Looking back I think I originally documented this recipe late summer, early fall last year.. when my garden was loaded with the 'spinach' I'm about to use in this recipe. I'm using the word 'spinach' a bit loosely, as I'm really referring to several types of greens when I do. I'm a HUGE fan of greens so I usually plant several varieties in my garden every year. I'm told that as a kid on the islands my favorites (bhagi aka greens) were Dasheen Bush (tender leaves of the dasheen plant), Pak Choi and Chorai (Jamaican Callalloo)... mom never had a problem with me eating when she would cook those dishes.
Before I get to the recipe I'd like to mention that in the Southern Caribbean what we 'call' Saffron (or sorfran) is really turmeric and NOT Saffron. Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the "saffron crocus". As we continue with the 5 days of Christmas recipes, chef Marc is joining us to share his take on this tasty vegan Sorfran rice (Turmeric Rice Pilaf) A lovely one-pot dish which is packed with layers of flavor, is gluten free and something you'll be proud to have on your holiday dinner table.
While I'm a HUGE fan of rice, I'm not overly fond of Basmati or any of the sort of scented rice which are widely available. However I find that when I make rice dishes with pumpkin, carrots or even coconut milk, using Basmati rice really enhances the dish overall. This vegetarian rice dish is very easy to put together and after the initial 'cooking' there's no "work" for you, so you can sit back with your favorite beverage while the rice cooker does all the work.
This is one of those recipes I associate with my grandmother who would always have dried pigeon peas stored in re-purposed glass ketchup bottles, in a dark corner of her smoky kitchen (she cooked with an open wood fire - called a coal pot). While she would save hers for making stew peas and pelau, the odd time she would make this rice dish, it was a bit different than what I'm about to share. If you have a pressure cooker you can cook the peas in a much faster time, but I quite like this slow method.