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.
Useful advice note:
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