One thing about all Mark’s books I really like is that most recipes include a section called “Variations.” In this recipe for example, the main recipe is for: “Coco Rice and Beans” and in the “Variations” section he lists ways to change up the dish by adding: different types of beans, ginger, garlic, or mango and agave for “Sweet Coco Rice“. The “Coco Spinach Rice” version inspired my dish although I chose to leave out the roasted cashews and curry and use fresh spinach instead. I also added more beans and spinach, increasing the overall proportions of veggies and beans to rice.
On this particular night, I just happened to have one of “Dave’s tomatoes” for my salad. As any good veggie-lover on Maui knows… these tomatoes are particularly succulent. Beefy yet juicy…. non-organic yet delicious non-the-less. If you are looking to purchase… they are a bit hard to find and a bit pricey too but if you are on the island, head upcountry to the Pukalani Superette . Just know there is no guarantee you will find these luscious tomatoes awaiting… I headed over the day after this meal having acquired a craving for another and found only one little tomato left to buy. This tells you how good they are.
Following is the recipe for my variation:
Coco Rice with Black-Eyed Beans & Spinach
Serves 4 to 5
3/4 – 1 cup water
1 cup brown rice (short grain vs basmati, worked better for me)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 can (7-ounces) coconut milk
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained & rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
1/2 a bunch of fresh spinach, washed/drained and cut or torn into smaller pieces
Start by heating the water and then adding the rice, thyme, salt and coconut milk in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
While, the rice is cooking prepare your spinach and beans. Once the rice is ready, add the beans and fold in the spinach until soft and wilted.
So simple serve with your favorite salad and enjoy!