TOMATO CHOKA RICE SOUP

Complexity: Medium

Ingredients:

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or veg)
  • 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 cup parboiled brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Pinch ground coriander

Directions:

  1. If you don’t have access to a grill as I did, toss the tomatoes in about 2 tablespoon of olive oil (not mentioned in the ingredient list) and roast them in your oven at 400 F for about 30 minutes or so. As with making traditional tomato choka I placed the ripe tomatoes on my grill, along with a whole green scotch bonnet pepper to cook. The pepper will take about 2-3 minutes (remove), but give the tomatoes about 20-30 minutes, flipping them so they char evenly.
  2. Remove the tomatoes off the grill and place in a bowl to cool. They will release a lot of liquid as they cool, thus the reason for having them in a bowl so you can save this lovely liquid to add to the pot later. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin and give them a rough chop.
  3. Heat the olive oil on a med/low flame in your soup pot and gently cook the diced onion, thyme and garlic for about 4 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes. By adding the tomato paste at this point the sort of frying will increase the natural sugars in the paste and give the dish a lovely sweetness.
  4. Now turn up the heat and add all the other ingredients except the rice. Bring to a boil.
  5. Wash the rice to remove any grit and extra starch. As the pot comes to a boil add the rice, then turn the heat down so you have an active simmer going. Let it cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice grains are plump and fully cooked.
  6. Skim off any sort of reside off the top of the pot as it cooks and discard. Remember to taste for salt and adjust accordingly. If you used a whole scotch bonnet pepper as I did, you now have 2 options. Remove it so you don’t have that ‘kick’ or burst it open to reveal that Caribbean sunshine. WARNING! It will be live!
  7. Top with some chopped parsley and get ready to serve with a thick slice of coconut bake or bread.