Vegan Bajan Rice & Stew
Every island has a rice and pea recipe or rice and bean recipe. In Barbados we only use certain peas in our cuisine and today I will highlight the Pigeon Pea. Rice and Stew is a street food and is also a component in Barbadian Sunday and Christmas lunch. The stew is sadly a beef stew and the rice is made with pigeon peas and cooked with a bouquet garni and Scotch Bonnet (habenero). The salad usually served with this dish is an easy coleslaw. Usually rice and stew is serve with Macaroni pie. What a carb overload huh?
Pigeon Peas aka Green Peas
We usually make our rice with pigeon peas and this is where it starts to get complicated. You can make three versions of this rice by using the fresh, frozen and dried variety. Usually in the year pigeon peas are not plentiful so many home cooks buy dry pigeon peas and soak it on Saturday night for lunch on Sunday morning. During the month of December all the pigeon pea trees are bountiful and the rice dish taste different because you are using fresh pigeon peas. Fresh pigeon peas are bright green and turn brown after cooking. If someone does not get this fresh pigeon pea rice on Christmas, Christmas is virtually ruined for them. Within recent times there was the introduction of frozen pigeon peas has saved Christmas for many especially when most vendors we call them hawkers ( yes I know is sounds bad) are out of pigeon peas. Fresh pigeon peas are coveted sometimes and many people hoard them for their friends and sometimes the price goes up when there is a scarcity of this pea. The canned pigeon peas caused a stir in Barbados in the past as many people did not like the idea of using the canned version in their special Sunday rice.The canned pigeon peas are dirt cheap so I used it today because I know it would be easier for people overseas to find this version of the pigeon pea.The canned version in my opinion is the least authentic taste but it is not bad so do not be afraid to used the canned version. The next best bet is the dried variety but this tends to turn your rice pink but that’s ok.
This was the first time I “marinated” my Textured Vegetable Protein overnight because a good friend tipped me off about the enhancement in flavour especially for the beef stew. I almost never do this because I do not taste the difference but I take advice and it worked out good too. I did not marinate in a liquid per say. What I did was hydrate the TVPso that no excess water was left. You do not want your TVP soaking in non tasting water or broth because it is like sponge and it will be very watery. You want your sauce to take up that space inside. I covered the chunks with 2 tbs of Bajan seasoning and 1 tbs of Marmite. I left it overnight with the wet rub on the chunks. I used my home made browning to enhance the colour of the stew and I stirred in a tsp of cornstarch right at the end of cooking and let it simmer for 2 mins. This stew was slow cooked. I know I may get some raised eyebrows because come on it is TVP not a piece of meat. Slow cooking this stew made the difference and the flavours were enhanced. I never liked Rice and Stew because the smell of beef use to make me nauseated so I always avoided this dish. I really like it now I am vegan and it taste just like the real thing sans that nauseating fatty smell.
The rice used is a short grain rice. I did not have short grain rice on hand so I used basmati.I sauteed some onions and whole cloves of garlic with a bouquet garni of marjoram and thyme with the peas. I seasoned the peas and then added the rice and water and cooked. As usual in most Bajan Rice dishes I dropped in a whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper in the pot for added flavour. In the pic I know you are not seeing many peas but I used can of peas.
Is regular coleslaw nothing fancy but this is what ties this dish together and should not be left out when making this traditional dish.
Like this dish and want the recipe? Just leave a comment telling me you want the recipe or send me an e mail and I would gladly send it to you asap.
Well that is it folks have a great weekend.
Update: Another bread post is available now and it is a Molasses Whole wheat Loaf with an Agave Sweetened Crust.