Make the Most Aromatic Rice Pilaf With Bay Leaf And Allspice

More than half of the food the average Trinbagonian eats is imported. This should come as no surprise since our twin isle’s annual food import bill is approximately $6 billion. By purchasing local, you funnel money back into our community and support its growth and sustainability for future generations. Our weekly column “In Season” features a sweet and savoury recipe for one readily-available ingredient, so you can take advantage of the vibrant bounty from farmers’ markets, local farm stands, and your own yard.

Bay leaf is the spice that quietly lends beautiful fragrance to soups and stews. The leaves are so fragrant that myrcene, a component of essential oils, is extracted from it to use in perfumes. West Indian bay leaves on the other hand are used to make the well known bay rum. Often seen dried in Trinidad, bay leaves don’t add much flavour but are perfect for lending floral and bitter notes. It works especially well in soups and stews that may get a little heavy and is commonly used to make bay leaf tea. We’ve created two recipes that let the beauty of the bay leaf’s floral notes shine. Let us know what you use bay leaf for on Facebook or Instagram!

DATE AND PECAN RICE PILAF

This nutty and aromatic rice pilaf is the perfect side dish for chicken or lamb. Bay leaves perfume the rice and coconut milk adds floral notes while dates add a sweet bite. Toasted pecans add texture and a knob of butter makes the pilaf silky and luxurious. It’s so good, you’ll probably just have it on its own.

Yields4 Servings
Cook Time25 mins
INGREDIENTS
 3 cups basmati rice
 1 ½ cups coconut milk
 ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
 1 bay leaf
 ½ teaspoon ground allspice
 ½ cup dates, chopped
 ½ cup pecans, toasted chopped
 1 tablespoon butter
 1 teaspoon salt
 Parsley for garnish
DIRECTIONS
1

Rinse and drain rice three times, or until the water runs almost clear.

2

Place rice into a medium saucepan with salt, coconut milk, turmeric, bay leaf and allspice; mix until combined.

3

Bring the rice to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer on low heat for 15 to 18 minutes.

4

When rice is finished, remove from heat. Add dates and butter and fluff the rice with a fork. Top with toasted pecans and chopped parsley.

Ingredients

 3 cups basmati rice
 1 ½ cups coconut milk
 ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
 1 bay leaf
 ½ teaspoon ground allspice
 ½ cup dates, chopped
 ½ cup pecans, toasted chopped
 1 tablespoon butter
 1 teaspoon salt
 Parsley for garnish

Directions

1

Rinse and drain rice three times, or until the water runs almost clear.

2

Place rice into a medium saucepan with salt, coconut milk, turmeric, bay leaf and allspice; mix until combined.

3

Bring the rice to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer on low heat for 15 to 18 minutes.

4

When rice is finished, remove from heat. Add dates and butter and fluff the rice with a fork. Top with toasted pecans and chopped parsley.

Date and Pecan Rice Pilaf
Chef Chelsae-Marie Lee Kong

Chef Chelsae-Marie is a die-hard ‘foodie', so the calling to be a chef felt natural to her. She prides herself on providing a customizable catering experience with local and exotic influences. She pushes new flavors and makes each offering original and memorable.

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