Good black beans and yellow rice recipe?
March 30, 2006 11:03 PM   Subscribe

Good black beans and yellow rice recipe? It's a little hole in the wall at the NW corner of Broadway and Broome but it's heaven to me.

For the four years I lived in New York City, Brisas del Caribe was my favorite place for lunch. Period. The black beans and yellow rice is the best I've ever had. That and a Dr. Pepper only set me back five bucks.

Now I live in Austin. And even though I go back to Brisas del Caribe every time I'm in New York, it's not enough. I want to replicate the magic in my very own kitchen. Does anyone know of a beans and rice recipe that comes close to theirs?
posted by sonnet to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, if you send me a nice big sample FED EX, I'll try to help you out.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 11:26 PM on March 30, 2006

You might try describing the dish in a little more detail.

The biggest generic tip for something like this is to use stock. Chicken, veal, hamhock, whatever.

A large amount of rendered animal fat will also contribute a negligible improvement in taste, but I've heard rumors of possible "health concerns". Whatever the hell that means.
posted by stavrogin at 12:33 AM on March 31, 2006

Never been there, but you might try making the rice with coconut milk. It's often in caribbean-style rice.
posted by salvia at 12:52 AM on March 31, 2006

I've never eaten at Brisas del Caribe (or been to New York, for that matter), but you could try starting with this dish from Dorinda Hafner's "Dorianda's Taste of the Caribbean". From what I've googled, Brisas del Caribe is a small Domincan restaurant, and Dorinda says she created this to remind herself of a memorable meal she once had in a tiny restaurant in Roseau in Dominica.

Rice and Black-eyed Peas with a Difference
from Dorinda Hafner's "Dorianda's Taste of the Caribbean", p130.

8 oz black-eyed peas (beans)
Salt for seasoning
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 lb long-grain jasmine rice
1 cup coconut milk

Soak the peas overnight in water to cover. The next day, rinse the peas under cold running water and drain. Place the peas in a big saucepan with about 3 cups of water and the salt and bring to a boil, uncovered. Once the peas start to boil, add 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Let the peas boil for about 15-20 mins, until they begin to soften but retain their shape. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain off the cooking water and save it.

Put the rice in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, and add the drained peas, the reserved cooking water, the coconut milk, the remaining baking soda and sugar, and a pinch of salt.

If cooking in a saucepan, stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook over a low heat until all the water is absorbed and the rice and peas are cooked and soft, about 20 mins. If the water is gone before the rice is cooked, add about another 1/2 cup of water.

If cooking in a microwave, once you have added the baking soda, sugar and salt to the rice and peas, cover, place the microwave dish in the middle of the oven and cook on High for about 25 mins.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Now, it sounds as though your particular restaurant makes their rice yellow. Browsing for Carribean ingredients online reveals that Vigo Yellow Rice is a popular ingredient; it's a Spanish rice, complete with saffron for colour. You could try using that instead of basmati rice (or just buy their premade black beans and rice and forget the recipe altogether). If you can't find it locally, try adding a pinch of saffron to the rice, or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of turmeric.

It sure sounds tasty. I'd make this tomorrow, except the saturated fat in the coconut milk would kill me.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:09 AM on March 31, 2006

The secret ingredient may be MSG. I've noticed a lot of Spanish, Caribbean, and Indian seasoning mixes and pre-seasoned items (such as the rice obiwanwasabi linked above) contain it. My impression is that pretty often, when you get that "My god, how did they make this so tasty?" effect in lower-end ethnic restaurants, the answer is MSG. It's that mysterious umami flavor...
posted by staggernation at 5:41 AM on March 31, 2006

I am sure people use recipes for this stuff, but in general you fry in a bit of olive oil some spices like garlic, onion, peppers (lots of nice hot peppers), (turmeric or saffron for the yellowing of the rice), perhaps a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, and tomatoes or other veggies if you like, then add the rice, beans and enough stock to prepare to rice (about twice as much by volume). I like to add a bayleaf and some parsley with the stock, but there are so many variations. If you want it just like the restaurant made it why not write and ask for their recipe?
posted by caddis at 6:57 AM on March 31, 2006

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