Pandan Coconut Rice and Friendship

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” Baltasar Gracian

Pandan; Pandan leaves; coconut; coconut milk; rice; vegan; Vegetarian; healthy; Asian; quick; recipe; Spicie FoodieWhen I was a little girl and young adult I was very shy. So shy that I would hide behind my mother or under the bed when strangers stopped by. Though shy for some reason I’ve never had a problem making friends. Since I was a little girl I’ve believed that people should be judged as individuals and not on their popularity, color or background, nor lack of or abundance of wealth . I never cared if a kid in school was a “nerd” or “popular” I talked to and was friends with everyone. My logic has always been treat others as you would want others to treat you, give everyone a chance. The important thing to me was and is that the person be like minded and have a positive aura.

Pandan; Pandan leaves; coconut; coconut milk; rice; vegan; Vegetarian; healthy; Asian; quick; recipe; Spicie FoodieIn my life time I have been blessed to have had less than a handful of good and true friends. You know friends that stick with you no matter what, ones that understand if you haven’t been in contact for a while and will pick up right were you left off. All of us will have people we consider friends that come and go. But to find a true friend one of a lifetime is truly a blessing. I can proudly say that I have 2 of those in my life right now. My husband is one of them, cheesy it may sound but wholeheartedly it is the truth. In times as hard as this and everything that has been going on, I know I can count on him to keep me from failing or pick me up when I most need it.
Pandan; Pandan leaves; coconut; coconut milk; rice; vegan; Vegetarian; healthy; Asian; quick; recipe; Spicie FoodieOften times I read fellow bloggers words of praise for all the new friends they’ve made through blogging. Though the idea of one person being in one continent and the other in a far off one is no longer a rare thing, it is still a pretty neat thing to experience and see that friendship form. I’ve gotten to know so many talented and amazing people because of this little food blog of mine. But I’ve been lucky to form a few good friendships because of blogging. One of those friendships has been with Maya, from Foodiva’s Kitchen. Maya has been a wonderful friend, reaching out to me in one of my most fragile times. She is someone I now can proudly call a friend. She is someone that always makes me laugh, doesn’t take her self too seriously, is intelligent and super talented. Definitely someone you want to surround yourself with. She is kind and giving, she gives from the heart.

“Friendship without self interest is one of the rare and beautiful things in life.” James Francis Byrnes
Spicie FoodieMaya hasn’t only given me the gift of friendship but has also sent me a couple of gifts. Friday I received a package from Maya, Pandan leaves! You may remember that scrumptious guest post she did for me, “Pandan-Wrapped Chicken”. I mentioned that I was going to hunt for Pandan leaves to try out her recipe but instead Maya sent me fresh Pandan leaves all the way from Brunei. She is just too kind and sweet. Don’t get me wrong it is not the material gifts that she has given me that have made me consider her a friend or to write this. For me the best gifts are not material but words, support, kindness and friendship. Maya from the bottom of my heart thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me, for being a great friend. Hugs and tickles! Lol!

Pandan; Pandan leaves; coconut; coconut milk; rice; vegan; Vegetarian; healthy; Asian; quick; recipe; Spicie FoodieSo far I’ve made a couple of things with the Pandan leaves and let me tell you it is simply an ingredient you must try. The scent is hard to describe but one you’ll want to keep smelling. The taste is subtle but one of a kind. Since Maya is the expert I suggest you read her post all about Pandan leaves. This Pandan Coconut Rice was a hit and something to keep in the rotation. I served it alongside broiled salmon that was marinated in a honey soy and pandan marinade. Okay enough talking  writing let’s get to the recipe.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Pandan Coconut Rice (vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An exotic vegan rice recipe. Perfect for turning boring steamed rice into a lively side dish.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 2-3
  • 2 cup long grain rice
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 11/4 cup water
  • 1.5 pandan leaves, tied
  • pinch salt
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepan/pot, give it a stir. Leave uncovered under medium high heat. Once it starts to bubble turn heat to low, cover and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is soft and cooked through. If need be add a tablespoon at a time of liquid until cooked through.
  2. Once cooked remove lid and gently fluff, then set aside for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Officially autumn begins in a few days and look what I’ve been cooking. Don’t worry I’ve already restocked my pumpkin squash loot. Many recipes coming soon.
Pumpkins; Squash; Autumn; Hokkaido Squash; Curry Squash; Curry Pumpkin; White Patty Pan; Butternut Squash; Spicie Foodie


Who is your most cherished friend? I hope you share with us in the comments below.


Other Pandan recipes:
Pandan and Honey Melon Ice Cream, by Foodiva’s Kitchen
Many Pandan recipes by Adora’s Box
More Panan Recipes, by Rasa Malaysia
Coconut, Black-Eyed Pea, Pepper & Pandan Rice: a Spicy M’Baazi Mash Up  by Tasty Trix

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali

Don’t forget to check out The Ardent Epicures Coobook giveaway, Moonfish in Chili Lemon Sauce and a Giveaway


  1. says

    You know pandan leaves grows in abundant in my garden, it just multiples and plenty out there. Wish I can sent some over to you from Malaysia but it just won’t be that fresh anymore. You recipe reminds me of the rice we cook for our Nasi Lemak, lovely and so appetizing.

    • says

      Hi Nava, That is so sweet of you to think of me:) It is great that you have fresh Pandan growing in your garden and I bet you make some spectacular dishes with it. Thank you!

  2. says

    Beautiful sentiments Nancy, I really enjoyed your post. I’m also curious about the recipe which I would love to try. Gorgeous photos, everything always looks beautiful here;-). Enjoy your week!

  3. says

    Gosh, so that’s how the leaves look like now…I’ve missed them and so glad they finally made it to their destination! LOL. It’s really odd to see these pandan leaves that used to grow in my garden now propped up on your windowsill (oh, and that girly card too!). Love what you’ve done here using the leaf to flavor your coconut rice, and I’m really looking forward to other recipes using pandan from you.

    As for the friendship part, thank you for opening your heart and letting me share some aspects of your life away from this blog. I DO know the value of true friendships for I am blessed to have my closest friends around in my life for the last 3-4 decades (oh God, that sounds bad…I’m only 27, really!). Not sure if I’ll live another 3-4 decades, but if I do, I sure hope you’ll still be around as my friend then too *winks*.

    • says

      Hi Maya, Hehe yeah from your garden on a plane, to my windowsill, then my fridge then my tummy:) Thanks for approving and I can wait to keep experimenting. I know that you DO know the value of true friendship, it shows:) Wow how lucky for you to have those friends for that long. Oh Maya I thought you were only 25, wink wink, you don’t look a day over 25:) Me too I hope to be one of those friends. Think of the stories we’ll be able to tell when we are old, wrinkly and grey haired. Shhhh don’t tell anyone I already have grey hair, haha!! wah :(

  4. says

    That is such a lovely post Nancy. It was so touching that I have tears in my eyes. The recipes and the photographs are just great as usual.That shot of the butter nut squash is just too good :)

    • says

      Hi Nishi, Thank you and it makes me feel great that you not only took the time to read the full post but that you were touched by it. I’ll be sharing some butternut squash recipes soon:)

  5. says

    I’m am the fortunate one for having read this. I agree with you 100% and couldn’t have said it better. Your childhood reminds me so much of my older daughter. I’m sure it isn’t a coincidence we’ve met online, hopefully in real life one day too. That was so sweet of Maya, I want some leave, I’m going to go have a word with her, lol.

  6. says

    Lovely post and recipe – my 5 year-old son asked me just the other day if we could put coconut in rice. So it’s been on my to-do list and you’ve just moved it up to the top. And to answer your question, my dearest friend is a Brazilian woman who was an exchange student in France the same year I was. Her host family lived next door to mine and we would each sit in our bedrooms and chat through our open windows, sharing the emotional highs and lows of living away from our families and experiencing a new culture. Since that year, in 1988, we have seen each other only once. We exchange emails maybe once a year and recently we have skyped a few times, but we don’t need to be in touch to know that we’re deeply connected. The first time we skyped, we just saw each other on the screen and burst into tears. It was magic, as true friendship always is.

    • says

      Hi Ruby, Wow now that is one deeply connected and magical friendship. Thank you for sharing your story Ruby:) You are both very lucky to have found each other. I hope your little boy enjoys this rice, do let me know.

  7. says

    What a sweet post! I have to say that I never thought I’d make friends when I started blogging, but it’s true. You “meet” the greatest people in this foodie world, including yourself, Nancy! I’ve never heard of or seen pandan leaves. Now I have to do some research. Persian foods and spices? That I know!

  8. says

    Including my husband, I have 3 friends like that. I know just what you mean. : ) And I agree – even though she is on another continent, Maya is really one of the sweetest people around, it just shows through. I made a comment similar to yours I think and guess what? She sent me some pandan too! Mine just came, and unlike you I have been too indecisive to make anything yet. It smells SOOOOO good. I like this coconut pandan rice you have made with it, it must smell amazing.

    • says

      Hi Trixie, You are indeed lucky too have those 3 people in your life. Maya really is a great woman and we are all blessed for having met her. That was so kind of her to also send you some Pandan:) I’m sure you will make something fabulous with them, looking forward to it.

      • says

        Trix’s pandan leaves arrived later because she lives farther away and the US sniffer dogs are a bit more thorough in their inspection of leaves coming through the mail! Plus, I paid her to say all those nice things about me…(LOL,okay I did not). Glad you ladies are inspired by pandan, I want to see more recipes!

  9. says

    What a nice post and so wonderful to have special friends like that. Really good friends I think are hard to come by. Not just anyone can fit that bill. I have many acquaintances but my dearest friend that I went to college with is no longer living. She was tragically killed about 10 years ago by a drunk driver leaving 2 small children behind. Now both girls are grown and beautiful. Although I don’t live close to them we are facebook friends and I can see how they are doing from day to day.

    I don’t feel that I’ve found a replacement but I do have lots of people that I share time with and laugh. Cherish your friendship. Not to sound depressing but, you never know when they might be taken from you.

    I’ll be sure to check out the info on Pandon and Foodiva’s Kitchen. Lovely post!

    • says

      Hi Vicki, I am so sorry for your tragic loss. I believe you don’t have to find a replacement but it is great that you have people to share and laugh with. Your advise is so wise and yes we do all need to cherish our friendships. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  10. says

    Oh such a nice post! Maya is a sweetheart! Such a lovely, genuine lady. So glad you two have become such good friends.

    PS…you rice looks delish!

  11. says

    Wow what a great I am reading how you were as a kid I can 100% relate, because sometimes I am like that too even now as a adult. Your dish sound very tasty, with all the flavors that you combined..
    And how nice of Maya to comfort you with such a great gift. She is sweet, sweet soul just like you!

  12. says

    I think there is always a kismet among us, the internet, the foodie and culinary world, photography can be a great way to come together in one common interest. Fabulous photos.

  13. says

    Nancy…that rice looks so good and yea we used pandan leaves very often in our Asian cooking..this coconut rice is staple food ( breakfast food) for many living in Malaysia . We eat it with spicy anchovies – Nasi Lemak is the name of the rice :) Broiled salmon ! you have just given me a healthier version :) I shall try it with salmon…my favorite fish !

    Have a nice day,

  14. says

    You really have the most beautiful photogray…I love your lighting. Congratulations on your book – I heard about it reading Alisha’s Ardent Epicure. :)

  15. says

    I’ve been acquainted with some wonderful people through blogging. Without blogging our paths would never have crossed. It shows that there are may caring and wonderful people out there. Yet, barely knowing each other – the support network is so astonishingly vast.

    Lovely photos btw and I hope you enjoy your pandan leaves. Thank you for sharing them with us !

  16. says

    I have never tasted pandan leaves but have seen them in a couple of shops around here! :-) How sweet of Maya to send them to you, she really is a special person! :-)))

    I too have a few good good friends, but they all live so far away… sigh! And I miss them so much! The internet makes things a bit easier, but still, sometimes I wish we could meet and go have a coffee together… for real! SIGH

    • says

      Hi Manu, You should give them a try. Maya is the sweetest. I know what you mean, being away from home is so hard. But at least with the internet we can communicate better.

  17. says

    LOVED this post! I LIVE for my friends and place them at the center of my Universe. Funny enough, I was a lot like you as a kid… super shy, etc. There’s a really great book called The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron. I recommend it! Perhaps you can read it with a nice big bowl of this coconut rice! :D

  18. says

    Wow! Your pandan coconut rice is to perfection. It’s nice seeing our Malaysian style of coconut and pandan rice inspired your post. This goes well with curry, rendang (stew in curry) or even our classic nasi lemak with sambal. I’m so glad I stopped by and comment. No longer a quiet reader now. Like Nava said, wish I could send you some pandan leaves too. There is abundance of them in my mom’s herb garden. Can’t wait to check out your other posts. Till then, have a great weekend ahead! Cheers, Jo

    • says

      Hi Jo, Thanks for the tip and I will have to try it with rendang, yummy! Thank you for stopping by and for leaving your first comment:) Thank you so much for the thought, that is so kind of you. You too have a great weekend and I look forward to visiting your blog as well.

  19. says

    I stumbled upon your website through foodbuzz, and just wanted to drop you a note and say how much this post touched me!! Funnily enough I am an expat in your country Mexico, and in fact have been an expat my entire life – and your words really hit home to me in regards to friendship and true friends! What a lovely blog you have, and I will be following you closely :)

    • says

      Hi, Wow really? I hope you are liking Mexico:) Thank you and I am so glad to hear that you were touched and could relate to this post. I too have been an expat all my life, wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you around:)

  20. says

    I really enjoyed your post and realise that what you say is so, so true. We are totally blessed to have friends that mean something – although few – mean so much. I loved your writing and seeing these pandan leaves in the package fresh from the post and transforming them into this perfumed, delicious rice – makes you think about the wonderful moments like this. True friends to me are like you – the ones who can understand if you haven’t been in touch one or the other but can pick up where you left off. And yes, my real best friend is my husband, too – however slushy. He’s one of the few people who can tell me off when I need it! What a lovely post. Bon weekend. Jill xo

    • says

      Hi Jill, Thank you so much. It’s so great to see that you can relate and agree with my feelings. We are lucky to have such great husbands and best friends all in one package:) Toi assui, bon weekend!

  21. says

    I really enjoyed your post and realise that what you say is so, so true. We are totally blessed to have friends that mean something – although few – mean so much. I loved your writing and seeing these pandan leaves in the package fresh from the post and transforming them into this perfumed, delicious rice – makes you think about the wonderful moments like this. True friends to me are just what you say – the ones who can understand if you haven’t been in touch one or the other but can pick up where you left off. And yes, my real best friend is my husband, too – however slushy. He’s also one of the few people who can tell me off when I need it! What a lovely post. Bon weekend. Jill xo

  22. says

    So beautiful …..:). Friends are like diamonds…:)
    First time here and as it looks like….I am staying :).


  23. Kelvin says

    Thanks for the recipe! Since it’s hard for me to get Pandan leaves here in US, I bought Pandan extract instead. How much of the extract do you think I need for your recipe?

    • says

      Hi Kelvin,

      I’ve never used pandan extract so I really can’t advice you on the matter. Perhaps you can do a quick search or experiment to see. Good luck!


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