Lemon Rice with Coconut

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Rice, for me, and especially after our two-year sojourn in India, is never an afterthought. And this lemon rice with coconut is often my first thought (and it’s vegan!).  Luscious moist yet fluffy grains flavoured with toasted coconut, garlic, ginger, and onion. Delicious and super easy to make.

Unfortunately, my rice-absorbing love handles think it’s delicious too, but it’s so tasty and satisfying…I can never resist. Plain rice is perfectly fine for rich saucy dishes, but for more simple meals or spicy sauces, flavored rice is always better. I usually serve this rice with roasted vegetables and chickpeas with lashings of peri peri sauce drizzled over it.

This lemon rice with coconut is also super cheap to make and super quick. You will no doubt already have many of the ingredients in your cupboard and fridge already. Served piled high and steaming on a plate, with toasted coconut and lemon rind decorating it, it’s sure to upgrade any dinner and impress guests.

A large bowl of yellow rice with lemons in the background

Ideally, side dishes should always be tasty enough that you could eat them on their own, in my humble and hungry opinion. Enter this flavorsome lemon coconut rice. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve sat down and eaten a bowl (or two) of this all on its own. Tasty zesty warm and coconutty (I know it’s not a word, but it should be!) goodness….

Handsome Husband and I find ourselves on the opposite sides when it comes to lemon, he subscribes to the crazy brand of thinking where the less lemon the better. Is liking lemons one of those world-dividing tastes, like Marmite and licorice?  My sensible lemon-loving children adore oodles of lemon juice.

Pinterest pin for lemon rice with coconut

My vote is always more lemon. But if in doubt, or you belong to my husband’s strange lemon-disliking portion of the population, add half the juice suggested, and then increase the amount. (Although seriously, if lemons aren’t your thing then I have no idea why you’re on this page).

How to make lemon rice with coconut

Super easy to make, just chuck the oil into a wide pot with a well-fitting lid over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and lower the heat a little, cook for five minutes until the garlic is a little crispy and the onions are lightly browned. Now add in the coconut and finely grated ginger.

Fried onions and garlic, and grated ginger and dessicated coconut

Mix in the lemon rind and desiccated coconut and toast for about two minutes, or until the desiccated coconut is light brown. Now add in the ground coriander and toast for another minute. the mixture should now be a medium brown color.

a brown toasted mixture in a pot

Quickly add in the rice (which has been rinsed well of starch, at least three times or until the water runs clear) and lightly fry for three minutes or until the grains are slightly transparent. The rice should be well coated with the mixture.

Light brown rice mixed with spices in a pan

Now it’s time to add the water, crumbled stock cube and turmeric. Mix very well until the stock cube is completely dissolved, turn the heat up high, and place the lid on the pot.

A pot with yellow liquid and rice in it

Keep an eye on the pot and listen carefully (try not to peek too much as you’ll throw off the water content by taking the lid off too often). As soon as the rice mixture is coming to a roiling simmer, turn the heat down to the lowest setting.

Seat a timer for fifteen minutes. When the timer goes off, take the pot off the heat and leave for a further 5 minutes. Then take off the lid and stir in the lemon juice and optional finely chopped coriander leaves. Taste, and check for salt and lemon juice. Serve.

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to let me know how you got in the comments, leave a star rating, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (the_fiery_vegetarian). Enjoy!

Yield: 6

Lemon Rice with Coconut

A large bowl of yellow rice with a lemon half in front

This beautifully moist yet fluffy flavored lemon and toasted coconut rice will have you wondering why you ever ate white rice!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • ½ cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • Rind 1 lemon
  • 2 cups rinsed long grain rice
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 crumbled vegetable stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Juice 1 large lemon
  • Optional 4 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste (I didn’t add any)


  1. Heat the sunflower oil on a medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. As soon as they start sizzling, reduce the heat to low-medium and stir regularly for five minutes.
  2. Add the rind and coconut. Stir for approximately for two minutes until the coconut is light brown and toasted. Now add the ground coriander and stir for one minute.
  3. Add the rice. Turn the heat up to medium again, mix well and continue to fry, stirring frequently, for about three minutes or until the rice is nearly translucent.
  4. Add the water, crushed stock cube, and turmeric, and mix again. Place the lid on the pot and turn up the heat to high. When you hear the water boiling (don’t peek!) turn the heat down to the minimum and leave it for 15 minutes.
  5. Take off the boil and leave for 5 minutes to rest, without peeking.
  6. Take off the lid, fluff up the rice with a fork, and add in the lemon juice and chopped coriander if using. Stir, check for salt, then serve.


Tastes even better when made ahead as the flavors have more time to develop, and is amazing the day after.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 332Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 0mgSodium 362mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 4gSugar 11gProtein 4g

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