Recipe: Chocolate & Coconut Rice Pudding with Sweet Orange Peel | Koko Rice

I used to say I wasn’t a chocolate girl but, as the year’s go by, I’m realizing that it’s really more about finding the right time to eat chocolate. After dinner? Certainly. At 3pm? I’m game. For lunch? Maybe. Midnight? Definitely. 3 am? No way. I’m sleeping for goodness sakes.

But breakfast? Am I game for a chocolate breakfast?

Let’s just say it’s an arrangement I’m willing to get out of bed for and I know of at least two other people who are as well.

After all, who couldn’t use a jolt of dark chocolate goodness to start the day out right?

(Hi, Vicky!)

Photo: Upside down!

Which brings us to today’s Koko Rice from Samoa. I originally dubbed it “choconut” because I thought I was clever. Unfortunately, Google quickly informed me that I had not, in fact, invented a word so I had to go back to the much simpler, but wordier expression “chocolate and coconut.”

Whatever you decide to call it, koko rice is a rich and creamy blend of chocolate and coconut milk with just the lightest hint of orange zest. Each spoonful feels like a gift.

Lately, I’ve run into a lot of island folk who like to wake up to chocolate. And it’s not like how we do it here, in the US. I’m not talking muffins. Or chocolate chip pancakes. But full on vats of Cocoa Tea (hello) in the Caribbean and this Koko Rice in the Pacific.

This is the closest we can get to taking a warm chocolate bath in the morning.

And, honestly, who doesn’t need one of those from time to time?

A note on the ingredients:

The chocolate: Authentic recipes use koko samoa (A tower of chocolate which includes bits of cocoa nibs. Unfortunately I can’t get koko locally). For me, I feel the best substitute is bits of real dark chocolate although cocoa powder is a possibility, too. Keep in mind, depending what you use, you’ll have to play around with the quantities.

Here you can see some real “koko” as used in Samoa:

The orange: Traditional recipes float orange leaves in the simmering mixture (which I can’t get), so I used an orange peel to approximate the flavor. You can grate the peel for stronger flavor, if you’d like, as the chocolate can tend to overpower it.

Recipe adapted from Saolelei.

Serves 4-6


1 cup rice
4 cups water
the peel of one orange or an orange leaf
1 15 oz can coconut milk
3/4  cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2-3/4 cup sugar, or to taste


Let’s sing Samoan music on the beach.

Lalomanu Beach with Nu’utele island off the east coast of Upolu in Samoa. Photo by Neil.

Wow. Really. On second thought, let’s go swimming and then make the koko rice.

See you in 30.




Ok. Let’s do this thing.

First, add rice, orange peel, and water to a pot. Bring to a simmer (uncovered, or it won’t thicken!) and cook the rice for 20-25 minutes, or until very thick. Stir occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk and the chocolate… plus as much sugar as you can stand.

Note: At first the chocolate will melt unevenly. Give it a few minutes to sit in the hot rice. It’ll smooth out.

Serve immediately, with a little extra coconut milk if desired.

Oh my, yes.

<a moment of silence for the deliciousness to sink in>

Now that’s a great way to start the day.

May all your days begin with chocolate.

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  1. I’m definitely going to work this in to one of our holiday breakfasts. Not sure yet if it’ll be christmas eve morning (a treat for the four of us on the day when all of my family comes to our house to celebrate), or new years day (a treat to start the year off on the right foot).

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Oh, sounds like a delicious plan. If you get a chance, take pictures and share them on our “stories” tab (screen left in the green area).

  2. Jessica Bennett says:

    I don’t tend to choose chocolate very often, but if I come across something I’ve not had before (like this), I want to try it. So, this will be added to my list of things to make in the near future.

    I love the last, outdoor picture. Who took it?

  3. Celelste Childress says:

    I checked “weekly” on the vote, but it”s actually on the plus side of that. Chocolate has been a pleasure since childhood. My youngest sister called it “Horsey bars” because that’s what she thought we were saying.

  4. Yay! :-) <3

  5. I used to be such a chocoholic — I loved it in almost every form. I was one of those people who didn’t even consider any other dessert if Death By Chocolate was on the menu. But when I was 27 I moved to a new town where I knew no one and started a new job — basically a life makeover. Seemingly unrelated, but I noticed I had lost my taste for chocolate. I think I went a few years without eating any at all. I have no idea what the connection might have been, or if it was just coincidence. Although I’m back to enjoying chocolate to some degree, I’m less likely to choose it when there are other options, and when I do, it’s usually something that’s just lightly touched with chocolate.

    • Oh, I meant to ask… there are lots of orange trees around here. So I just throw in an orange leaf instead of the peel? I’ve never chomped on an orange leaf — it never occurred to me. I’ll have to sample one and see how much it tastes like peel. (Just seems like something that would taste more “green” and earthy.)

      • Sasha Martin says:

        I’m guessing the effect would be something like adding a bay leaf to soup – a mild background, much more subtle than the peel. I’m curious to hear how it goes though!

        • Oh, yum! This was JUST what I needed this morning! I didn’t have a chance to check with my neighbor to see if they use any pesticides on their orange tree, so I opted for a leaf off my Meyer lemon tree. (The leaf itself had a faint lemon essence to it, but more herbal than fruity.) I tasted the rice before I added the coconut milk and chocolate and couldn’t detect anything in particular.

          I made this with brown rice (because it’s just TOO decadent otherwise) and then threw in a handful of desiccated coconut just for fun. Good thing I cut the recipe in half — I might have had my way with the whole pan otherwise. Chocolate wimps need not apply!

  6. Jessica Bennett says:

    I’m finally feeling better and got around to making this yesterday. It was a perfect treat after shoveling snow :) I love trying new things.

  7. First: I love your website! I’ve never commented so far, but I’m a regular follower.
    I just wanted to add my opinion to this recipe, maybe some other readers or you? might like ‘my’ version (not claiming it to be better or more true…!). I have been to Samoa a few years ago and loooved the koko rice and fresh papaya for breakfast. – and everything else –

    I usually don’t add chocolate but quite a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder (and coconut milk). then just while eating I sprinkle some brown sugar on top of my koko rice! this way it’s really chocolaty but not too sweet – what I like.

    please say hi to Ava from me, because of her, the name made it on my list of favorite names :). greetings from Switzerland.


  1. […] ate this treat one early morning, as part of a Samoan Saturday breakfast which included our Koko Rice (a.k.a. chocolate and coconut rice pudding). I was so bleary-eyed from my too-early wake up (thanks […]

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