Neither Amir nor I have met Leah in person, but she is someone from the Twitterverse who talks about food as much as us. Through her tweets, she posts photos of everything she cooks, as well as links to recipes and other interesting culinary tidbits. After a while, she and I connected via Facebook, and we were super close to meeting up when I spent a week in Miami this past December, but unfortunately that fell through. For now, we maintain a virtual link, and perhaps one day, we’ll meet in real life. Looking at all of the food photos she posts on a daily basis, it was a no brainer to have her share a recipe for this month’s Guest Test Kitchen feature. Thanks to Leah, we now have our first Haitian recipe in the database!
“I love to eat and cook food from all over the world and I often frequent a takeout Haitian restaurant called Chez Guyto in Miramar, FL. It’s the best! Haitians are known for their delicious djon djon (black rice), griot (fried pork shoulder chunks) and pikliz (spicy pickled cabbage). One day I was talking about Haitian food with my one of my coworkers–how good their food was and how it’s underrated. Now my coworker happens to be of Haitian decent, so I just had to find out how she prepares certain dishes and how to get that special flavor that I often taste in the cuisine.
I looked at quite a few online videos and quickly decided that black rice will not be my first attempt (baby steps), however this is another Haitian rice and beans recipe, which is just as good. I told my coworker that I would make the dish, and I wanted constructive criticism. I took notes from my coworker and combined them all together with tips from online videos and recipes. Let’s just say that she was very pleased, and I believe shocked! HA!”
Diri Kole Ak Pois Rouge (Haitian Red Beans & Rice) – Serves 8
1 cup dried red beans (You must use dried red beans)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1 Maggi or Madam GouGousse Chicken Flavor Boullion Cube, crushed
2 cups long grain or jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
5 whole cloves
2 or 3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 scotch bonnet pepper or habanero pepper, whole
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Rinse and soak beans overnight in bowl filled with water. Be sure to discard any broken or bruised beans. In the morning, drain beans and set aside to cook.
Put beans to boil in a medium sized saucepan filled with 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45-60 minutes. Be sure to watch the water. If the water reduces and the beans are not yet edible, add more water. Make sure to add enough water because you will use the same water to cook the rice. Once the beans are soft and edible they are ready. Strain, but do not discard the water.
Over medium high flame, heat about 2 tablespoons oil with the chopped onion, garlic, green peppers and crushed chicken bouillon cube for a few minutes.* Then, add the drained beans and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Now add the cloves and about 4 cups of the reserved bean water. If you need more water to get the correct measurements, use a bit of fresh water. Add the parsley, thyme, bay leaves and whole pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the rice to the pot and bring to a boil. Give it a quick stir, then cover with foil and reduce to a simmer. Do NOT stir your rice while cooking. This will make the rice mushy.
After about 20 minutes (according to your rice instructions), the rice should be ready. Remove the foil and carefully check the bottom to make sure all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, and carefully remove the parsley and thyme stems and whole pepper.
Cover the rice again, and allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.
*Note: Using a food processor, you can blend the onion, garlic, green peppers, parsley, thyme (leaves only) and a little water to make a green seasoning paste that Haitians call epis. Heat this green mixture in the pan with the vegetable oil and cooked beans, then proceed with the recipe as directed above.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.