Coconut Rice and KwaZulu-Natal Curry It’s more filling and creamy than any rice you’ve ever tasted, and delicious enough to be eaten by itself.

When I started college, yelling Gordon Ramsey insults was all the culinary experience I had. One piece of advice I can offer in these trying times is to cook for yourself — you’ll save an enormous amount of money. Asian-style cooking is a great place to start as it’s quick, easy and adaptable. Since affordable sustenance is invaluable for the first few weeks of college, coconut rice is a life-saver. It’s more filling and creamy than any rice you’ve ever tasted, and delicious enough to be eaten by itself. The curry is a recipe from my nanny in South Africa, from the KwaZulu-Natal province, and perfect for using up food about to go off. It’s dead-easy to cook, and with the addition of potatoes, it’ll last through the week.

To make the recipe vegan, substitute chickpeas or pre-cooked lentils for chicken.

Coconut Rice & KwaZulu-Natal Curry

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


For the rice:

  • 1 cup of rice (basmati is best, but any is fine) *
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of hot water

For the curry:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, skinned and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 chopped chicken breasts
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 TBSP curry powder


  • 1 large potato, parboiled and cubed
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 chopped apple
  • handful of sultanas
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 sliced bananas


For the rice:

Wash rice in cold water until water is no longer milky.

Put rice in saucepan along with liquids.

Bring to high heat. The fat in the coconut milk it will make it come to a boil quickly. Once it is boiling bring it to a low heat until all the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes).

For the curry:

Add a splash of oil to a pan, heat it on medium high until there are wisps of smoke rising when the pan is tilted. Be careful not to make the oil too hot!

Add the curry powder and cumin, coat it in oil and quickly follow with the garlic and onion. Fry until the onions are clear; halfway through, add the ginger and apple.

Add the chicken and cook until browned.

Pour in coconut milk, add the stock cube, add hot water if needed.

Add chickpeas, sultanas and potato and simmer for a few minutes, before adding salt to taste.

Add bananas and serve with rice.

* The ratio of liquid to rice is usually 2:1, but check the instructions of your rice.

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