Saturday, April 9, 2011

Yellow Coconut Rice and Peas

Yellow Coconut Rice and Peas
served with Blackened Mahi Mahi
and Mango-Cucumber Salsa

I’ve written before that even people who love to cook sometimes feel like making a simple grilled fish or chicken for dinner.   That doesn’t mean the side dishes have to be ordinary or "out of the box."

Last night I prepared blackened Mahi Mahi with a Mango and Cucumber Salsa; delicious, but nothing spectacular.  The rice stole the show.  Dan ate two big helpings.  Not a big surprise there, but it’s definitely a “do again” in our house. 

The seasoning gives this rice dish the yellow color.

Even if you don't like coconut - and I don't - you must try this.  The coconut milk simply gives it a sweet flavor. 

Note:  I use Jasmine rice for this dish because it tends to be a little starchier and you get the sticky rice texture.  The “peas” – as they are known in the Caribbean - are actually Pinto Beans.  I recommend using Goya® brand Pinto Beans and Coconut milk in this recipe because of the consistency.*  All beans and coconut milk are not created equal, at least not in this cook’s eyes.

The reason that I use two tablespoons of olive oil in this recipe is that I think it adds flavor to the rice.  You’re not just using it to sauté.  More is good here.

*Not a paid endorsement. 

Yellow Coconut Rice and Peas

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small yellow or white Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Jasmine Rice
1 – 15 oz can Pinto Beans, not drained
1 - 13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
½ cup Water
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 packet of Sazon Tropical Seasoning – orange packet
Chopped Cilantro or Culantro for garnish

Sauté onion in olive oil, about three minutes until softened. 

Add garlic.  Sauté one more minute. 

Add rice.  Sauté with the garlic and onion for about two more minutes.

Slightly "browned" rice develops a nutty flavor.

Add pinto beans with the juice from the can, coconut milk and water.   You want a little extra liquid than the rice box calls for because the beans are cooking with the rice and those will absorb some of the liquid, too.

Add thyme springs and seasoning packet.  Stir well.

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, stir rice mixture again, and cover the pot.  You will want to cook your rice about five minutes over package directions.  In this case, it was 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered.  Fluff before serving.

Top with fresh Cilantro or Culantro.  

Have a fantastic weekend.  I'm going to relax this weekend, but I'll be back on Monday.
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