If using fresh coconut, grate them first. If using fresh rice instead of leftover rice, cook the rice ahead of time and allow it to cool down completely before using it in this recipe.
Heat coconut oil in a pan. Temper mustard seeds once the oil is hot. As it splutters, add asafoetida, urad dal and chana dal. You can also add peanuts and cashews at this point.
Once they all turn light golden, tear and add the curry leaves, minced green chilies and half the cilantro. Saute for 2 minutes.
Then add the grated coconut and salt. Give it a mix and cook for another 2 minutes.
Lastly, add the cooked rice. Mix it all together and cook for 2 more minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt if needed. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and take it off the flame.
If you have difficulty chewing the fried lentils, soak the chana dal and urad dal in water for 15 minutes before cooking. This will soften them considerably.To make it gluten-free, skip adding the asafoetida. Coconut oil is preferred in this rice recipe but you can also use vegan ghee or any other vegetable oil.When using frozen shredded coconut, thaw it and dry roast it as well if needed to remove the excess moisture. Use dried red chilies instead of green chilies if need be.Add some cooked beans and legumes like chickpeas, black-eyed peas, black beans, kidney beans to give this carb-rich dish a boost of protein.Choosing the right riceUsing leftover rice for this recipe is preferred. However, you can also use freshly prepared rice. Just ensure that the grains are long, separate grains, and don't clump together. If doing so, then cook it in advance and cool it down completely before using it. Use any rice variety like Basmati, Ponni, Sona Masoori, Surti Kolam, or even Jasmine rice.Tip - When you order takeout at an Indian restaurant and it comes with a large portion of white Basmati rice, use any leftover rice to make coconut rice or any other flavored rice recipe.For more flavor, when cooking Basmati rice mix little coconut milk from the carton along with water.Besides Basmati, you can also make this Indian coconut rice with brown rice, cauliflower rice, or any other alternate grains like quinoa.How to make it in the Instant PotYou can very easily make coconut rice in the Instant Pot by following my Jeera Rice recipe. Simply add all the ingredients mentioned and cook it all with the rice.Release pressure naturally and then fluff it with a fork.How to store itYou can make this rice dish in advance and store it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Be mindful if using fresh coconut, it can go bad in a day or two.