Yep, you read that correctly; Colombians like to put Coca-Cola in their coconut rice. (no, not cocaine!) I think it is more of a costeño/Caribbean thing, but you can find it this way in Bogotá too. Maybe it helps that Coke is made with real sugar here? Either way, I was initially startled to see Manu pouring Coke into a bubbling pot of rice but have since learned to accept it and today I decided to try my own hand at it because Manu loves the stuff and could probably live off it if she had too.
I have never been super serious about my coconut rice; usually I just throw a can of coconut milk in and cook the rice as usual, but this is terribly lazy as I have come to realize, and I will now demonstrate to you what I/you should be doing.
Take your can of coconut milk and do not mix it. Pour off the water and only take that solid chunk of coconut-y goodness and put it in a medium sized pot. If you already mixed it, or you got a brand that doesn’t really have watery stuff but just more liquid coconut, that’s ok, this next part will just take a bit longer.
Heat it up. Get the milk bubbling and thick—it should start separating a bit and these pieces will get crispy and toasted. If, like me tonight, the milk is just not doing that (it takes a looong time) and you are so hungry you are ready to eat your fingers, just move on. As long as the milk is less liquid-y than it was you’ll probably be fine.
Add the rice. I went with one cup because I figured that was a small enough amount that the coconut flavor would be distinct. Then add about a cup of Coke. Let it do its ricey thing, making sure it’s not burning to the bottom too much as coconut rice so often does (There is a word for those crunchy rice bits—pegao’) and adding a little Coke or water as needed.
Violá! Add in shredded coconut if you so choose, or even rasins. Serve next to curry, or everything.
Manu’s verdict: acceptably delicious, still some work towards excellence required.