Zembrocal rice, turmeric rice from Réunion

Zembrocal rice

I don’t know about you, but a trip to Reunion Island really tempts me. I hope to be able to go there in the near future. In the meantime, it’s a trip for the taste buds that I offer you with a delicious zembrocal rice.
This rice is usually made with boucané. It is smoked and salted meat, and more specifically pork belly. I discovered very recently that I had a grocery store near my house that sells this product. And many others… I’m lucky.
But what’s great about this zembrocal rice is that it’s very easy to adapt. We can absolutely use our smoked pork belly. It can even be done without meat, if this rice is served as an accompaniment. We add red beans, but also peas. In some recipes, there are also potatoes. And of course, it is flavored with turmeric, which gives it its lovely yellow color.

This dish is actually very simple to make, since everything is cooked in the same pan. And that, we all love.

For cooking rice, I have long done with the rice cooker. When my daughter went to another city for her studies, she took the device with her. I wanted to buy one, and then I finally adopted another way. Indeed, a saucepan is more than enough to do the same cooking as the rice cooker. Just cover the rice with water, cover and bring everything to a boil. After that, continue cooking over very low heat without opening the lid, for about 20 minutes. The result is absolutely the same as in the device.

And suddenly, I like this way of cooking so much that I also use it for all my rice dishes. So I used this cooking for my zembrocal rice.

Zembrocal rice:

400 g boucané (or smoked bacon)
2 shallots
4 garlic cloves
1 chilli (according to your taste)
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fresh thyme
300 g fragrant rice
300g cooked red beans
salt
olive oil

Cook the boucané for 15 minutes in water.
Cut it into pieces.

Lightly brown the finely chopped shallots in a little oil.
Add the pieces of boucané (or the breast) and fry for a few minutes until the pieces turn golden.
Add grated garlic and chilli as well as turmeric and thyme.
Mix well.

Add the rice and mix well to coat.

Cover with water. You have to have a good centimeter above the rice.
Then add the beans and season.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to maximum and cook without lifting the lid for about 20 minutes.

Zembrocal rice, turmeric rice from Réunion

To finish: The boucané is salty and must be cooked in water. This is not necessary with smoked brisket.


Next time I’ll add potato chunks and definitely try frozen peas.


For this recipe, I tested my new braising pan recently offered by Utensils and Kitchen. I also have thehas saucepan of the same range. Both products are really of very good quality and allow a very good distribution of heat. The rice cooks perfectly, without sticking. I particularly appreciate that the handles stay cool.

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