Monday, 5 July 2010

Monday is Red beans ‘n rice day

Over the years, I have come across a number of Creole recipes, but have always erred on the side of caution. From a very young age, I became aware of how some 'ethnic' cuisines can be misconstrued or misrepresented to suit the taste buds and perceptions of the host community. Saucy pasta dishes, doughy pizza bases and fiery curries. For example, in the U.K, a curry night out for the modern lad or ladette sometimes comprises of eating an Indian style curry so hot it burns the roof of your mouth. No self-respecting South Asian family would touch such a dish, let alone eat it. Food should be about flavour.

So understandably I had reservations towards some of the Creole recipes and if they truly reflected Creole cuisine in New Orleans, Louisiana. This perception was also reinforced whilst reading an article on-line a few years ago, that Creole dishes were being misrepresented by some cooks and restaurants, to the extent that it had become wrongly synonymous with blackened grilled fish and hot mouth burning food.

One thing I knew about Creole food was that the dishes were highly seasoned with some sort of pepper, but not overly as the flavour of the main component whether meat, seafood or vegetables should come through. I like the sound of the flavours of Creole cuisine, but with no plans to visit New Orleans in the near future I decided to do a little background research for my own benefit. Not just in relation to food, but also its history, cultural heritage as well as learning the difference between Creole and Cajun.
Anyway, back to Creole dishes, the most well known are Jambalaya, Gumbo and Red beans ‘n rice. Each has a long history and story to tell, but I will share with you one. Traditionally, rice ‘n red beans were made on Mondays, namely because Mondays were wash days and women could wash clothes while they let a pot of beans simmer away. Although this Monday tradition is no longer adhered to, Red beans ‘n rice remains a popular dish for large gatherings and celebrations such as Mardi Gras.
Well guess what today is Monday, and guess what I'm showcasing 'Creole style red beans ‘n rice with avocado and kiwi salsa'. Yes I know it is hardly authentic, but get real, do you think me being where I am - Scotland – that I am going to get to sample an authentic Creole dish. Of course not! But in my mind I am content in the knowledge that I am a little wiser as to what real Creole food should be like and that is what i will expect should I ever sojourn to Louisiana, so for now this is a good compromise.
Creole style Rice ‘n beans with Avocado and kiwi salsa
Serves 4
150g long grain brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chili, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Cajun spice (see below for recipe)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
3 tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of tomato, blitzed or 200ml passata
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the rice and set aside.
Fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chilli and Cajun spice mix and stir fry until fragrant. Then add the peppers and fry for until the peppers are just tender.
Drain and rinse the beans and add these, together with the tomatoes, passata, lemon juice and herbs and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, heat through and season to taste.
Avocado and Kiwi Salsa
1 avocado
1 kiwi fruit
4 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful of coriander, chopped
Juice from ½ lime
For the salsa
Peel the avocado and kiwi fruit and cut both into small cubes. Then mix all the ingredients together and serve at once, as the avocado will discolour.
Cajun spice mix
Makes about 2 - 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground fennel
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Combine all the ingredients below. Store in an airtight container. Recipe adapted from this book from which I have already been inspired to cook.


  1. I love the avocado and kiwi salsa idea! What a pretty green color!

  2. Lovely dish, so healthy. What a creative idea to pair kiwis with avocados, sounds delicious!

  3. Scottish Creole sounds quite delicious. Love the picture of the kiwi and avocado.

  4. Thanks Mangocheeks, for a very engaging post (not unusual on your blog, I have to add:)

    The beans and rice sound pretty darn good...and kiwi and avocado salad? Sheer brilliance...fabulous's on my short list of recipes to make!

  5. It doesn't matter if you made your own version of this dish. It sounds really good. I've had Jamaican red beans and rice, which sounds like it would be quite similar to what you made

  6. THis looks awesome!I love readint this post as well!

  7. I just love the bold colours in those photos and your lime bowl is gorgeous. I confess to not knowing much about creole food either but rice and beans is great in any culture

    What sort of paprika do you use (we have sweet, hot and smoked here)?

  8. We love red beans and rice!

  9. Thanks Rose.
    Apologies for the occasional sarcasm that comes through my blog. But i feel I must share these observations.

    So glad you like the look of these beans and rice and the salsa!


    Thanks Carissa,
    It was good, but the lime was just a tad sharp.

    Thank you Nadia.

    Thank you so much Morgan.

  11. Thanks CityHippyFarmGirl.
    Mmm Scottish Creole - I'll have to think about that one.

  12. God, I love your blog. That salsa is going to be a must to try - love the idea of kiwi and avocado.

    I have a big tub of black beans to use and while I'm tempted to make the above rice/bean dish tonight I have opted to make your Spicy Sweetcorn Soup instead!

  13. Thank you so much Johanna.
    Would you belive that I actually purchased the lime bowl, along with a chilli bowl and orange bowl from a thrift store. My husband thinks they are loud, but I like them.

    You are right that rice and beans is great in any culture - real comfort food on cold wintery days, and it certainly has been like that here since Sunday.

    The cook in me has actually purhcased all three paprikas. But its interesting that you ask the question, as the one I have used for this recipe came from a South Asian shop (an Indian brand called 'Rajah'). It has a mild heat, not strong enough to describe as hot. Hope that helps.


    Thanks Lisa of lisasfoods.

    Thanks Ribbit

    Such a kind comment Christine. Thank you. Just go easy on the lime, I think i may have squeezed a tad too much,

    Hope you enjoy the Spicy Sweetcorn Soup!

  15. Rice and beans is a great dish and I like the sound of this one. The green salsa looks great and your use of kiwi sounds most interesting.

  16. Both recipes sound and look so great. I make red beans and rice often ,next time I'll have to try this salsa.
    You have a great blog :)

  17. Thank you so much Spicie Foodie.

  18. Love your Scottish take on red beans & rice. It's a personal favorite of mine and I have had the opportunity to sample the real deal in New Orleans, which in my experience has never been overly spicy. Many of the recipes I've tried include celery along with the onion and bell pepper. Love your use of brown rice for the added health punch.

    Your avocado kiwi salsa is on my list of recipes to try. I live in the southwest US and love all kinds of salsa.

  19. Thank you so much Martha.

    So fortuante that you have had the opportunity to sample some and share your experiences with me, which are realy appreciated.

    The avocado kiwi was lovely. Hope you like, should you get to try it.


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