Rastafarian Rice Recipe | Okra Coconut Rice Recipe
Growing up, my childhood was all about logical frugality. We were comfortable- yes, but it was never about lavish living. But I was surrounded by people who were into "in-your-face" opulence. I was  (still am) a dreamer and that side of the fence was intriguing to the youthful me.  I remember the day like yesterday.  I got an opportunity to visit a five star hotel with cousins for a late night snack. The place was fanciful - just like the movies and I was awestruck. The menu arrived and I was asked to take my pick. From a simple horlicks to a club sandwich, everything was preposterously priced.  Those days Rs 100 was a big deal and here everything started at that price. The food arrived and it was fine. Was it dressed better? Yes, it looked amazing. But the substance/taste was totally not worth that kind of money in my opinion. That day was an eye opener. Suddenly, that kind of living lost its appeal.
Rastafarian Rice Recipe | Okra Coconut Rice Recipe
(Image Credit) I started disliking people for whom wealth and superficial elements communicated more than their inner self. I soon realized that I was naturally  drawn to people who spoke to me on a "person-to-person" basis.  Down the years, I have understood that this part of me overflows in all areas of my life. Including food. More than the looks, the gadgets, its popularity and the source, its the nourishing factor in the food that appeals so much to me. When I read about "Ital" - a Rastafarian concept of cooking (thanks to World Vegetarian Classics by Celia Brooks Brown), I was smitten! Their food language was all this and more. Their cuisine is naturally vegetarian and methods "green".
Rastafarian Rice Recipe | Okra Coconut Rice Recipe
This recipe from the aforementioned book adheres to their concept. A simple pilaf (rice) preparation using wholegrain rice, coconut milk and okra is minimally spiced yet flavorful. Its texture is close to creamy similar to Italian Risotto . I saw organic okra at the grocery the other day and wanted to give this recipe a try. My son who doesn't care for Okra ate it with gusto without realizing it was there!. His comment was to henceforth make this rice every time I had the inclination to feed (torture) him with okra !  :-| My new kitchen acquisition is a clay pot. In true "ital" style, I (inaugurated) it to make this rice.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, or see tips
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup germinated Brown Rice or regular rice see tips
  • 50g (2oz) Okra, stem removed and sliced
  • 1 medium Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 green Jalapeno, or any chili to taste
  • 2.5-3 cups Lite Coconut Milk, see tips
  • 100g (3.5oz) mixed Greens/ spinach, see tips
  • Himalayan Pink Salt to taste (optional)
Tips
1. Virgin Coconut Oil: This adds to the coconut flavor and hence I added it. But you can use sunflower or any neutral flavored oil of your choice.

2. Germinated Brown Rice: Its nutritious and hence I use it for wholegrain rice. But you can use any variety of rice. The best choice would be short grained brown rice since its the perfect choice for "creamy" anything!

3. Coconut Milk: Depending on the rice you are using and your preferable level of creaminess, you might need anywhere from 2.5 cups to 3 cups of milk. If you do not have the Lite (light) version, you can always use a regular coconut milk along with water.

4. Mixed Greens: I used a mix of tat soi, swiss chard, arugula and spinach for this recipe. But you can use just spinach instead.
Method
1. This can easily be made using your regular pan - stainless or cast iron with a cover :). Add coconut oil to a hot pot. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Saute until aromatic.
2. Next add the brown rice. Stir until combined.
3. The okra and the bell pepper go in next. Give it a mix and cook for few seconds.
4. Add the coconut milk and salt.
5. Cook it covered
6. in medium heat for about 10 minutes
7. or until the rice is cooked and all the coconut milk is absorbed.
8. Stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts. This takes just few seconds. Switch off heat and serve immediately.
This tastes best when served warmed preferably as soon as it is made. I served it with black beans. Any bean based stew would also work great in my opinion.
Rastafarian Rice Recipe | Okra Coconut Rice Recipe

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