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BENACHIN: GAMBIAN ONE-POT RICE PILAF

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BENACHIN: GAMBIAN ONE-POT RICE PILAF


Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef or mutton, cut into large cubes
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrots, cubed
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 cup squash, cubed
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 3 green chillis
  • Salt and pepper to taste
How to Make

Stage 1 - Pre-Cook Rice

  1. Start by rinsing your rice grains to clean them thoroughly, then leave the rice in a bowl of water to soak for at least 15 minutes once the water that runs through is no longer cloudy
  2. After 15 minutes, drain your rice and place into a large thick-bottomed pot
  3. Add 3 cups of water (or enough to cover the rice by 1/4 inch) and turn your pot on high heat
  4. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover it and let it simmer and cook your rice for at least 15 minutes. Don't open the pot at all during cooking!
  5. After 15 minutes, uncover your pot and set aside your pre-cooked rice for the time being

Stage 2 - Pre-Sear Meat

  1. Take your pot back over very high heat on your stove. When your pot is piping hot, add in your peanut oil
  2. Add in your cubed pieces of beef and sear the first side for a few minutes until it starts to brown - don't stir, keep the meat in place!
  3. As the meat begins to brown on the first side, turn it over
  4. As you sear the other side of your meat, add in your garlic and onions and let them cook alongside the meat until golden, continuously stir them around the meat to prevent any burning, which can yield a bitter flavor
  5. Once the other side of your meat is browned, remove your meat, onions and garlic from the pot and set aside

Stage 3 - Cook Vegetables

  1. Take your pot back over your stove at medium-high heat and add in your cubed squash (or pumpkin). Cook the squash and eggplant down for 1-2 minutes, stirring every so often
  2. Add in your green chili pepper and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Next, add in your carrots, cabbage and bay leaf. Cook around and stir for 30 seconds, then pour in your two cups of vegetable stock as well
  4. Stir in your tomatoes and tomato paste until the paste is dissolved, then increase the heat of your stove to high heat

Stage 4 - Bring Your Benachin Together

  1. As your broth comes to a boil, add your rice back in. Stir the rice vigorously to make sure the grains don't stick together and that each grain gets coated in oil and broth
  2. Continue to stir your benachin uncovered for another 5 minutes as the broth begins to evaporate a bit
  3. As you start to notice the broth levels matching up to the rice, add your meat back in and stir thoroughly for another 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce your stovetop heat to the absolute lowest setting and cover your benachin with a lid. You'll let the entire dish simmer for at least 15 minutes undisturbed (no lifting the lid to peak)
  5. After 15 minutes, turn your stovetop off and let your benachin steam for 15 more minutes inside the covered pot
  6. When you're ready to serve, uncover your pot and fluff your rice with a fork. Season your benachin to your taste, then enjoy!


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