West Indian Rice and Peas with Tempeh, Avocado Ahdi

by Jennifer

This dinner was part of a Caribbean-themed meal I made for our friends Jill and Bob, which began with rum punch and fried plantains, and ended with bananas foster.  It was 97 degrees today and the kids and I went to the beach (my husband stayed home with the puppy), so a cold glass of rum punch and this meal with friends was the perfect way to end it.  Both of these absolutely fantastic recipes come directly from the fabulous cookbook, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.

West Indian Rice and Peas with Tempeh – serves 4 – 6

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut
  • 2 1/2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked for at least 5 hours OR 2 cups fresh black-eyed peas
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cubed
  • generous pinch of fennel seeds (recipe calls for ground fennel seeds;  honestly, by the time I made this I was working on my second glass of rum punch and just tossed the seeds in….and it was still wonderful)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped

In a medium heavy pot, heat the 2 1/2 TBS vegetable oil over medium, then cook the rice and coconut, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the water and cinnamon stick, cover the pot and turn the heat to high.  When steam comes out from the edges of the lid, turn heat to medium-low and simmer,

without ever lifting the lid, for 40 minutes.  Discard cinnamon stick.

Meanwhile, bring another medium pot full of salted water to a boil, and

cook the peas (drain and rinse, first, if they’ve been soaking) and bay leaves until the peas are tender, about 30 minutes.

Drain and discard bay leaves.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the 1/4 cup oil, then cook the onion and garlic until the onions become soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cayenne pepper.

Stir in the red and green pepper, tempeh, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and cook, covered and stirring occasionally,

until the tempeh is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Combine everything – the rice, peas, tempeh mixture, and serve sprinkled with scallions.

Avocado Ahdi – serves 4

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 10 Spanish olives, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for serving

Combine red pepper through Tabasco in a bowl.

Slice avocados in half, discarding pit, and carefully scoop out flesh, leaving shells intact.

Finely chop avocado flesh and add it to the bowl, stirring gently to combine everything well.  Generously fill each avocado shell with the mixture, and sprinkle with cilantro.

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