Here’s another example of a dish mom would prepare during the time I was a kid on the islands we’d (my brother and sisters) never want to touch, yet as an adult I can never get enough. The culprit for our childhood hate? OKRA! The texture and flavors were simply not our thing and we won that battle with mom time and time again. I must confess (as far as I can remember) mom’s version wasn’t as good as the recipe I’m about to share with you (don’t let her know I said so though).
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 small onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (diced)
1 scallion (chopped)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 sprigs thyme
10 saffron (strings)
1 bird’s eye pepper (bird pepper)
1/2 bell pepper (diced)
2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup pumpkin (diced)
12-15 small okra (chopped)
3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust accordingly)
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups water (adjust to the type of rice you choose to use)
Prep the ingredients.
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy wide pan (with a lid) on a low heat, then add the onion, garlic, black pepper, bird’s eye pepper, scallion, parsley, saffron and thyme. Stir and cook on low for about 3 minutes. Then add the diced pumpkin, along with the bell pepper. Cook another 2 minutes.
Add the rice (don’t wash – I know that’s not what we normally do here on CaribbeanPot) and with the heat on medium, coat the rice with all that wonderful flavors we created and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then it’s just a matter of adding everything else to the pot – salt, coconut milk, water and okra.
Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. As it starts to bubble, drop the heat down to low, cover and allow to cook until the rice is plump and tender… and all the liquid is gone. Depending on the rice you choose to use (yes you can use any rice you like) it will take 15 mins plus.
Do keep in mind that I’m cutting back on the amount of salt I use in dishes, so you may need to adjust. Additionally, if you’re not doing this vegan you can go in with chicken stock instead of the water. If you go that route, be mindful of the sodium level in the stock you use (or the dish can turn out salty). We didn’t wash the rice as we wanted to coat the rice grains with the flavored oil for a lovely ‘nutty’ flavor and a somewhat grainy texture when the dish was completed.
As soon as you turn off the stove, cover the pot and allow the rice to sit without doing anything. After about 20 minutes, uncover and use a fork to fluff.