After a few months of being unable to eat or drink much of anything due to horrible pregnancy symptoms that I was experiencing, I was ready to have some of my favorite meals. First on the list was homemade rice and peas with barbecued cauliflower. Might I add that everyone loves a good, hearty, and sumptuous meal, and it is no different for those living a plant-based or vegan lifestyle? I, for one, do not sit around eating only raw fruits and vegetables all day, every day, and not that anything is wrong with doing that. I am from the island, and therefore I enjoy a variety of flavors and delicious cuisines. I generally incorporate similar flavors in my plant-based meals with a few adjustments.
Cauliflower has become one of the most used vegetables, I believe. It is just so much you can do with it, such as cauliflower rice, cauliflower fried chick’n (I will attach a past post of this below), cauliflower buffalo wild wings, popcorn cauliflower, and this right here barbecued cauliflower, yummy. If you imagined it, cauliflower might bring it to life deliciously and tantalizingly. I apologize for not posting a detailed recipe; I am not the best at that because I cook without measuring. I would say, “mi jus dash food in a pot and cook in my local dialect.” I can guarantee, however, that the taste is fantastic. Let’s continue.
First, I washed, cut, and soaked two medium heads of cauliflower in salt water for 30 minutes, then drained and seasoned. You can use your favorite seasons in your kitchen, For example, fresh onions, garlic, scallion, thyme, and pimento (all spices) and pepper(optional). Next, add powdered seasonings such as all-purpose, garlic, and onion. Blending all of these will allow the cauliflower to soak up the flavors nicely. Since these powdered seasons contain salt, add extra salt only if you have not achieved your desired taste. After, cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer, the better, I believe. Next, prepare your mixture, one dry and one wet. Add unsweetened almond milk, flower, and a little salt and seasoning for the wet. It should be almost like a batter when done, not too thick and not too thin. Next, mix the dry ingredients using flour, baking powder (aluminum free), salt, and powdered seasoning. Next, place a frying pan or pot with oil on the stove and allow it to be hot. Begin to coat your cauliflower by placing it in the wet mixture first, then the dry. Place in oil and fry until nicely browned. Repeat this method until you have fried all your cauliflower. Please feel free to go for it if you can pull it off with an air fryer. My air fryer is way too small, but I plan to try that method soon.
Almost there, I promised; barbequing your cauliflower is the final step—Preheat the oven to no higher than 350 degrees. Next, prepare barbeque sauce in a bowl; I like to add some ketchup, sugar, a little soy sauce, and a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) and simmer on the stovetop for a while, but this is optional. Next, dip cauliflower into barbecue sauce until completely coated, then place in baking dish. Put into oven for 5-10 minutes until you see that nice, rich barbecued color, then remove.
Rice and beans (rice and peas) are a popular dish in my Jamaican culture. You will find this in many households, especially on Sundays. And suppose you should visit any authentic Jamaican restaurant; rice and peas will be on the menu every day, whether in Jamaica or here in the United States. I wish to add also that rice and beans are said to be a complete meal by themselves. The most commonly used legumes for this meal are red bean or green, or dried gungo peas (pigeon peas). However, I used a mixture of red beans and dried gungo peas (pigeons) for this dish.
Rice and peas are not complete or satisfying unless it contains coconut milk. So, of course, I added coconut milk, fresh herbs (scallion and thyme), salt, and a bit of spice and seasoning, then taste. Generally, added to this traditional dish is a whole scotch bonnet pepper. Still, I chose not to because I suffered from heartburn during this pregnancy. Once I finished cooking the peas (you can test this by squeezing between your fingers or pressing with a fork) and was satisfied with the flavor after tasting it, I added rice and allowed it to cook on medium heat and then low heat to let it steam well.
This meal is a must try, and as my daughter would say, “it was bussing.” In other words, it was delicious and mouthwatering.
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