Christmas Rice is a remarkable dish, but what makes a dish special? Is it some special ingredient that complements all others and pushes flavour to the edge? Or is it some special technique? To me, it’s simply the human element that makes the difference. Nothing special, just the “you” ingredient in a recipe.That’s the hidden part in any recipe that comes to play every time you step into the kitchen ready to cook. And it’s no different for chefs worldwide.
Creativity and Cooking
Given the same ingredients, different chefs will come up with mouthwatering dishes all based on their experience, training, background, personal tastes, geographical location, creativity and most importantly, personal outlook on life.
Yeah, I know that last one supposedly has nothing closely related to cooking, but I believe it counts not only in cooking but in everything we do. If you’re a positive thinker, nothing that comes in your way will phase you. You’ll be ready for anything; if a situation presents itself you will be able to think on your feet and overcome your obstacles.
By now you may be wondering what does all of this have to do with Christmas Rice. I’ll tell you. When faced with new dishes, to me it’s a welcomed challenge, experiment and, most of all, a fun adventure.Â I try to envision what the dish should represent from a personal point of view and, to me, my Christmas Rice should reflect our culture around Christmas time: festive, colourful, and flavourful. This is the human element coming to play. Someone else may have a different idea on how they feel their Christmas Rice recipe should be and that’s OK as well.
Christmas Rice: Reflecting Trini Culture
So how do I bring about festive, colour and flavour to reflect our Trini culture all in one dish? Be innovative with the ingredients you have around you …So let’s see what I did……For that festive feel, I used raisins; for that trini flavour, I used a combination of pimento peppers, thyme and ginger…. And for colour, red and green sweet peppers did the trick. These ingredients seemed to balance the flavours very well……I wanted to use Chadon Beni but it would have overpowered all the other subtle flavours in this dish.
For the pepper mouths like myself I could have added a bit of pepper flakes or pepper sauce but it’s optional… I do think of the people who are going to eat my meals and so have tempered down on the pepper lol!! Human element again at play [the "you" factor]… A lot of thought do go into cooking at times
Anyhow, here’s Christmas Rice a la Trini
Christmas Rice Recipe
1 cup rice
1 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet pepper (green), chopped
1 medium sweet pepper (red), chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 sprig celery, chopped finely
2 sprigs fine leaf thyme, chopped finely
1/3 cup raisins
2 tbsp butter
Salt to taste
Note: Try not to overcook the sweet pepper because they would lose some of their vibrant colour.
So you see how because of the human element I was able to take an idea and create a Christmas Rice recipe from a trini point of view.
Now, I would like to know about your opinion on this recipe. You can leave your comments below. Of course more recipes to come.
What’s your take on Christmas Rice?