Coconut Rice is a soulful one-pot meal that is healthy and satisfying. The chopped peppers, onion, celery, cilantro, and thyme create a natural seasoning unlike anything you could buy. Bahamian cooking starts in the garden with fresh ingredients.
This authentic Bahamian recipe uses coconut cream to give it its intense coconut flavor. If you can't find coconut cream, use coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil for cooking the vegetables. It will not be as potent, but it contributes a coconut aroma.
1 cup kidney beans
2 cups long grain rice, well rinsed
½ green bell pepper, seeded, small dice
½ red bell pepper, seeded, small dice
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded, small dice
½ white onion, small dice
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped and pureed, or 2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 handful cilantro, stems and leaves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme leaves
¼ cup coconut cream (from an Island grocer)
The night before, cover the beans with ample water and soak at room temperature. The next day, drain the beans of their soaking liquid, place in a large pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for an hour or so, or until the beans are soft and tender.
Meanwhile, chop up the vegetables and combine in a bowl (not the tomato puree).
Heat up some vegetable oil in another pot and add the vegetables. Sweat the vegetables in the oil until soft and translucent.
Add the tomato puree and continue to cook. Next, add the coconut cream and the herbs and let the flavors meld for a few minutes. Pour in the beans with their cooking liquid and bring to a boil.
Tip in the rice and bring to a boil again. Cover and simmer until cooked through, about 1 hour.
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