole event. I remember that night like it was yesterday.

6pm- Consider getting a meal at Katz Deli before heading to Times Square. 

7pm- Get to Times Square and realise people must have gotten here at 12pm to get a good ‘spot’. 

7.15pm- Realise Katz Deli was a stupid idea and go to Duane Reade and grab a chicken salad sandwich on raisin walnut bread. Cringe internally that I find this generic sandwich so delicious. 

8pm- Hanging out with the masses in Times Square waiting for the ball the drop.

8pm-11.55pm- Go from cold to freezing to ice block status.

Midnight- The crowds are screaming to ring in the new year.

I, however, am screaming because I am so cold. 

So much for ringing in the new year with style. 


That particular new years was a stark contrast to the one’s growing up. Coming from a mixed race background, I experience three different ‘New Year’ festivities- The traditional one on January 1st, Persian New Year and Chinese New Year. My dad’s side of the family always had a tradition of ringing in the new year with a simple meal where the highlight of it was rice. The basis behind this was because this grain was seen as such an integral part of their diet through generations.

My sister and I would wish we were part of other families for this one day. 

While my dad’s side would use a steamed jasmine rice as the base, my mum would put her classic twist on it and one which to this day is my ‘go to’ way of cooking and enjoying rice. She’d use white basmati rice and instead of cooking it in water and salt, would use light coconut milk. Depending on the dish, she’d flavour it simply with salt or sometimes, turmeric or curry. My favourite is the curry route which goes to well with many dishes and the version I’m sharing below. 

Now that I am older, my new year’s eve won’t feature rice (well I will not go out of my way to eat it). It also won’t see me screaming like a loony because I’m cold. 

Fluffy Coconut Basmati Rice- You'll never go back to standard rice after this method, which is perfect with any dish! {vegan + gluten free}

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Fluffy Coconut Basmati Rice

5 from 3 votes
The fluffiest basmati rice cooked in coconut milk and flavoured with curry spices. This complex carbohydrate choice is the perfect accompaniment to your lunch or dinner.
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup basmati rice white or brown
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup water can sub for chicken stock if not Vegan/Vegetarian
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup corns/peas/chickpeas/onions cooked


  • In a small/medium sized pot, combine the coconut milk and water and bring to the boil.
  • One boiling, add the rice to the boiling water and stir several times. Add the turmeric, sea salt, cumin and garam masala and stir once more and cover.
  • Once bubbles start to appear, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove rice from the pot and using a fork, fluff the rice for 30 seconds. Add the corn/peas/diced vegetables of choice and stir once more. Serve immediately.


This is the curry version. For the basic version, omit the turmeric, cumin, garam masala and added vegetables.
For the Persian version, omit the cumin and garam marsala and add 1/2 tsp saffron and mix through onions.
This rice can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Author: Arman
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Does your family have any New Years traditions?

How many different New Years do you celebrate? 

Have you ever wanted to experience the ball drop in NYC? If you do, rug up. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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  1. Coconut milk rice is so good and with the addition of those spices – hello 🙂
    New Years is going to be amazing this year, I can’t wait to watch those tourist loving fireworks 😉

  2. I love [almost] anything with coconut and have been craving Indian food lately, so this sounds all sorts of awesome! _> I feel like it should still work! :P).

  3. I was actually scared when I saw this picture on Instagram. All week I have been having the weirdest random cravings for coconut basmati rice (like SPECIFICALLY BASMATI) and then you posted this.. and i was convinced that some sort of telepathy was happening on the two opposite ends of the world. So my new years might be filled with having time to finally sit down and cook some damn basmati rice.

    Also, i made carrot cake nut butter largely in part because it seemed like it would go gloriously on your carrot cake bread. which i made another loaf of. and photographed. and will be making a post appearance soon 😉 and to answer my own question.. carrot cake nut butter on carrot cake bread = DOUBLE WIN! Thank you for making my life taste good. THE END.

    1. YES! Seriously, basmati > jasmine.

      I love your posts, but especially your commentary with it- Can’t wait to see what sexual innuendos this new carrot cake gets. And stop whoring out the carrot-ness.

  4. Ah, here is the rice 😉 Loves yummy! I really do love all these types of flavors and dishes!
    Even though we live like an hour out from the city via train, I have no desire to ever go there on New Years Eve! I will happily watch from the warmth (non-crowded) serenity of my living room thank you very much!

  5. New Years in Times Square for the MIllennium was an experience that I will never forget. I was in 6th grade, and it was just chaos everywhere, all day long. And I got to see my first silver painted person, so there is that. Now, having lived in NYC, I would avoid TS like the plague, haha. I always spend it with my fmaily, usually down at our lake house (at least until I was in high school) but then I started to spend it else where. I can’t say that we have any real traditions to go along with it!
    And love basmati–my favorite non brown rice for sure.

    1. Dude, if I was in that age group I would have been peeing myself. In my older years- I couldn’t handle it!

      They just released a basmati brown rice here. It tastes like punishment.

  6. I have absolutely no desire to go to New York City for the ball to drop… Not a fan of crowds like that. I’m also not a fan of standing in the cold for extended periods of time.
    Chicken salad sandwich on raisin bread? I have never had that… but I want it!! Yum.

  7. Hi Arman! So NYE in New York isn’t as magical as we’d think? Good to know. I’ve never cooked rice in coconut milk, but it sure sounds tasty. Hope you have a great week! 🙂

    1. Hope you’re doing well, Ashley! Don’t go to NYC for NYE…unless I’m there and we can chug Almond milk at midnight.

  8. NYE in NY is one of those things that sounds amazing in theory and sucks balls (dropping balls) in reality. I’ve lived in the area my whole life and I’ve done it once, it was not my best NYE by far. The hardest part for me was having no bathroom for 8 hours. I had a terrible spot too. Just the whole thing was horrible, I cringe recalling it.

    Rice looks yummy!

    1. LOL. The ball drop sucks balls. It really does. My friend went to Starbucks to use the restroom and came back THREE hours later. i swear he just went to a bar for a drink and for me to save his spot…

  9. I cannot believe you did NYE in Times Square. You’re a warrior. All I think of when I think of NYE in Times Square is people wearing diapers because they don’t want to leave their good spots. I don’t think I’m brave enough.
    But wow this rice looks so delicious! We love white rice from my Chinese side and sticky rice from my Laotian side. But I secretly love Basmati rice the best, even though I’m not Persian…

    1. Wait, people wore diapers there?! WHAT! Alison, that was just you, wasn’t it.

      You can be adopted Persian. Or even Malaysian Chinese- Their CHICKEN RICE OMG.

      1. As a half-malay, I completely agree with you that chicken rice is ABSOLUTELY AH-MAZING. As for this flavourful basmati rice, I made it last night and it doesn’t rank too far behind 🙂

  10. Love basmati rice and curry, but my husband doesn’t. I have to wait until he goes away to use curry.

  11. Wishing you a Happy New Year! Love coconut milk in any dish – this sounds wonderful!

  12. I love coconut rice and your addition of spices sounds delish! I lived in Manhattan for 10 years (4 of those on 42nd and 9th- basically in Times Square) and believe it or not, I never did the Times Square New Years thing. Like you experienced, it just seemed too cold and too inconvenient. Happy New Year Arman!

  13. Is it weird that I [think I] only ever heard about the ball drop for the first time when the movie ‘New Year’s Eve’ came out? Please lie to me.
    Rice is a NYE tradition I hadn’t heard of yet but it makes sense for Persian families. The dish with all of its spices sounds good. Yesss to turmeric and cumin.
    One major – and majorly delicious – food tradition my family used to have was eating raclette on New Year’s. Now that we don’t celebrate as a family anymore it’s become a rarity. Time to bring it back?!

  14. Oh my gosh, this looks so good! I’ve never done new year’s in NYC, but I would LOVE to. I don’t care how crowded and crazy it is, I’d love it.