Thursday, 28 May 2015

Jamaican Rice and Peas (includes Thermomix method)

The perfect accompaniment to dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat, or even on the side of ackee and saltfish! (Can you see where I'm going here?)

OK, so this is one of those things that I usually don't really bother measuring or timing when I make it - in that I make a load, we eat what we need for that meal, and the rest goes into the fridge or freezer for convenience - it's very forgiving when being re-heated, or kept warm!

This quantity serves a good eight to ten (from 245 calories per generous portion) - but let's face it, if you're having a barbecue for friends and making a heap of jerk chicken, you'll be glad of it! And if not... just halve the quantities, or put what you don't want into the freezer for easy future accompaniments. To be honest, if you are entertaining, and you make this quantity and serve a range of dishes, it's probably going to serve a few more than ten people.
To get a nice 'dirty' colour to my rice and peas, I like to use a tin of red (kidney) beans and include the liquid from the tin, and use a red onion - you don't really want your rice to be 'Persil white' if possible! You could use brown rice, if you want to cook whole grain - you will just need to cook it for an extra 15 minutes or so, until tender, and give it some extra liquid at the start. If you're not a fan of red kidney beans, then a completely non-Carribean, but visually similar alternative is adzuki beans - they are the same rich colour, but much smaller, more tender, and children seem to like them much better too. They are also available in tins, so you'll get the lovely dark red liquid too.

Serves eight to ten

For those counting calories it's 2,448 for the whole quantity. Hence for a tenth portion, it's 245 calories. Obviously to count really accurately, you'd need to weigh the whole quantity, before weighing out your own portion. I personally think if you're going for a low calorie meal, you'd probably be happy with a half portion at 123 calories together with a big salad and portion of something like jerk chicken (breast) for a tasty and balanced low calorie meal.

  • 500g long grain rice (use easy cook for...ease - the grains won't stick together or go mushy if you misjudge things) [1,780]
  • 240g cooked-weight red beans (e.g. one 400g tin - don't drain them) - pigeon peas if you can get them, kidney beans if not (adzuki beans if you don't like kidney beans!) [252]
  • 1 large-ish (red) onion, finely chopped (120g) [49]
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed [18]
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped [14]
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1.5 tsp dried) [3]
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled (or paste, or concentrated bouillon - enough to make 500ml - you could use vegetable stock if preferred) [20]
  • 160ml coconut cream (not creamed coconut - the smooth stuff, available in little tins, e.g. Tesco's which is 11% fat) [310]
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper [2]
  • Optional scotch bonnet (whole) - optional
  • Salt to taste

1) Firstly prepare all of the vegetables and thyme, chopping finely (except the chilli, if using - keep it in one piece!). [Thermomix: Peel the garlic, and chop the spring onions (scallions) into 3cm lengths. If the thyme is young and tender, with soft stalks, you don't need to strip the leaves off the stalks. Drop the garlic, spring onions and thyme onto running blades / Speed 8. Peel the onion, cut into eights, put into the bowl and chop for 3 seconds / Speed 5.5. To cook using the TM5 automated programme see Tips below. Otherwise, I highly recommend cooking in a pan, as follows]

2) Place them in the bottom of a large pan (with a tightly fitting lid). Rinse the rice, and place in the pan with all of the other ingredients, including the liquid from the beans if using tinned (only add a pinch of salt at this stage).

3) Whilst adding cold water to the pan, rest the tip of your index finger on top of the level rice, and add the water until it just comes up to your second knuckle joint.

4) Give everything a really good stir, then place the pan with the lid on over a medium heat, and bring it to a simmer.

5) Once it is simmering, give it another good stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down a little and cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is just tender. (If it's not quite cooked, you can add a little more boiling water if it needs it, and cook for a few more minutes with the lid still on).

6) Taste for seasoning, add salt as required, fluff up with a fork, and serve with lovely spicy things, such as my Jamaican jerk chicken, my curry goat or lamb, or even my spin on saltfish and ackee, made with fresh cod!

If you wish to cook this in the Thermomix TM5 using the automated programme, you can do so as follows. My overall recommendation is for cooking in a pan, though, especially as it doesn't need much attention!
1) Chop the vegetables as described in step 1 and scrape down.

2) Drain the kidney beans over the internal steaming basket (or a sieve or colander) into a bowl, reserving the liquid from the tin. Add the beans, stock cube/paste and black pepper to the chopped vegetables in the bowl.

3) Set the TM5 to Automated Cooking for Boiled Rice.

4) When asked to add water: as part of the total weight add the coconut cream, then reserved liquid from the tinned beans, before completing the weight with water.

5) Follow the instructions for adding the rice, only add a pinch of salt.

6) Turn the dial to cook on auto mode, and place the simmering basket on top to avoid splattering.

7) When ready, tip into a bowl immediately and stir thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, add salt as required, fluff up with a fork, and serve with lovely spicy things, such as my Jamaican jerk chicken, my curry goat or lamb, or even my spin on saltfish and ackee, made with fresh cod!

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