As part of our ongoing #MeatFreeMonday series, I’ decided to share a rice recipe my girls and I get excited about. Not something I grew up eating on the islands, but nevertheless made in an ‘island’ influenced kitchen in Canada (smile). Plump grains of rice with a deep and rice tomato and herb flavor and the gentle heat achieved by adding a Bird’s Eye Pepper. This recipe is somewhat similar to the Roasted Tomato Choka And Rice Soup recipe I shared a while back.
2 cups Basmati rice
5 large tomatoes
small bunch parsley
1 small onion (diced)
2 large cloves garlic (diced)
1 birds eye pepper (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 sprigs thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 – 2 cups vegetable stock (adjust)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste/puree
1-2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped – optional)
Important! If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the stock you decide to use.
The first thing we need to do is to wash the tomatoes (make sure they are fully ripe), remove the area where the stems were with a pairing knife and make an X cut on the bottom (not deep). Then place in a pot with boiling water for about 2-4 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Then go back to where we made the cuts and peel back the skin and discard.
Give the tomatoes a rough chop and along with the parsley, give it a minute or so in your food processor.
I pulsed it as I wanted a bit of texture (chunky) to the finished “puree”. Now in a deep pot, heat the vegetable oil on a medium heat and then go in with the onion, garlic, thyme, bird’s eye pepper and black pepper. Cook on LOW for 3-4 minutes, then add the tomato paste and stir well. Cook for another 2 minutes or so, so we get the natural sweetness of the tomato paste coming out.
Pour in the tomato puree into the pot and bring to a boil (raise the heat). Add the salt and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Wash your rice at this point (basically all you’re doing is rinsing it with cool water until the water runs clear -repeat as many times as necessary). Washing the rice will help to remove any grit and extra starch, so your finished dish is not sappy (thick and clumping together). Then add it to the pot and give it a good mix so each grain is coated with this wicked tomato base. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. After which you need to turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot.
TIP! You may use chicken or beef stock if you wish (if not doing this dish vegan) and for a lovely twist you may replace 1/2 the stock with coconut milk if you wish.
After about 10 minutes check to make sure you have some liquid left.. but don’t stir. If you stir it will help release starch and you’ll get that clumpy rice we don’t necessarily want. Cook for another 5 minutes (so 15 in total), then turn off the stove, but leave the lid on and do nothing else, except top the rice with the chopped cilantro.
After 5 minutes, go in with a fork and fluff the rice.. you’re done! Time to enjoy one of the best rice dishes you’ll ever make. Guaranteed!
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2