Easy Store Cupboard Coconut Rice and Beans


This recipe comes originally, I think, from the series of Vegetarian Good Food Magazines published by the BBC in the early ’90s. Having collated three years worth into lovely white binders, I donated the whole collection to the fabulous Foxy’s Deli in Penarth when I moved abroad. 

Fortunately, this recipe was included in a cookery book I made for my son to celebrate his 21st birthday and I’ve given below both my explanation for it’s appearing in the book as well as the recipe. 

It’s absolutely delicious, one of those things you find yourself craving every now and again. I eat it with a big green salad and lots of mango chutney. Although I rarely eat potatoes, I did make it with real spuds this time because I had some leftover from an earlier meal. It does work with sweet potatoes but the texture alters – great, but different.

Here we go then:

This is an unusual recipe to include for you, being a confirmed carnivore*. However, when looking through my ‘bible’ of recipes I notice that in 1994 I commented: Even S enjoyed this. It’s good to have the occasional meat-free day, as well as recipes to please any vegetarian friends you may be catering for. You could (if you absolutely had to!) serve it as a vegetable, but it stands up well on its own. Fantastic with mango chutney.


2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil** – something creamy, not too bitter

1 red onion sliced (or use frozen straight from the freezer)

175g potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

225g basmati rice*** – rinsed until the water runs clear

400g can coconut milk

400g can red kidney beans, drained

3 tbs chopped, fresh coriander 

Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened.  Add the potato pieces, coat in the oil and onion and cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Stir in the basmati rice with the coconut milk, gently bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 15 minutes until the rice is tender. (Watch it doesn’t boil dry and add a little hot water if it dries out, and turn the heat down)
  3. Stir in the drained and rinsed kidney beans and heat through for about 5 minutes – you’re only really warming the beans as they’re already cooked.
  4. Stir in the coriander and season to taste.
This usually looks beautifully white and fluffy. See point *** below for explanation.


Great served with a green salad, particularly one with herbs in.

This would also work well as part of a barbecue.

You could form any leftovers into little patties, coat with flour and fry them.

* A lot has changed over the years and my son and daughter in law cook and eat widely from around the world including a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes.  

**Originally the recipe called for sunflower oil but now …. heaven forbid!

*** I have always used white basmati rice but this time only had brown basmati in the cupboard.  It took a lot longer to cook, needed quite a bit of water and wasn’t as good.  The white separates out and is fluffy and delicious. 


Cooking at home makes so much sense now that we’re nearly all home-bound and this really does use store cupboard staples.  Experiment with carrots, broccoli or cauliflower in place of the potatoes.  And remember to tell me how you get on.


Stay safe, eat well, until next time

Karen O

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