Revisiting a holiday staple, Columbia’s Caribbean toasted coconut rice

Soooo, here we go! This is our first post and we are elated to bring our nomad suitcases full of recipes to the Chubby Hubby e-abode. We can’t think of a better way to start than to bring you along on our summer adventures, which for your enjoyment (and ours, quite evidently) will take place in our home countries. Call it “The Kitchen Nomads go back home” if you will!  I (Paola) will be introducing you to the concept of double deep-frying and the variety of Colombian cuisine, while Jessica will entice you with the beauty of using more butter than you need to and the freshness of summer fruit in France.

Let’s start with a hearty coconut rice, a fantastic side dish that will be the envy of the main dish, thus allowing you to prepare something very simple for the rest of the meal.

I grew up far from the sea, so as a kid nothing felt more like holiday than a long enamel tray with a big fat fish fried whole glistening on it, a cup-shaped helping of toasty, salty, sweet, coconut rice, a couple of halved limes and some wedges of tomato. It’s a typical dish from the coastal areas of Colombia and a fisherman’s staple, using what’s most freshly available for the day. Fortunately, all these ingredients are also readily available in Hong Kong, my current city of residence–so I can go on a mini-vacation on any busy weekday!

One of my earliest memories is one of sitting in a beach in Cartagena (or was it somewhere in the Pacific? Mom?), feet in sand in a makeshift shack with driftwood tables, next to an equally makeshift gas kitchen tended by a robust lady with one of those accents where the S  disappears at the end of words, manning a wok of fiercely sizzling oil. She would throw in the whole fish and some patacones (patacones are crushed green plantains–another recipe we’ll be sharing soon) and all the deep fried goodness would come to join the cupped little mountain of speckled coconut rice.

Coconut, Rice, Fresh Fish, Avocado, Green Plantain Coriander and Lime

I must confess, I only truly came to like fish a little later in life, to the point that nowadays I’ll fight with my Chinese table mates about who gets to eat the eye and can dissect a whole fish with chopsticks without leaving behind a strand of meat. But–the coconut rice! I loved it from the get-go and it was the perfect excuse to make me eat more fish.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to revisit this recipe and the delicious results sparked the idea of doing a whole bunch of Colombian recipes for this blog as well as looking into what’s happening food-wise when I’m there next month. We hope you enjoy it and find everything súper delicioso!

The Kitchen Nomads

About Paola & Jessica

The Kitchen Nomads are Paola, the Colombian style maven with a Spanish husband, who has lived in Cali, Boston, Barcelona and La Coruña; and Jessica, the French-English word lover married to a Northern Irish man, who has called Paris, London and Tokyo her home. They found a family in each other after meeting in Hong Kong in 2008 and started their blog to preserve the recipes of their ever expanding families and document all the wonderful things they eat and cook. They are kitchen nomads, they have both roots and wings.