The famous Black Mushroom Rice (Riz Djon-Djon) is a very traditional Haitian dish. The Djon-Djon mushrooms are grown in the northern part of Haiti and sold dried. This type of fungus is mostly used to cook rice, and only the water is used after soaking; the mushrooms are discarded after.
The liquid is almost black in color and gives the rice an earthy and flavorful aroma. Lima beans or green peas are usually added along with shrimp or lobster for added flavor.
Unfortunately, the djon-djon is not sold in every supermarket. It is sold in high Haitian populated areas. If you live in New York or Florida, you are in luck. I have found Maggie cubes mixed with Djon-Djon in a West-Indians market once, but the color is not as dark as cooking the rice with the mushroom water. As my cousin, Monique will say, “It is called black rice and not gray rice.”
Also, I recommend to soak the mushroom and then boil. This process makes the water darker. I like making the rice without adding shrimp or lobster. I usually find the prawns to be overcooked at times if added too soon to the rice. Langoustine as a side dish is also great. It can also be eaten with poultry or red meat, but I find seafood to be better with the earthy taste of the mushroom.
Soak mushrooms overnight for best result. If adding shrimp or lobster, clean and lightly season seafood first and add before simmering. Do not over mix; the rice will not be grainy.
You can also buy Maggi Djon-Djon in many West-Indians stores. If you are using it omit the chicken bouillon from the recipe
- 2 cups Long Grain White Rice yellow if preferred, good brand rice
- 1 cup Djon-Djon dried mushroom sold in Haitian Grocery Stores
- 4 1/2 cups Water
- 1 cup Baby Lima Beans or Greens Peas frozen and then thawed
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic minced or finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Thyme leaves only
- 2 stalks Scallions finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Green Pepper finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Black Pepper
- 4 Whole Cloves
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Powder
- 1 small Whole Hot Pepper or a few drops of Hot Sauce optional
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
Clean mushrooms by removing any dirt. In a large bowl, add mushrooms and water and let soak overnight for best result. When ready to cook the rice, transfer the mushrooms and liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 5 minutes at medium high heat then remove from stove. Do not cover saucepan or the liquid will spill over while boiling. Drain and set aside. Only the liquid will be used to cook the rice.
In another large pot or pan, heat oil. Add garlic, scallions, thyme, cloves and green pepper. Let mixture fry for about 1 minutes. Add thawed green peas or baby lima beans and chicken bouillon powder. Stir to mix well. Best use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add mushroom water to pan. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Once water starts to boil, add rice and whole hot pepper if using. Gently stir. Do not over stir. When water has almost evaporated and you only see the ingredients, lower heat and cover. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked and still grainy. Serve hot with a meat or seafood dish.