I recently embarked on a culinary Sunday dinner journey around the world! For several weeks, I made one pot rice dishes from around the world. Why rice? Rice is the most common base for one pot meals around the world, so it was easier to find recipes that revolved around it. Thanks to YouTube I was able to recreate these recipes some slightly altered to suit the ingredients available locally and to suit my palate while some stayed true to their authentic selves.
So in no particular order I present to you;
This is I had heard of several times (my heart lives in the Caribbean), watched several YouTube videos on how to make it but somehow never got round to making it until now. I really liked this pelau maybe because it has coconut milk and I love anything with coconut milk in it. For me this dish felt like the offspring of Caribbean rice and peas and Latin American Arroz con Pollo/Galinhada in terms of the ingredients used. This comparison is also the reason why Arroz con Pollo/Galinhada did not make this list, because minus the sugar and coconut milk used in the Trinidadian Pelau, they are more or less the same dish (one pot chicken and rice). Several Youtubers I watched used Worcestershire sauce or browning in their versions of Trinidadian pelau (and that is absolutely ok to do) but I chose to omit them, one because I am sure their ancestors did not use these condiments and two the sugar caramelized enough to brown the dish to my satisfaction. Would I make it again? Definitely, most definitely.
Afghani Pulao/Uzbeki Pulao
This I have had once before at a previous job when an Afghani colleague brought it in for a pot luck day. So good so so good and quite easy for me to make since I already know how to cook East African Pilau which I must say is a cousin to the Afghani Pilau because they are both one pot rice and meat pilau dishes that use pilau masala. The main ingredients are meat (usually mutton from what I gathered in my research) but it is totally fine to use the meat that suits your needs or is easily available/affordable and local to you, rice, carrots and raisins. Now for this I will include the YouTube videos of the particular recipes that I borrowed from by Afghani chefs/Youtubers. I do this because while scouring YouTube for this recipe I came across so many non Afghani’s who have their own version of this recipe which is totally fine, but most of them had so many extra ingredients that were found nowhere in the videos of the Afghani chefs that I watched. One guy had like six extra ingredients, green vegetables and herbs included which did not feature in any of the Afghani recipes I watched. So I decided to stick to the natives of the dish to make it as authentic as possible. A great tip is to try and watch street videos of whatever recipe you are looking for, shot in the country of the dish’s origin; you can hardly go wrong with street recipes, hardly. I loved the sweetness of the raisins and carrots mixed with the pilau spices so good! This has become a staple. For recipes that I used click here and here.
Benachin (Gambia) Thieboudienne (Senegal)
This I have made several times over ever since I discovered it years ago, it’s my best jollof yet (sorry Nigerians and Ghanaians), I absolutely love it and is a staple for me. It’s literally the same dish with different names in Senegal and Gambia. From what I noticed on the YouTube videos I watched the Gambians tended to make the meat/chicken version and the Senegalese YouTubers I watched all made the fish version.
This was a last minute decision I originally wanted to make jambalaya which I have made before but figured I may as well make its cousin paella instead. Also the most expensive dish on this list because seafood don’t come cheap when you don’t live by the seaside and also because it calls for saffron which costs an arm, a leg and a small kidney, but thankfully we are allowed to substitute so I used turmeric instead of saffron to give it its bright colour. I actually used a street vendor’s recipe from a documentary on Spain and its culture I just happened to be watching, which if I am being honest contributed to my decision to go for Paella instead of jambalaya. Besides I am currently learning Spanish so it just made sense to go with paella instead.
This is native to me, well by way of Indian/Persian migrants but we adopted it in East Africa and made it our own. A staple at any Kenyan/East African event be it weddings, funerals, birthday parties etc you name it there will definitely be pilau on the menu. This dish had to be included because well as you know charity begins at home and what not.
My Special Loaded Veggie Mix
My Special Loaded Veggie Mix
This is a bonus addition for all my vegetarians out there. It's a mix of cauliflower, broccoli, corn, beans, carrots, onions, yellow and red bell peppers sautéed with some garam masala, steamed and then the preboiled rice added last.
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