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Fragrant Coconut Oil-Infused Butterfly- Pea Rice

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Brian loves food and enjoys exploring various cuisines. He is a keen experimenter in the kitchen and finds cooking therapeutic.

An Attractive Plate of Rice!

The butterfly-pea flower really adds a nice hue to the rice

The butterfly-pea flower really adds a nice hue to the rice

From Field to Plate

Some of us may not be aware of the laborious effort it takes to get rice from the field to our home, which led to it being underappreciated. Take myself for example; I was unaware of the arduous process involved, from the planting of the seeds, the caring and nurturing of the crop up till the harvesting and processing that gives us the precious grains. Thus, I have come to appreciate when my elders used to reprimand me for not finishing my rice and letting even a few grains go to waste is frowned upon.

The average duration required, from planting of the seedling until it is ripe for harvest will be between 120 – 140 days, which is considered a normal time frame. However, depending on the growing conditions, it may take even lesser time which could be about 100 – 120 days or perhaps longer like 160 days and more.

The cultivation duration is broken down into a series of stages, which begins with the selection of the best seeds for planting. Once the seeds have been identified, next step would be to choose the seed-bed. A good seed bed will have to be about 5 inches depth and spread out uniformly with good firm soil. The soil should contain enough moisture to allow the seeds to germinate properly. Once the seed bed is determined, the land has to be prepared and cleared off any rocks, stones, and most importantly weeds that may affect the growth of the rice plant. The seeds are then strewn on the seed bed and subsequently fertilized. Farmers will then have to keep a lookout for pests that may spoil the crop. Once the 120 day mark arrives, it is time for the farmers to harvest the straws before sending it to the mill for threshing. Threshing is done to loosen the grain from the straw, before it goes through the machine and graded accordingly. The graded rice will then be packed and sent to hypermarkets and stores for sale. This basically summarises the flow and immense effort that goes into getting this produce to consumers.

Some of us may not be aware of the laborious effort it takes to get rice from the field to our home, which led to it being underappreciated. Take myself for example; I was unaware of the arduous process involved, from the planting of the seeds, the caring and nurturing of the crop up till the harvesting and processing that gives us the precious grains. Thus, I have come to appreciate when my elders used to reprimand me for not finishing my rice and letting even a few grains go to waste is frowned upon.

The average duration required, from planting of the seedling until it is ripe for harvest will be between 120 – 140 days, which is considered a normal time frame. However, depending on the growing conditions, it may take even lesser time which could be about 100 – 120 days or perhaps longer like 160 days and more.

The cultivation duration is broken down into a series of stages, which begins with the selection of the best seeds for planting. Once the seeds have been identified, next step would be to choose the seed-bed. A good seed bed will have to be about 5 inches depth and spread out uniformly with good firm soil. The soil should contain enough moisture to allow the seeds to germinate properly. Once the seed bed is determined, the land has to be prepared and cleared off any rocks, stones, and most importantly weeds that may affect the growth of the rice plant. The seeds are then strewn on the seed bed and subsequently fertilized. Farmers will then have to keep a lookout for pests that may spoil the crop. Once the 120 day mark arrives, it is time for the farmers to harvest the straws before sending it to the mill for threshing. Threshing is done to loosen the grain from the straw, before it goes through the machine and graded accordingly. The graded rice will then be packed and sent to hypermarkets and stores for sale. This basically summarises the flow and immense effort that goes into getting this produce to consumers.


Rice is Carbohydrate and Carbohydrates are Bad?

Times have certainly changed a lot since the days of our forefathers, whereby rice is considered a prized staple. Our ancestors before us survived, much likely, depended on this very staple as the main source of energy to fuel their labor-intensive lifestyle. In fact, in the early days, many poor folks had to rely on a few grains of rice in order not to go to bed hungry. During one of her story telling sessions, I remember vividly of my grandmother saying that on days when she is unable to make enough to put food on the table, they will eat just plain rice with a dash of soy sauce to add some flavor and make it palatable. This made me come to appreciate the fact of how we are blessed right now, having access to so many food choices.

Nevertheless, with the birth of many diet fads and the trend portraying carbohydrates as unhealthy, people are quick to find replacements in lieu of consuming rice. I am not against that lifestyle, but, I would still personally chose to satiate my hunger with a plate of steaming hot rice with my all time favorite dish – steamed golden pomfret. Well, everybody has a right to their preference and there will always be those that agree and some that do not, so to each his own.

Plain Rice is Boring, Is it Not?

There are actually many varieties of rice out there in the market, approximately about 40, 000 assortments to suit the different cooking needs. These varieties are then broken down into three categories being long, medium, and short. All these varieties yield different textures and the choice of rice also depends solely on the dish that you plan to make.

The locals here have a favourite rice dish called ‘nasi lemak’, which is infused with coconut milk. Albeit resulting in richer and creamier rice, cooking with coconut milk has its shortcoming. The rice will have to be consumed immediately and if not, kept in the fridge or cool place as it can go bad very quickly if exposed to high temperature. Thus, I have opted for an alternative that is coconut oil, to lend the similar aroma and boost the flavour of the rice. This rice is best eaten with some spicy gravy called ‘sambal’, fried anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg, and if you are feeling a little fancy, maybe a piece of crispy fried chicken. For those who consume rice on a daily basis, you may want to try the recipe below to add some variety to your daily meals.

Cooking Tips

1. To enhance the fragrance, you may steam the rice along with a single screw pine leaf, better known as ‘pandan’ in Asean countries.

2. For a more attractive hue, serve the rice mixed together with the petals of the blue pea flower.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

25 min

30 min

3 - 6 servings

Ingredients

Key Ingredient:

  • 2 cups plain white rice (Alternative: Jasmine rice), rinsed

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

Dry ingredient:

  • 8 petals butterfly-pea flower, rinsed

Optional Ingredient:

  • l medium screw pine leaf

Ingredients

I used plain rice. Some prefer to use Jasmine rice instead for the texture

I used plain rice. Some prefer to use Jasmine rice instead for the texture

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. This brand is from Vietnam and has a deep nutty flavour

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. This brand is from Vietnam and has a deep nutty flavour

Screw Pine Leaf

Screw pine leaf or better known as 'pandan' leaf in Malaysia. Adds a hint of fragrance to the coconut oil infused rice

Screw pine leaf or better known as 'pandan' leaf in Malaysia. Adds a hint of fragrance to the coconut oil infused rice

Cooking Instructions

  1. Measure two cups of rice and put it into a washing bowl.
  2. Rinse the rice for several times until the rinsing water is no longer cloudy.
  3. Pour the rice into the rice cooker and add in the water.
  4. Add in the screw pine leaf and blue pea flowers.
  5. Close the lid, switch on your rice cooker and allow the rice to cook.
  6. When the button on your rice cooker pops up (meaning the rice is done), pour in the coconut oil into the rice and mix it lightly.
  7. Cover the rice cooker lid once again and allow the rice to soak in the coconut oil with the help of the steam for about 5 minutes.
  8. Switch off the rice cooker and ladle the rice onto a plate.
  9. Serve it with your favorite dish.

Comments

Brian (author) from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on May 11, 2021:

Hi, Urwa! This recipe originally started as a means to add some flavour to an otherwise plain tasting dish. Well, after doing some reading and realising it's health benefits, it has been a common practise for us at home. It's delicious but we try not to go overboard. All good things in moderation.

Iqra from East County on May 11, 2021:

Hi Charles, You shared an excellent recipe to cook with coconut oil. cCconut cooking oil is a healthy and great alternative to traditional oils such as vegetables, olive, canola, and corn oil. This oil is naturally rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) which is efficiently utilized by the body for energy production and helps aid in calorie burning.

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