Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Around the World: Caribbean Beans and Rice

It's a taste of the tropics! Today I made Caribbean Beans and Rice: black beans and rice cooked with coconut milk and spices. Cooking beans and rice with a touch of coconut milk is a common practice in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean. (That's a green onion curl in the middle, trying to look all fancy-shmancy. Mine doesn't look as good as the one in the instructions picture...)

On the side is Spinach Bhaji, an Indian-style spinach recipe from the island of Trinidad. There is a large Indian influence on much of the cooking of Trinidad, where hundreds of thousands of Indians came as indentured servants to work the sugar plantations.

And for dessert, fresh pineapple with googly-eyed flamingo food picks. (I love these flamingos! They appeared in my birthday cake this year and made me squeal with delight -- their little eyes even roll around!)

It's all pictured in a Lunch on the Go lunch box from Bed Bath and Beyond (bought cheap with the coupon!).

Verdict:
Seriously, best beans and rice EVER. That little touch of coconut milk transformed it from a humble meal into something so tasty and satisfying! Beans and rice and greens was a perfect combination. 5 stars.

36 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

LOOOOVE beans & rice - ultimate comfort food!! The addition of coconut milk sounds intriguing!!

Em said...

that looks so delicious. is the recipe in your cookbook?

Jennifershmoo said...

It will be! It's in the new one I'm working on. :-)

Meg said...

I love beans and rice. I have never used coconut milk in them. Sounds delicious!

Karen said...

Again --another triumph. Never thought to put coconut milk in the B&R but it sounds divine. What's the timeline for next book release? I can't wait!!!

Gina said...

Mmm, have to love anything with coconut milk! I love the flamingo toothpicks, so adorable!!

Jill said...

Question from a longtime reader, but somewhat inexperienced cook: Can I cook brown rice and then add canned beans and coconut milk? (Most recipes I'm finding online use dry beans.) Thanks and keep up the great blog!

The Tree Goddess said...

The only thing that's missing is some plantanos maduros fritos!

Nick said...

You have so many fun recipes!

Alyss said...

What spices do you use in the beans and rice? I make a recipe like that using just a little thyme and maybe some curry powder, but if I use too much curry then it just tastes like thai curry :) I know you aren't going to divulge the recipe, but maybe just the spices? :)

Annieeggplant said...

A new cookbook?? Oh my goodness, dreams really do come true!!! I can't wait. Do you need any recipe testers?

Robyn said...

This looks delicious!

How are you liking the Lunch on the Go? I bought one last year (inspired by your blog!), and don't quite like it any more than regular tupperware.

I have found that it picks up smells/grease really easily, the lids warp, and the freezer pack doesn't last as long as I need it to.

But I'm curious if I'm just being picky...

I'm thinking of breaking down and buying one of the tifilin (sp?) systems.

Expat Wannabe said...

I absolutely love your blog! Just thought I'd let you know.

Jennifer said...

I've been reading for a few weeks now, as I've been preparing for "taking the plunge" into veganism. After reading all of your great ideas, it sounds less like a sacrifice (Although I am truly anticipating missing cheese) and more like an exciting adventure. Thanks for the inspiration. I'll definitely be picking up a copy of your cookbook!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>What's the timeline for next book release? I can't wait!!!

Thanks, Karen! It should be out in September, just in time for back-to-school again.

>>Can I cook brown rice and then add canned beans and coconut milk?

Yes, you'll just have to cook the rice longer. When making coconut rice you add the coconut milk along with the water to the dry rice before cooking (say, 1 cup dry rice to 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup coconut milk). Just add the canned beans at the end.

>>What spices do you use in the beans and rice?

I didn't use any curry but I did use thyme, plus some cinnamon and allspice. Yum!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>How are you liking the Lunch on the Go?

Oh, I agree, it's not the best lunch container out there. If you have the money, I think stainless steel tiffins are a great way to go, especially if you want something that won't warp or take on smells like plastic.

I actually bought this for my mom as a gift and she uses it to take her lunches to work. She likes it, but then again she usually only packs salads and fruit. I borrowed it for this lunch because I thought the purple lids and my mom's tablecloth would look cute with the pink flamingos. :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I've been reading for a few weeks now, as I've been preparing for "taking the plunge" into veganism...

Good luck, Jennifer!! I'm glad my blog has achieved one of its main goals -- to show how much fun you can have with vegan food!

Rozmin said...

Ooh, I love Indian style spinach. I usually cook it with mustard greens when I find them at the store (sarson ka saag).

TrueEpicure said...

That's how we make rice and peas in my family, as we're of Jamaican descent. The one difference is that we use Gungu peas, aka Gandules or pidgeon peas.

Eva
http://trueepicure.com

Alex said...

Just found this funny article, advice to shameless carnivores on bridging the divide between vegans and meat-eaters. Is it possible?

http://www.asylum.com/2008/11/20/shameless-carnivores-guide-to-defending-against-vegan-attacks/

penny said...

Looks deeelicous! Kind of like a cross between beans and rice and rice pudding (yum). Do you prefer to use a specific kind of rice? Oh, and I must say, the flamingos really set it off. They would totally make my day if I found them in my lunchbox!

Robyn said...

Thanks for the input! I can see the Lunch on the Go being great if you stick to fruits/salads. I made the mistake of transporting some curry, and it didn't go too well.

Metal tiffins it shall be.

Stephen said...

I seem to remember rice and beans together are supposed to be a great combination nutritionally..it's something to do with the protein. And of course you're meant to be able to live off coconut, seriously, that's all you need on your desert island.
Anyway, nice food!
Stephen at eatthinkandbemerry.wordpress.com
(a vegetarian site!)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Do you prefer to use a specific kind of rice?

I like long-grain basmati. :-)

Ivy said...

Hi, Jennifer. I'm trying to make the savory leaf pies from Vegan Lunch Box. Is there a substitution for barley flour? Would pastry, chickpea, or soy flour work?

Kim said...

Cool beans! Oh my mom makes this but not as nice looking as yours. The flamingos are a lovely touch.
=]

Kaci said...

Beans and rice are a staple here! MMMM good!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I'm trying to make the savory leaf pies from Vegan Lunch Box. Is there a substitution for barley flour?

Regular white flour or whole wheat pastry flour should do the trick, although you may have to fiddle around with the amounts. Don't use chickpea or soy, though; I don't think they would work well.

Nolita said...

Hello, I pack lunches for my little girl (6yrs old) and keep referring back to your blog for ideas. Wondering if your little schmoo liked this lunch and if he warms it up or eats it cold? When I pack soups or casseroles for my girlie, I always heat it up and put in in her stainless thermos. Love your ideas!

Jen said...

Will you be posting the recipe for the beans and rice? I've been looking for a good one!

Aviva said...

will you be doing a vegan thanksgiving blog?

Kate said...

This recipe looks great and I can't wait to try it. I made the fries out of grits and my son loved it. I had to mention your great blog and book on my food allergy blog. http://foodallergytipsandtricks.blogspot.com/

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Will you be posting the recipe for the beans and rice? I've been looking for a good one!

It will be in my next cookbook, so stay tuned! :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Wondering if your little schmoo liked this lunch and if he warms it up or eats it cold? When I pack soups or casseroles for my girlie, I always heat it up and put in in her stainless thermos.

My son loved the beans and rice (the spinach, not so much). He has no problem eating lots of things cold that I would rather have warm, so it's no big deal for him. He'll pull things like this right out of the refrigerator and eat them! If your daughter prefers things warm, having a couple small thermoses around is the way to go.

Anjelina said...

I love beans. I make this but not as nice looking as yours. The flamingos are a lovely touch.

Anjelina
[http://www.realbabyguide.com]

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