The default response when people ask for a vegetarian version to a dish is often “just omit the meat” but that doesn’t always yield great results because the meat itself is adding a lot of flavor to the dish. In the case of a vegetarian pelau, building flavor is a slightly more involved process but with a combination of the right aromatics, veggies and spices we can make achieve a tasty product.
For my veggie pelau I like to use more garlic and pimentos than I would usually use for a chicken or beef pelau. I also like a spice combo of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg combined with some bay leaves. We’re building a complex flavor profile so these ingredients are going to add that rich creole flavor without the Golden Ray.
6 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 cup diced pumpkin
1 cud diced carrots
1 can green pigeon peas
2 cups of rice
3 cups fresh coconut milk
1 teaspoon spice blend, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
3 Bay leaves
1 scotch Bonnet pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 sprigs of Spanish thyme
6 leaves of shadon beni
1 bundle of chives
Starting off with some oil in a pot, we going to brown the sugar until it goes frothy and dark.
Make sure to drain as much liquid as possible from your peas before adding, ideally they should be totally dry because we want the peas, spices and aromatics to saute before the addition of liquid.
Make sure the peas are well coated then add your chopped onion and saute that for one minute.
Add the spice blend and saute for 30 seconds
Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds
Add pimento, saute for 30 seconds
Add pumpkin, carrots, herbs, tomato paste and season with salt and black pepper. Saute for one minute
Add rice and combine well
Add 3 cups coconut milk
Add bay leaves and a scotch bonnet pepper then cover and allow to simmer on low to medium heat for 15 minutes.
Remove the hot pepper then add fresh herbs to finish it off.