Parveen The Spice Queen: Dessert that ticks all the boxes

Coconut rice
Coconut rice

So, in keeping with the “veganuary” theme I wanted to introduce you to a truly amazing dessert...amazing in the fact that it is dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free.

With all those”frees”in the description, you would be forgiven if you think the next word should be taste-free, but this dessert is far from it. It is sweet, satisfying and very warming on a cold winter’s day.

I first had this dessert in Hong Kong whilst on holiday in 1997. I was pregnant with my youngest son and had heartburn, metallic mouth and nausea (you know what I mean ladies). Not only was I on vacation but I think my taste buds were too! I had gone off the taste of eggs, chocolate and cream, so in terms of desserts that doesn’t really leave much to choose from. Then my brother-in- law who lived in Hong Kong suggested sweet Thai coconut rice. I wasn’t too enthralled with the sound of it but nevertheless, I ordered it and OMG.. it was delicious. I think I had seconds and thirds -it was sweet, creamy, tasty and satisfying. It ticked all the boxes.

Hang on a second, I know what you are thinking, how can it be creamy if it’s dairy- free? Well that’s because it’s made with coconut milk, which is not milk in the conventional sense as it derives from coconuts and not animals. I’m glad we cleared that up, but I can also hear you thinking, surely it cannot be nut-free if it contains coconut? Well, I have been reliably informed that coconut is not actually a nut, apparently, it’s a seed! The reason I say reliably informed is because I have been seeking advice on labelling from Trading Standards regarding my Peshwari Naan Kit (which does contains nuts). I have to ensure all the allergen information is correct. So, I was really surprised to learn that coconut is not nut but if you have allergies double check with your doctor...Ok, enough of a nutritional lesson, back to my sweet coconut rice. It’s very popular in our home, in fact I am making it this weekend as daughter is coming home. She is doing veganuary, so it will tick all the boxes. Give it a go for yourselves - make an amazing dessert which contains nuts that are not nuts and milk that is not milk!


Risotto rice - 200g

Coconut milk - 400g tin

Water - 200ml

Sugar - 2 tsp

Desiccated coconut - 1 tbsp (optional)

Serves: 4 to 6 

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 30mins


1. In a heavy based pan, add the coconut milk, rice, sugar and water.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer on very low for 30 minutes.

3. Garnish with coconut and edible glitter if you have it and serve with fresh Mangoes and/or Strawberries


Serve with a warm coconut sauce.

Add 6 tbsp of coconut milk, 2 tbsp of coconut cream and 1 tbsp sugar into a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes.


Add another free to the list and go sugar-free by using natural agave syrup instead of refined sugar.