Coconut Rice with Fried Plantains and Shrimp

Happy Friday the 13th, a notoriously unlucky day. I’m hoping it’s not so bad for all us Galley Pirates out there as we prepare to make great meals in our little galleys. Hopefully your day will be no worse than mine was a while back, trying to find the right ingredients to make Coconut Rice. There my luck ran out.

It was January 18, Santa Marta, Columbia, our first stop on the 2018 World ARC. The food in this historic city was fantástico! I was introduced to arepas (recipes coming soon) which I ate on the streets, in cafes and every chance I could get. And Columbian Coconut Rice; caramelized in coconut oil with raisins or currants. So this is what I wanted to make for Galley Pirates. But…

Typical of all galley cooking, particularly in faraway places, you sometimes have to improvise. So here I will give you two recipes: 1) the way I made coconut rice; 2) the way you make authentic Columbian coconut rice, Arroz con Coco.

I tried my best to find the right kind of coconut milk in the nearby market. But as luck would have it, I ended up having to improvise using a small bottle of sweetened coconut milk (one you might drink as a beverage) and a large bottle of unsweetened natural coconut milk. The combination, under a low flame with frequent stirring, turned the long grain brown rice into a creamy coconut “risotto” consistency. Not the typical Arroz con Coco, but extremely delicious nonetheless. I made the rice in advance, at Marina Santa Marta, and stowed it in the icebox. The rest of the meal was cooked under way in mildly rolling 4-ft seas, headed to San Blas islands. 

Coconut Rice

Jump to Recipe

1 1/2 cups regular long grain or brown rice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup sweetened coconut milk
3 cups (total) unsweetened natural coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons grated natural coconut, with extra to garnish

In a large sauce pan bring the 2 types of coconut milk and the coconut oil to a boil. Add the rice and stir. Let simmer, stirring frequently. Keep simmering, stirring every five minutes or so for 30 minutes, until al denté. Add water if it begins to dry out.

Stir in the sea salt and fresh grated coconut. The rice should be sticky enough to form a ball. Toss some more gated coconut on top and serve. Or continue on with the shrimp and plantains.


2 ripe plantains
1-2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
Sea salt & pepper

Heat the coconut or olive oil in a large sauté pan. Slice the plantains into 1/4″ slices on a slight diagonal. Fry in the oil until browned on one side. Turn them over with tongs and brown the other side. It’s ok it they get a little crispy-brown. That just adds to that wonderful caramelized flavor.

Shrimp Sauté

2 tablespoons EVOO
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons fresh hot peppers, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken broth
2/3 cup scallions, minced for garnish

As with any stir fry, the most time consuming part is chopping all of the vegetables.

We were settling into a nice watch schedule by this time. It consisted of the ARC Net call-in at 5:00, dinner at 6:00 followed by night watches starting at 7:00 with us each taking 3.5 hour watches. Torie and I would usually begin meal prep around 4:00. This evening we had all of our ingredients chopped and ready for the quick stir-fry after the Net.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. (A wok would be nice too but I don’t know a single sailor that has a wok on board. Please let us know if you do. Would love to hear where you stow it!) Heat up the olive oil, add the garlic and hot peppers. Sauté for about a minute until fragrant. Add the shrimp and sauté until just turning pink. Add the bell peppers and tomatoes and continue stir frying until peppers are just starting to tenderize, 3-5 minutes. Add the seasoning, white wine vinegar and bouillon. Let simmer on low flame for five minutes and….that’s it!

Silly Skipper Gary, who just wants his solitude*, let me sneak in this shot. They were very accommodating in having a Galley Pirate on board.

*SVSolitude, that is.

Click the link below for the Authentic Columbian Coconut Rice or Arroz Con Coco recipe:

Authentic Columbian Coconut Rice


One thought on “Coconut Rice with Fried Plantains and Shrimp

  1. Pingback: Galley PiratesPatacones (Tostones) with Mojo Sauce

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