When I was a kid my dad would always make me this “risotto” consisting of rice, minced meat & spices and a little bag of mixed vegetables (carrots, peas and red pepper chopped small, if I remember correctly!) with a good dollop of soy sauce on the top. It was a simple, easy dish and most of all, it was our thing. It became my favourite dish my dad cooked for me, and once I was old enough to live in my own apartment, it was one of the first meals I cooked for myself. I also cooked it for my boyfriend after we started dating and it became one of his favourite dishes too – I think it’s the combination of the spices and the soy sauce that does it, they’re just an unbeatable pair!
Once I became a vegetarian, it was this dish (and chorizo) that I missed the most, so I started trying out ways to replace the minced meat without losing the taste. The best way I have managed to recreate it was with soy mince, but I felt that it was a bit like cheating and that I didn’t really want to be using that many meat replacement products anyway. The following recipe is the closest I have come by just using plant based products. I’ve replaced the meat with chickpeas and added more veggies than I normally would, and I also tried adding a bit of coconut milk to make it a bit creamier, which I thought worked our pretty well – even if I do say so myself! Have a read below if you would be interested in trying this out for yourself (and let me know if you do!).
Chop your bell pepper into little chunks (about the same size as your little frozen veggies) and, with a dollop of olive oil, add them to the pan with the rest of the vegetables and sweet corn. Season with salt, pepper, jerk spice, oregano, basil and whatever other spices float your boat! After they’ve been frying in the pan for a little while, add the coconut milk and the chickpeas too and let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes so that all of the spices will have time to infuse into the mixture properly.
While your veggie & spice mixture is brewing, put the rice on so that it will be ready around the same time as the veggies are. Once both the rice and the vegetables are ready, stir the rice into veggie and chickpea mixture. Serve it in bowls with a generous serving of soy sauce and, most importantly, enjoy! I hope you love it as much as I do.