Coconut Pumpkin Rice is a hearty side dish is often served with Jamaican main dishes such as brown stew chicken, curry or even steamed fish. However, it also goes well with non-Jamaican dishes such as steak or fried chicken. In this dish the pumpkin is first mixed with sautéed onions and garlic. Thyme and spring onion are then added to the mix – this thyme and spring onion combination is quite synonymous of Jamaican cuisine. The mixture is then stewed in coconut milk until the pumpkin is tender, before being mashed. Finally rice is added which is cooked in the remaining liquid. The result is a fluffy orange rice, which has a little sweetness due to the pumpkin and the coconut milk, but is also savoury at the same time due to the thyme and spring onion. The flavour is absolutely superb!
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Now, this is an easy dish to prepare, but in the final stage getting the correct amount of liquid for the rice to cook can be a little tricky. So just be a vigilant here as you don’t want the rice to be soggy, or on the flip side, burnt. The idea is to cook the rice until the liquid is absorbed. Resist the urge to stir at this point!
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Jamaican Coconut Pumpkin Rice Recipe
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 – 40 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- half a medium onion finely chopped
- 2 spring onions – finely chop the white part and cut the green stalks in half
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 230 g pumpkin diced into approximately 1 cm cubes
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 200 ml coconut milk, about half a can (I use Dunn’s River Coconut Milk)
- 195 g basmati rice rinsed well (I use Tilda Pure Basmati Rice)
- salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and on a medium heat sauté the onions and the white part of the spring onion until soft.
- Add the garlic, pumpkin, thyme, ground black pepper and the spring onion stalks and mix well.
- Add the coconut milk and simmer gently with the lid on for around 20 – 25 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
- Remove from the hob and remove the spring onion stalks and the thyme sprigs. Use a potato masher to mash the pumpkin in the coconut milk.
- Add the rice and stir. The coconut milk should completely cover the rice, if not then add a little water such that the level of the liquid is about 1 cm above the level of the rice.
- Return to the heat, bring to a gentle simmer. Put the lid on the saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until the rice is cooked. Try not to stir it until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. If you get to a point where you feel the rice is cooked but there is still too much liquid then remove the lid.
- Season with salt to taste.
- You can substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash if pumpkin is not in season.