This was a dish we enjoyed in Puerto Rico, I remember once chatting with a man fishing on the beach and asking him what are those small things you add to your rice? his wife helped out and I got a couple of cans in the grocery store, dried also work. The small things are pigeon peas also known as gandules or whole toor dal. On reading I discovered that the toor dal came to the Island via West Africa through the spice trade. The plant thrives in the warm weather and the little peas, or lentils come from a pod. In India these are mostly dried out and used to make dal, but in Puerto Rico they are used whole. They are high in protein, fiber and other nutrients.
- 2 slices of bacon (can be omitted)
- one small onion chopped
- 1/2 a green pepper chopped
- one can of pigeon pea's
- one packet of sazon Goya con culantro y achiote (I found this in my local grocery store, the important ingredient in this seasoning is the achiote. This plant is the source of the natural pigment annatto, produced from the fruit. This adds a nice red color to dishes, the pigment is also used commercially for cheeses, popcorn, bread and many other food products)
- one small tomato chopped
- 2 cups of rice
- 3 cups of water, add more as needed
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1/4 cup of chopped olives, optional
- saute the onions, bacon and garlic for about 7 minutes, add the tomato and let it reduce to a paste
- add the pigeon peas and olives
- then add the rice and the water
- turn it to a simmer for about 20 minutes with a lid until the rice is cooked.
I served the rice with salmon and salad. Its a tasty dish alone or as a side dish, it would also make a great packed lunch.
Have a great start to the week everyone