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.
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.
As a kid I never had much love for this dish, but as I grew older (and moved away from home / the Caribbean), Corn Cou Cou became a fave of mine. Since mom could never convince us to eat corn Cou Cou it was rarely ever made in our home, except for the odd time she would make it for dad.. usually served with stew fish. While the corn meal and okra are the 'constant' ingredients in Cou Cou, you'll find that the technique and supporting cast of ingredients will differ as you visit kitchens across the Caribbean.
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.
Our mom is an expert at making Caribbean style stewed red beans and I'm still to find someone who can match the way she balances flavor, tenderness and the perfect consistency to the gravy. A recipe which calls for soaking dried beans and slowly cooking then for a relatively long time. Time is something we never seem to have much of lately, so I've come up with a recipe which will cut the cooking time tremendously and give you the same sort of feel-good vibe as if you were eating traditional Caribbean stewed beans - stuff your mom or grandma would make for you.
Where did the taste, flavor and scent of tomatoes go? As a kid on the islands I remember helping mom and dad in the garden, which meant getting between the tomato bushes during harvest time to pick those lovely beauties off the tree (yes, I’ve had a love affair with tomatoes since as early as […]
I’ve noticed the past few months that there’s been an incredible amount of requests for more vegetarian and gluten free type recipes. As you may or may not know, a vast majority of the food we cook in the Caribbean are naturally gluten free and with the abundance of fresh vegetables, we’ve mastered vegetarian cooking […]
If you’re looking for a way to add a wicked punch of flavor to boring cauliflower, look no further. Along with the wonderful flavors of a good Caribbean style curry, this recipe is also vegetarian and can be done gluten free (check your curry powder to ensure there’s no gluten-flour additive in it). Based on […]
As a young fella on the islands, my brother and I usually helped mom with the kitchen garden after school and on the weekends. I enjoyed seeing plants go from seeds to actually bearing fruit and harvest time was usually my favorite. Picking bodi (yard beans) off the bush (grows on a vine-like bush) was like a […]
If you’re concerned about the supposed heat or spiciness of Caribbean food, know that you can always adjust the amount of pepper and spices you use to your personal liking. Additionally, as we see with classic Jamaican jerk, you can always go with a pairing which compliment the dish and bring in that sort of […]