So after meeting my husband, he told me that one of his favorite foods was Colombian arroz con coco (coconut rice). Naturally, my response was “Oh, like rice pudding?” He laughed a little, then said, “No, it’s usually eaten with fish or meat.” Cue the WTF look on my face. I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought of eating coconut rice with something savory, but this is very common in the Northern Coast of Colombia, where his paternal relatives are from. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I worked up the nerve to try some arroz con coco at a family gathering. It’s quite delish! Ever since then, I’ve been indulging my hubby with one of his favorite childhood food memories. This recipe takes a bit of time and work, but it’s my belief that anything related to love should always take time and work.
This rice recipe uses coconut milk that is reduced until it forms a toasty, caramelized coconut paste on the bottom of the pot. This concentrated coconut paste are called titoté in Colombia, so this recipe can also be called arroz con titoté. The concentrate can be found in jars in Colombia, which makes preparation easier, but trust me, this is totally worth it!
Makes four 1/2 cup servings
Pour the coconut milk into a small caldero or sauce pan and turn the heat onto medium high.
Boil the mixture for 30-45 minutes.
Once the liquid has evaporated, you’ll see this pulp on the bottom. Continue to cook, stirring frequently. We need the water to evaporate completely out of this pulp, as this will what transforms into titoté.
You’ll know you’re there when you see the oil separate out of the pulp, and it starts to turn golden brown. Stir continuously to keep it from sticking and burning.
Once it’s dark golden like this, it’s ready.
Add in the brown sugar and salt, and stir.
Add in the 2 cups of water, the rice and the raisins.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
Once all the liquid is absorbed, lower the heat to low, form the rice into a mound, and cover.
Let the rice steam for 15-20 minutes, until it’s fluffy and fully cooked. Serve hot! This dish also reheats well, so it’s a great make ahead dish for the holidays.