On our recent trip to Turks and Caicos I was keen to pick up a local recipe. We found most of the food in the restaurants geared towards tourists and very American in style and had to really ask around for local food. But if you really look all countries have local food cultures and dishes locals are proud of. One of these is rice and peas, you will find this recipe throughout the Caribbean I have made the Puerto Rican version Arroz con granules.
The peas aren't really peas as we know them but pigeon peas or toor dal to Indian's in Indian cuisine these are dried and commonly used to make dal.
In the Caribbean you typically find them in cans and they often even have a recipe on the back.
This version is cooked in coconut milk and has a lovely rich tropical flavor to it. I got the recipe from a cashier in a small local grocery store. Seafood is abundant on the island so fresh fish would often be eaten with rice and peas.
- One can of peas in coconut milk
- 1/2 a red onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- salt about 1/4 teaspoon
- pepper to taste
- one cup of uncooked rice
- saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for about 7 minutes
- then add a cup of rice (I used Jasmine)
- add the can of peas in coconut milk (if you can't find these you can find pigeon peas in the Latino section of most grocery stores and buy coconut milk separately)
- add about a cup of water not much is need as the coconut milk is already present.
- add salt and pepper
- turn the heat to a simmer add a lid and boil for about 20 minutes.
- check from time to time to see it its done.
- I ate this with sauteed spinach cooked with salt, pepper and garlic in olive oil, pan fried fish with jerk seasoning and seasonal citrus.
a cute local store along the North of the Island
This is a local seafood stand along a highway, we asked locals where they got fresh fish. A fisherman literally catches it in the day and then cleans and sells by the side of the road in the evening. Now that's fresh and tasty.
We got a couple of snapper that we roasted on the grill at the hotel where we stayed we ate this with rice and peas on Christmas day, a fun Christmas and one we will surely remember.
One of Turks and Caicos famous foods is Conch a big shell fish and one you will recognize from its pretty shell. This fisherman has just caught these of the beach at Bugaloo's a local seafood restaurant. He kindly demonstrated how he extracts the conch from the shell. Conch appears on menu's as chowder, fried fritter and ceviche.
the wee man was fascinated
Hope you enjoy this simple rice dish a taste of the Islands :-)