The famous Black Mushroom Rice (Riz Djon-Djon) is a traditional Haitian rice dish. A specialty in the Haitian culinary culture, this rice is commonly served with meat, poultry or seafood dishes. This dish makes its presence to most events whether at a family gathering or public gatherings. It is also served at all Haitian restaurants.
What is djon djon and where to find
Djon Djon is a type of mushroom. 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 or boiling. The mushrooms are discarded after.
When used to cook other types of dishes such as meat, or poultry, the same process applies. Only the water is used to prepare either the beef or the chicken.
Unfortunately, the djon-djon is not sold in every supermarket. You will not be able to find it in your local supermarket. You may find Djon Djon Maggie Cubes in West Indian markets. But the dried mushroom is sold where there this is a large concentration of Haitian people.
When boiled in water, dried or spice cube, the liquid is almost black, similar to a dark shade of gray. Whether you are using dried Djon Djon or Maggie Djon Djon, it is recommended to use a good amount so the water could have the right amount of color for cooking the rice.
How to make Rice with Djon Djon
Cooking rice with Djon Djon is very easy. You either soak or boil the Djon Djon and use the water to cook the rice. You should not add any other types of water to the rice. If you need to add water, use the leftover mushroom to resoak or boil. If you use regular water or chicken broth, the rice will not be dark and the taste might change.
Seasoning the rice the right way is essential. Many cooks will opt to use chicken bouillon and a mixture of dried or wet spices. Many others will only use chicken bouillon Seasoning. Whatever seasoning you use, make sure it is not strong as the mushroom will give the rice an earthy and flavorful aroma.
Cooking the rice
Before preparing this dish, you will need a good rice brand and type. Usually, long grain rice is recommended. I recommend soaking the mushroom for at least 2 hours and then boil. This process makes the water darker.
The rice is prepared the same way as any other types of rice dishes. The same amount of water you will use for cooking white rice, for example, the same amount mushroom water is needed. The only difference will be adding green peas or lima beans.
The peas or beans should be cooked in the pot before adding the rice. This way everything will cook evenly. Adding shallots, scallion or parsley and even a whole hot pepper is not uncommon.
As far as seafood, it is best to cook the shrimp, lobster or langoustine separately. If you add any of the seafood mentioned, they will be overcooked. You can season the seafood, sautee in a separate pan, and add them to the rice during the last few minutes of cooking. Or you can serve the rice, let say, with shrimp creole. This combination is a delight!
The perfect combination
Below are a few dishes ideas to enjoy Rice with Djon Djon.
- 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.
- Use long grain rice
- You can also buy Maggi Djon-Djon in many West-Indians stores. If you are using it omit the chicken bouillon from the recipe
Here’s 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 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of Noubess Original Hot and Spicy 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.