One Pot Meals: Jamaican Seasoned Rice Recipe With Ackee
In Jamaica, we have several one-pot wonders, and this is one of them. The seasoned rice is an easy alternative to making two or three dishes to make up a meal. The good thing with one-pot meals is that there are not many rules, and you can change and modify to suit your own taste. The only rule you need to consider is the main ingredient(s) that will make or break your meal.
In this dish, I will be using ackees because they are in season; however, you can omit the ackee if you can't get ahold of any. I suggest using pumpkin instead of ackees if you prefer, but I guarantee the flavor will be different.
Ackee has a unique taste like nothing else, so a seasoned rice made with it will also have a unique flavor that is significantly different from pumpkin.
I want to let my readers know that the use of the whole scotch bonnet pepper does not make the food spicy. The heat only happens when you break or cut the pepper. Using a whole pepper in the pot will only give a seasoning flavor and no heat.
If You Want Ackee but Can't Find It
- 6 cups coconut milk
- 3 cups uncooked ackees or, the equivalent from a can
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 3 - 4 oz salted cod fish
- 1/2 teaspoon pimento seeds
- 2 stalks scallion, chopped
- 5 -6 garlic cloves, smashed or chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- 1 bunch fresh thyme, or 1 tbsps dried thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 lbs brown rice
- On a medium flame, in a large pot, dutch oven, or your favorite rice pot, put on your coconut milk.
- Rinse excess salt from the codfish, and peel the scale-side skin off the fish or scrape the scales off. Dice your codfish taking care to remove bones.
- Add carrots, pimento seeds, salted codfish, and garlic, and then bring to a boil.
- When coconut milk starts to boil, add ackee, scallion, scotch bonnet, and cover.
- When ackees are tender, taste then adjust salt and add black pepper.
- Rinse and drain your brown rice and then add to pot. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce flames to medium-low or low and let simmer until liquid has evaporated.
- Bring flames to very low, and let rice finish cooking in its steam. You will know when rice is ready when the brown rice grains are split open and tender.
- A fork inserted in the center of the rice should also come out dry.
- When rice is done, fluff and serve with a salad.
About Jamaican One-Pot Meals
One-pot meals became popular when the poorer class did not have much so they would fetch a coconut and put all they had to cook in it. In some cases you will get:
- a nice pepper pot soup,
- a coconut stew with dumplings, taro, bananas, yams, and so forth,
- polenta, known as "turn cornmeal" in Jamaica, so called because you have to keep turning it over for it to cook throughout, or
- the seasoned rice that is very popular and easy to make. Just throw in your ingredients and forget it.
Seasoned Rice Variations
Doing your one-pot Jamaican-style is easy. The only rule to remember is that all Jamaican one-pot meals contain coconut milk! So here are the variations:
- Plain bleached
- Sweet peppers
- Corn kernels
- Sweet peas
- Calalloo (the Jamaican spinach)
- Pumpkin (really a fruit)
- Jerk pork
- Roast pork
- Roast beef
- Smoked chicken
- Grilled chicken
- Jerk chicken
- Smoked turkey
- Smoked sausages
It is best to use precooked meats. Don't use processed meats like spam or frankfurters. The sausages must be good and real. You can also try ground beef that has been browned properly.