I really love caribbean food. The flavours pack a real punch and always taste so fresh. I’m lucky enough to have a caribbean stall at my local market and the friendly lady there always has everything I need to whip up a proper jerk with all the trimmings. Scotch bonnets are key to this recipe, but if you can’t find them, just use the hottest chili you can get your hands on. Scotch bonnet peppers are an excellent source of phytochemicals and vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), iron, vitamin B, carotenoids, niacin, riboflavin, dietary fiber, flavonoids and magnesium. They also contain capsaicin, which is not only a powerful pain killer, but is also said to reduce the build up of excess fat.
The spice of a scotch adds a fruity heat that you won’t find in a regular chili, so it’s worth hunting them down. I actually made this dish with some jerk carrots and courgette, but I ate them all before I had chance to snap them! I’ll save that for another recipe though. This was a delicious, yet simple lunch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, I’d love to hear what you think if you try it!
Recipe (serves two as a main, or three as a light lunch)
Rice and peas –
- 100g basmati rice
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
- 2 large thyme sprigs
- 2 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 x 400g can of kidney beans, drained
- 1 small handful of fresh parsley
Spicy plantains –
- 2 large plantains, sliced in half and then half again (see picture)
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 scotch bonnet, chopped finely (seeds in if you want the extra heat)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Rinse the rice in plenty of cold water, then tip it into a large saucepan with all the remaining ingredients except the kidney beans. Season with salt, add 150ml cold water and bring to the boil. Turn it down to a medium heat, cover and cook for 10 mins.
- Quickly add the beans to the rice (just tip the can on top), then cover with a lid. Leave off the heat for 10 mins until all the liquid is absorbed.
- While you’re waiting for the rice, make your spicy plantain. Heat up coconut oil in a skillet or frying pan. When it’s nice and hot (but not smoking) add the plantain and cook lightly on each side for about 4 mins (8 mins in total). When the plantain is golden brown on both sides, add the chopped scotch bonnet and minced garlic and cook briefly for another two minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
- Fluff up your rice with a fork and serve up with your fried plantain. Garnish with more spring onion and the fresh parsley.