As seen on BLACK FOODIE WEEK!
It’s the most quintessential Bahamian dish, a rice so flavourful, “you’ll want to eat the spoon!” Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas (2,300 square miles), known as “The Land of Crabs.” It’s home of the annual crab festival and the birthplace of my grandmother, she made it best with the addition of coconut oil, earthy pigeon peas and salted beef.
1 cup (250 mL) boneless salted beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb (500 g) land crab biters (pinchers), legs and body
rinsed and blanched
¼ cup (60 mL) Caribbean coconut oil
¼ piece onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
¼ each green and red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
¼ cup (60 mL) crab mustard (aka crab’s fat distracted from body)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp (15 mL) dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) browning
1 cup (250 mL) canned pigeon peas, rinsed
4 cups (1 L) long-grain white rice, rinsed
2 Tbsp (30 mL) IG seasoned salt mix (see recipe)
2 ½ cups (750 mL) water, heated
3 sprigs of thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1. In a 1-quart (1 L) saucepan, add beef with water to cover over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Extract the crab’s mustard (or yellow fat) by separating the back from the body and
removing it with a spoon. Set aside in a small dish.
3. In a 4-quart (4 L) wide-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, bell
peppers, and cook for 3 minutes, add garlic cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
4. Add paste, crab’s mustard (or fat), stir and cook for 1 minute. Add beef, cook
1-2minutes, thyme, sugar, stir to dissolve.
5. Add browning, peas, crab, stir and cook 3 minutes. Increase heat to high, add rice, salt, and continue stirring for 3 minutes to toast the rice.
6. Add hot water to cover by ½ inch, add thyme sprigs, bay leaf, reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until water evaporates and rice is cooked (not grainy). Fluff with a fork and serve at once with coleslaw and fried plantains.
Tip: If you don’t reside in the Caribbean, purchase frozen land crabs at West Indian supermarkets.