My family, like many others, is utterly obsessed with food. When we get together we mainly discuss new recipes we’ve attempted and restaurants that everyone ‘MUST TRY’. Holidays around here are like going to a 5-star restaurant that serves family style. Being food centric meant that I spent a large part of my childhood in the kitchen helping my parents . I will forever be thankful to my parents for teaching me how to cook, in my opinion there are wayyy too many twentysomethings that have the culinary expertise of Carrie Bradshaw (ovens are NOT for storing magazines) !!
My Dad is definitely the head chef in our family, I’ve always been amazed by his ability to throw together a meal with random ingredients he finds in the fridge. Growing up I was very privileged to have him show me the ropes in the kitchen, and it was great bonding time for us. Even now that I’m older he still surprises me with delicious new recipes. Just last week I came home to the most amazing smell wafting out of the kitchen. When I asked him what he made all he said it was Jamaican Seasoned Rice. To be honest I had to ask him twice – I couldn’t hear him over my salivary glands going into overdrive. If you enjoy ackee and saltfish (a classic Jamaican dish that’s usually served with green bananas) you’ll love this dish! It was everything a one pot meal should be savoury, salty, and satisfying.
It was so delicious that I decided to recreate it for dinner last night with a few additions (AKA vegetables that were about to go bad in my fridge).
Jamaican Seasoned Rice
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped Scotch Bonnett Pepper (this can be omitted, but I LOVE spicy food)
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
2 tbsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups salted cod, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup coconut milk powder
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp olive oil Becel
Fresh ground pepper
Heat the canola oil in a large pot on medium-high heat and add the butternut squash. Season with pepper and cook until it’s softened, but not browned. Add the onions, red pepper, thyme, Scotch Bonnett pepper, green beans, broccoli, and salted cod and cook for another 5 mins (basically just look for the onions to be translucent).
Combine 1/3 cup of coconut milk powder with 1/3 cup of water and set aside.
Wash the rice under cold running water until the runoff water runs clear. You don’t want all that gross starchy-ness making your delicious rice sticky! Then combine the rice with your veggie pot. Make sure you’re stirring this mixture continuously so the rice doesn’t burn. Trust me, burnt rice is not fun to remove from the bottom of a pan.
Once the rice is combined with the vegetables add the coconut milk mixture and Becel. Bring the pot to a boil and ladle in a small amount of chicken stock, reduce the heat and cover it so the mixture is just simmering. At this point you’re probably thinking I did not sign up for risotto-esque cooking, but trust me – it’s worth it. Check the pot often and add chicken stock as needed, making sure it’s fully absorbed into the rice before adding more. I used around a cup and a half of chicken stock to cook the rice, but you may need more or less depending on the type of rice you’re using.
The final product is fluffy, salty, spicy heaven. As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of ackee and saltfish, but there’s been a green banana shortage in Toronto so this is a perfect replacement! My Dad’s original recipe included tomatoes as well, but I was far too lazy to head out to the store so I’ll definitely be using those next time!