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Bajan Lentil Stew and Tasty Creole Rice

June 29, 2009

Creole Rice

Well I am back and feeling much better today. Hopefully will get back into the gym by tomorrow. I have been cooking today again and I did my spin on creole rice  which is a seasoned rice you would get in the French speaking islands. Sometimes creole rice is cooked with kidney beans but since I made lentils I did not include beans in my rice. All I had in my cupboard was basmati rice so I used it. You can use a medium grain white rice for this. If using brown rice you may need to increase your spices. I picked up some creole seasoning in Guadeloupe but if you do not have that no worries. Creole rice has a sweetish very mild taste to it and it is usually coloured pinkish. I used anatto oil I made I will focus on that a little later and some tomato sauce to colour my rice pink. If you have tomato paste use that or ketchup. I tend to stay away from ketchup but if you like ketchup add it no problem. Another interesting ingredient I used was peanut butter. It is not strong as I use 1 tsp but it add something special to this rice. I made this rice last year in Barbados and I added some liquid smoke to the water and it really wow things up for me. The recipe I know was from my secondary school recipe book and it called for bacon and cubed beef so I knew that it was a smokey tasting rice. I tried creole rice in St. Martin at this restaurant on the beach and it was very good. I could taste the ketchup but it did not turn me off. In St. Martin they tend to make it vegan sans the salted pork and it is very reasonable about 2 usd per portion.

Rice Cooking Ability

In the Caribbean your rice cooking ability is what separates ” cook” from “can’t cook”.Rice is a side dish but cooking it well is something that really carries the main dish.  We never eat wet rice unless it was like a rissoto or something which many people do not do at home anways.We like our rice cooked dry with no liquid left in the pot. Some like their rice like bullets but still well cooked if there was such a  thing as al dente rice then that’s how we like it.I have yet to find someone who likes their rice cooked soft as a side. At home sometimes it does not come out perfect but some days you have good rice cooking days and you feel proud when you used just enough water to fully cook the rice without overcooking it.I found that cooking rice with certain spices keeps it for longer periods. Maybe the spices act as microbicides. I usually store rice for the maximum of 2 days in the fridge.I like  to add Colombo curry to my rice and I like rice mainly with vegetables finely chopped.Sometimes I make an oven baked rice with a piece of soy or tempeh bacon. How important is good rice cooking to you? and How do you like your rice?

Rice Consumption in the Caribbean

You may think that we do not eat a lot of rice with all of the ground provisions I showed you but in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean they consume a lot of white rice. We usually make our rice with Pigeon peas and salted meat and a bouquet garni in the pot but many people in Barbadians are very sensitive to others when adding meat to the dish so they would only make rice with the salted pork if they know who they are cooking for. Most people eat rice as a side and we usually serve a brown onion gravy or meat gravy on the top. Rice is eaten on Sundays a lot with the traditional Bajan spread of Bajan Macaroni Pie which I am trying to veganize,and, meat. Rice is eaten in the week plain or with vegetables. On Christmas a special rice is made called green peas and rice and my dad does the best I ever had. I will make a post on this recipe when I go home and since he is vegan too his is totally vegan and so so good on so many level. You do not even have to eat sauce with his green peas and rice it is just so well seasoned. This is the first of many rice post from me because there is so much to to done with rice.

Lentil Stew

Bajan Lentil Stew

I eat a lot of lentil stew at home and my husband would eat it everyday if I made it . I love lentil stews but I never plan to make it so I always have to go through hours of slow cooking to get my lentils soft. I soaked my lentils before hand and I had finished stew in 1 hour. If I soaked them overnight it would have finished faster. I would give an outline of this recipe as many people would not make this as they did not make their Bajan seasoning!!! I burnt some sugar to make browning which is very Caribbean.When I was a teenagerIwould go around laughing at dishes in restaurants that had too much browning.Once I saw some chicken in a stew that looked like if it was in a pitch lake or something but I got over this now and realised that browning is very cultural and it is what separates a stew made in Guyana to a stew made in Italy.Browning also has a characteristic flavour and it does wonders for some stews . Some people make some really dark browning and it depends on what you are using it for. I do not want a black sauce lentil so I burnt my sugar until it was dark brown and then I quickly added some water. This created a brown base for me. I love Braggs Liquid aminos in my lentils so I use that as my salt but still salt a little more at the end of cooking. Bajan seasoning is a key ingredient in my sauce and some nutritional yeast makes everything better right? This stew flavourful and when you taste it you do not feel like if you are eating healthy beans it taste like some too tasty stew that you should not be eating too much. Another good thing my lentil stew is fat free.

Here we go from sugar to caramel to burnt sugar aka browning. The last picture is diluted browning.Too much browning can lead to a bitter stew so becareful

Here we go from sugar to caramel to burnt sugar aka browning. The last picture is diluted browning.Too much browning can lead to a bitter stew so becareful

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2009 5:13 pm

    On the stew, how do burn the sugar? The browning idea sounds delicious! I’d love to try that in a bowl of lentils. I have a pantry filled with lentil bags that a friend gave me (she’d gotten them from a food pantry and realized she didn’t like lentils). Would I brown sugar in a pot and then add the lentils….and I know, I know I still need to make that Bajan seasoning! I’m bad about making lists of what to make from the blogs and then not getting around to them until weeks and weeks later.

    • latay permalink*
      June 29, 2009 5:17 pm

      Browning can be store bought I know it is not made in Barbados for sure so it has to be made somewhere else .But why buy when you can make? I will update the post with making browning shortly. I should have explained better. sorry

  2. June 29, 2009 10:13 pm

    Yummy, I am a rice & beans gorl…and that looks good.

    Concerning my 400 cookies on my blog…it took me 3 days and one day to frost the sugar cookies, pretzels and pumpkin bars and to make 3 more types of cookies. Sorry I am not close to you, I would of loved to bake them for your party…vegan style.

    Have a great week.

    • latay permalink*
      June 30, 2009 6:53 pm

      Thanks for the well wishes Millie looking forward to your new post this week. I decided on 2 basic cupcake recipes from vctow and I will make appropriate toppings. I hope to blog about this later this week.

  3. June 30, 2009 3:16 pm

    I love rice. I can consider myself an expert rice cooker. I have used pot, the traditional method. I have also used and own a rice cooker. I like both sticky rice and loose rice. I just love rice. I would like to try to make this dish and hopefully can buy the pepper.

    Love lentils too and would love to know how to make it, your method. The browning of sugar is very interesting. Do you use non-stick pan or it doesn’t matter?

    Thanks for a great post. I love your pictures.

    • latay permalink*
      June 30, 2009 6:52 pm

      Hey Debbie thanks for visiting me again.I saw you had a new post and I would get down to ur site soon. I will update the site with the lentil stew recipe but u need to get together your fresh herbs to make the Bajan seasoning. The hardest part is getting all your herbs together.If you do not have scotch bonnet in your Bajan seasoning it is ok as the flavour would still be very close.

  4. bajangyal permalink
    June 30, 2009 5:40 pm

    Hi glad to hear you are feeling better, your creole rice reminds of ‘spanish rice’ my grandmother used to make for me I don’t know the recipe she used but from the look and recipe of your rice I know the two are very similar. Maybe it was creole rice by another name…oh and so you know browning is made in Bim buy usually just by small/cottage businesses. I once worked for a company that made it and no bias but it was the nicest browning I ever had…

    • latay permalink*
      June 30, 2009 6:48 pm

      You always put me on the right path when I dish out slightly wrong info but I am glad u are here for that:). I thought it was an overseas even regional product because I did not know of any companies that made this in Barbados as I was in the industry. Was ECAF a browning maker too There is one my mom use to buy with a green cover that just says Browning at the front I will ask her to tell me who made it. My dad use to make a spanish rice with this pinkish colour when I was little but I remember it having in chicken i will see if the recipes are similar.The rice is even better the second day around. I am collecting stuff for a few giveaways and hopefully I would be able to giveaway some creole seasoning. Guadeloupe is spice capital in these parts and I even picked up one for Guacamole omg it was so good on sunday in the avocado. I have my hands full with these spices. You know Colombo curry? I picked it up there too and I find the flavour is very good.

  5. bajangyal permalink
    July 1, 2009 4:19 am

    Actually most people woudnt be aware that Browning is/was made locally. Small manufacturers find it hard to get into the bigger supermarkets and their main client base usually consists of small to medium size village shops/mini marts and restaurants.

    I believe the browning with the green label is Crosse & Blackwell, that brand is very popular home (think it is English). As for Ecaf I am not sure if they do browning but I don’t recall ever seeing any.

    Guadeloupe sounds wonderful..looking forward to seeing more pics of the delicious dishes made using your finds there.

  6. July 14, 2009 4:50 pm

    Hi Latay,

    I see that you add more pictures about browning. I was showing a friend about this blog to show him the Scott Bonnet Chili. He knows someone in Belize that make a pickle of this chili and give it to him. He forgot the name of the chili.

    Browning is a new concept to me. It’s very interesting. I have never heard it before. I wonder if it is similar to buy Kitchen Bouquet, a condiment we add to make gravy brown. People add this to meat also. I have always wondered how Kitchen Bouquet is made.

    Debbie

    • latay permalink*
      July 14, 2009 7:51 pm

      Yes you can use Kitchen Bouquet even if I am not familiar with this but I read the description of this and u can use this to save yourself a funky smelly kitchen. Yes it is very southern Caribbean and South American meaning Guyana which is referred as the Caribbean too. It gives a very beautiful sauce colour and there is something about a sauce made of browning that is very special.There was something called Bisto of Bristo that my mom use to use back in the early 90’s in her stew but it was a powder gravy mix not sure it is vegan.Oh I think they would use scotch bonnet in Belize too as it is still very Caribbean even if it is not in the Caribbean either.Are there any West Indian grocers in your neighbourhood. I was in the states a while back and I saw some fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers.

      • July 15, 2009 11:05 am

        Latay,

        It is not hard to find the fresh Scott Bonnet chilies here. There are lots of Indian markets around my house. Whole Foods market, a specialty and natural food store, here may also have it. However, I won’t be able to buy the Bajan seasoning. I searched the Internet and it seems that it has worcestershire sauce in it which usually has anchovies in it. So if I buy store bought then it will not be vegetarian/vegan. I found this recipe and many others:
        http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/413/Bajan_Seasoning_Hot_Sauce42152.shtml
        I probably can replace it with a vegan worcestershire sauce or if
        you don’t mind to share your recipe? You can email me. I don’t think I can take 4 Scott Bonnet chilies. LOL. My mouth will be on fire. By making it myself, I can control the heat.

        Cheers,

        Debbie

      • latay permalink*
        July 15, 2009 12:02 pm

        Bajan seasoning is vegan as far as I know. I have bought 4 brands in Barbados and none of them have w sauce so I am surprised to hear this is a component of Bajan seasoning. I checked your link and I have no idea who submitted this recipe for Bajan seasoning. I guess this is for a more homemade version but w sauce is not important esp since u are using it in vegan foods. Oh I did a Bajan seasoning post already it is https://caribbeanvegan.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/bajan-seasoning/. I use 2 Scotch bonnet peppers and I took out the seeds out of 1. You can throw these seeds in your garden and they grow easily . I am not doubting the w sauce but I never saw it in my household to be honest. This is a mild one which I use to buy a lot when I live in Barbados it is not as strong as the other brands http://www.delishproducts.com/products.html This is the only link I found someone selling it and the price is a little high ! http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Delish-Barbados-Bajan-Seasoning-180g-Caribbean-Spices_W0QQitemZ350205684717QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090524?IMSfp=TL090524139003r9391 You can make my version and to be honest not blowing my own trumpet this one I made for the blog was the best I ever tasted.

  7. August 21, 2009 10:54 am

    Your Creole rice sounds delicious. I love the combination of spice and peanut butter.

  8. Sarah permalink
    October 13, 2009 5:28 pm

    Hi Latay: I cooked both of these dishes tonight (well a variation of both). I couldn’t believe the amazing new tastes in each.

    Cooking the Scotch Bonnet that way was so cool. We grew our own this year as my husband luvs the heat but I’ve always been intimidated by the rumours. Somehow I managed to keep it whole in my rice & it was an absolute taste sensation.

    As for the stew: I didn’t bother with the browning & made my own version of the bajan (from looking up elsewhere to see what went in it) & added miso stock along with egg plant & vegetable stock. Again, a completely new and amazing taste.

    Thanks for going to the trouble to make this available to all of us.

    PS If you were going to recommend a holiday to the Caribean for those of us who find the perfect holiday is 50% food and 50% snorkelling from the beach where would you recommend?

    • Taymer permalink*
      October 14, 2009 12:48 pm

      hmm let me get back to u in a week i am freezing my butt off in Paris

Trackbacks

  1. Vegan Bajan Rice & Stew « Vegan In The Sun
  2. Pelau a one pot meal for the busy vegan « Vegan In The Sun

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