Surinamese Mixed Rice (Moksi Alesi)

Way back in 1998 I participated in an international vegan mailing list where a member contributed this recipe. I’m pretty sure that I have never eaten an “authentic” version of Surinamese mixed rice, but even if it isn’t the real thing, I think it is fairly easy, tasty and unusual.

This is her recipe and her explanation. The author’s comments about “forbidden” foods refer to her original version of this dish (she didn’t supply the original recipe), which must have contained non-vegan ingredients.

The original post:
Surinam has a very mixed population and thus a very varied kitchen. In daily life we eat “Surinamese” (=Afro-Surinamese), Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and since one year or so American food (Mc Donald, KFC and PizzaHut) as well…

I adapted a recipe that has its roots in the Afro-Surinamese kitchen, but now is appreciated by all inhabitants. I had to do a lot of adapting, for in the original recipe all what is forbidden in our opionon is used! I cook this recipe as a sundays meal.

The aim is that you make a gravy in which you cook rice, split beans and vegetables. In the end the rice is dry AND tasty. I cook from 1 to 5 on the stove. Then I put sauce and rice in the rice cooker, but perhaps it is for a start easier to finisch the cooking on the stove.

The recipe is not too easy to cook in the beginning. You have to develop the feeling how much gravy you need for your amount of rice. But keep trying, for in the end this recipe will be a favourite, espcially if you have to cook for a party.

1 pound brown rice
1/3 pound yellow split beans
1 1/2 pint of water (or a bit more or a bit less…)
1 big onion, in small pieces
1 tomato
2 spoons of tomato paste
1 hot pepper
1 vegan bouillon cube (optional, but it adds to the “Surinamese” taste)
1 cup cubed pumpkin
1 cup white cabbage, coarse cut
salt (optional)
black pepper (a lot!)

1. Cook the yellow split beans half done. Throw the cook water away.
2. Simmer the onion a few minutes, add the small cut tomatoe and the bouillon cube, simmer about five minutes. Add, if neccesary a bit of water.
3. Add the half cooked split beans and the tomato paste. Add the water. Stir, and simmer another five minutes.
4. Add the pumpkin and cook till pumpkin is half done.
5. Taste the sauce. Add black pepper. The sauce should taste rather strong.
6. Add the drained rice. The sauce level should be a phalanx above the rice. If necessary, add some water. Taste the gravy again! Stir, let the sauce cook, and put cabbage and hot pepper on top, and put the pot on the lowest possible gas. (The pepper gives a special flavour)
7. Simmer for about half an hour. Taste if the rice is nearly done. Sprinkle if necessary a bit of HOT water over the rice and cook another five minutes. Take the hot pepper out of the pot and stir the cabbage carefully – with a fork – through the rice. Put the pepper back.
8. Simmer for another five minutes. The rice should be dry and tasty.
9. Take the pot of the stove, take the lid of the pot and leave the rice five minutes untouched.
10. Cut the hot pepper in very small pieces (with a fork and knife, so that you don’t burn your hands.)
11. Serve with cucumber, onions and tomatoes in vinegar.

Succes and have a good meal.

Myrna Laret
Paramaribo, Surinam

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