Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Carribean adventure

This is how I feel like calling it and it took me some time to have enough confidence to try out these Carribean recipes. Like always I wanted to make things more complicated and wanted to get a feel of what Carribean food is all about before trying out something. Until I realised that the best way do it was to 'try out' the recipes than to just keep reading them all.
Initially I had no time at all and at the end I had just about a couple of days time left. Then came the problem of finding sources which I felt were reliable enough, but this post of Meeta at WFLH helped solve both the problems. Even now, I just about managed to cook these recipes I had choosen, to my utter happiness.

To make sure I got the 'Carribean' feeling just right I tried to buy all the ingredients I could get hold of yesterday. As I also happened to go to the city centre, I went to the Chinese shop there for cilantro and bought dried 'American' black beans (according to the packet) - not canned - and ground allspice from the local supermarket. I haven't used alllspice in this form so far and, infact, the last time I had bought whole allspice was more than 10 years ago and while cleaning up the kitchen on our move few years ago the remaining packet was discarded and I, somehow, never required to buy it again. But, things will change now that I have taken up this challenge! *smiling big*

These are the recipes I decided upon and took help of, after going through the links given by Meeta:

Carribean Rice and Carribean Vegetables (Sweet potato and Zucchini)

I tried to make them as true to the recipes as possible as this was my very first trial at cooking or, for that matter, eating Carribean food. However, I changed the first recipe slightly as I felt that a combination with sweet potato made the use of sqash unnecessary and because I just could not get this recipe of a Cuban Salsa Verde out of my mind and at the very end decided to add it as well to the rice and, despite my fears, it was fantastic!
Since I have modified the recipe of the Rice dish, I will write down the recipe here:

Caribbean Coconut Rice with Cuban Salsa Verde

Recipes by PG of My Kitchen Stories

A combination of two recipes of Caribbean Rice and Rice with Cuban Salsa Verde


1-1/2 cups chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup parboiled rice (I used regular Basmati rice)
2 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1-3/4 cups (1/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (I left this out)
1 tsp chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (I used dried thyme)
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper from the mill
2 handfuls of black beans, soaked for 6-8 hours, rinsed and drained 3x in between
4 tbsp Cuban Salsa Verde*

  • cook the black beans in a pressure cooker or a deep saucepan till very tender
  • Bring the vegetable broth and coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan over high heat untill it starts to boil, add rice.
  • Cover with a lid, reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and uncover lid.
  • In the meantime, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add chopped onion, sauté for a few miutes till golden brown.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add squash, if using, and cook until done, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in thyme and remaining spices, stir for a minute and add the black beans.

  • Add rice to beans mixture, stirring gently and not too much to combine but not to break the rice too much.
  • prepare the salsa verde by grinding all the ingredients together and cooking in the microwave for 2 mintes at 900 W (optionally for 5 minutes on stovetop) until it starts to throw bubbles
  • eat warm or cold combined with a salad

Cuban Salsa Verde*

1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, washed throughly and chopped coarsely
2 green onions, cleaned and chopped
1 tbsp lime juice (I used lemon juice)
1 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper (I used black pepper and a pinch of red chilli powder)

Grind all the ingredients in a food processor or with a hand mixer until smooth.

oh! What a lovely combination did it make! So flavourful. We all loved the spices in the sweet potato, even sunny boy, who initially was abit hesitant , but after persueing hin to tr it again, he finally was of the opinion that 'it tastes good'. I have a small portion of it left for me to enjoy tomorrow.
It feels good to send these entries, though almost last minute, to Carribean Cooking, this month's Monthly Mingle at Meeta's What's For Lunch Honey.

And it feels so good to be back blogging after a long break!


Trupti said...

all dishes sounds very delicious PG

Superchef said...

its good to have you backa nd enjoyed reading the post!! the rice and the veggies look absolutely delicious!

A_and_N said...

Yay! You're back! And hey, hey, I love the addition of the Cuban Salsa Verde!

Soma said...

Oh U R Back PG!! Lovely dishes ... I love the way they use coconut milk in their rice. While we were in Bahamas for vacation, we ate the rice day & night!! The salsa verde rocks:-)

aparna said...

Everything looks so delicious.

Curry Leaf said...

Delicious platter,each dish rocks

Priya said...

Caribbean meals looks amazing PG...Great work!!

Ivy said...

That's why I love blogging because it makes us get out of our comfort zone and try things we never dreamed off. Your choice of recipes are great and love your photos as well.

Jude said...

Great call on the salsa verde with rice. Sounds great!

Aparna said...

Caribbean is definitely the flavour of this month. Looks absolutely delicious.

bee said...

that is a fantastic looking meal. i'll be trying the cuban salsa verde soon.

Rajee said...

I too want to try from u. So beautiful and flavorful with great combintion. You're so smart to cook this. First time here.