Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cardamom; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 15 seconds). Transfer to a small bowl.
Add coconut to pan; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just beginning to brown (about 2 minutes). Add to cardamom.
Add oil and garlic to pan. Sauté, stirring often, just until garlic is fragrant but not browned (about 20 seconds). Stir in rice; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in reserved coconut mixture, water, and salt; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Add butter, stirring gently until melted. Stir in cilantro.
We LOVED this rice! I am not even a big fan of coconut rice, but I couldn't stop eating it. Most of the recipes I've used have coconut milk as part of the liquid, but I decided to follow this recipe as is and I'm glad I did. The only change I made was to sub out the cardamon. I realized I didn't have any so I just put a sprinkle of ginger and cinnamon on the coconut while it was toasting it. Might try it with the cardomon next time. Also, I used a good jasmine rice which helps a lot with the texture. I served with jerk spiced shrimp skewers and some mango salsa. YUM!
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