I had mentioned the big 5 of the rice dishes in South Indian cuisine in another recipe (for mayer lemon rice), Coconut rice is one of them. Its very simple to cobble up but important to remember that you need really good quality shredded coconut. I usually like to add some toasted sesame into the mix for an additional crunch & nuttiness (although there exists a separate sesame rice dish as well) —Panfusine
Fresh shredded frozen coconut
whole sesame seeds
sprig curry leaves
black mustard seeds
split Urad dal
cooked Basmati rice, fluffed up and grains separate
Toast the Coconut until it turns a light golden color. transfer to a bowl to cool.
In the same skillet, toast the sesame seeds until they begin popping all over the gas range (and turn a golden brown color in the process). Combine with the coconut and give it a light turn in the spice grinder making sure that the mix does NOT turn into a powder.
Keep the Basmati rice fluffed up in a large mixing bowl. you may season with the salt at this point if you prefer.
Heat the ghee in a large saute pan add the mustard and Urad dal, once the mustard sputters and the Dal turn red, add the cashewnuts and the curry leaves. Add the coconut/sesame mix along with the salt (if you've not added it to the rice) , lower heat and combine the ingredients.
Add this coconut mixture to the basmati rice and gently fold in to combine taking care not to mush up the rice. Serve warm with a side of Lentil wafers (papad)