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My Caribbean Seasoned Rice 🌞
My home is St. Croix of the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands 🇻🇮, but like the diverse and many-layered food culture on this island, this recipe incorporates elements from different islands’ variations… Accordingly, I cannot label it “pure” Virgin Islands seasoned rice, hence the catch-all designation of “Caribbean.” Many varieties mix pigeon peas or beans right into the rice; others incorporate cubed ham. My mom’s version of seasoned rice – originating from Puerto Rican friends, utilizing Goya or Vigo yellow rice as a base – was a staple food in my house, growing up. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I failed to realize that the Goya and Vigo brands contain chicken by-products until I had been vegan for almost two months. 😳 As such, I engineered this recipe, based loosely on my mom’s, but incorporating all animal-friendly pantry ingredients. My mom mixes in sautéed onions and peppers, which I highly recommend, but often skip if I’m short on time or supplies.
- 1 c short grain white rice (check back for a brown rice version soon)
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp saffron (optional but good)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- a pinch of dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- If using the saffron: simmer the saffron threads in the vegetable broth over low heat for 10 minutes. Let stand an additional 5. Drain the saffron threads and set aside the broth.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, cumin, and turmeric, and stir quickly, until the tomato paste is well-mixed.
- Add the rice to the pot and coat evenly in the mixture.
- Pour in the broth, and mix well. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme, cover, and turn down the heat to a simmer.
- Let cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is totally absorbed. Serve with love and beans.