Seasoned Rice with Ackee



Seasoned Rice with AckeeFor a while, my grandmother has been feinding for Seasoned Rice. At times, she would indirectly suggest her wants or desires. Her favorite comment is, “yu know a long time mi nuh eat ____” (and she fills in the blank). I too have been wanting to cook Seasoned Rice but I always seem to forget, until I return home from the supermarket.  For some strange reason,  I haven’t been mindful enough to record it on my grocery list.  This is one of those fabulous one skillet meal, which in my opinion, if I omit any of the ingredients, it just won’t be perfect.

Can you believe that after several trips to the supermarket, I still forgot the shrimp? This dish is generally prepared with dried shrimp. I said, “to hell with it” and opted for some fresh shrimp, which I almost always have in my freezer.

My grandma sat in the kitchen the entire time, (anchoring off my food). She was there from beginning to the end. This is what she normally does when she really really wants something, and thinks she has to oversee, delegate, and coach (as if I don’t know how to cook). She never missed a beat. Then she would chime in, “Yuh add thyme? Don’t tek out di thyme stem. Put everybody in the pot, shrimp and everybody. It needs to have the flavor of everything. Don’t stir the rice with a spoon, use the tall fork.”  And I’m going, “can you get out of the kitchen already. Everything is in the pot, thyme stem and everybody.” She wasn’t trying to hear me, and she didn’t move until it was perfectly executed. Matter of fact, she was the first one that ate.

Seasoned Rice as we Jamaicans refer to it, is a one pot/skillet meal. (This amazing recipe included in my cookbook). There is no specific way to prepare seasoned rice. All the ingredients are cooked in one pot. Not all at the same time. They are gradually added.  In my grandma’s own words: “put everybody in the pot.” This ensures that the rice assumes all the flavors. The salted pig tails adds just the right amount of saltiness. Shrimp is generally rubbery when cooked for too long, but not in this case. It is also added with the other ingredients and steamed right along with the rice.

I used a dutch pot to cook this meal. It distributes the heat evenly and makes an excellent pot of rice. This was divinely d’luscious resulting in no left overs. Thank God I had filled a bowl for myself. My husband kinda looked at me crazy and asked, “rice in a bowl?” I responded, “Yes, I am chinese today!”


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