Okra Rice Pilaf

Okra Rice Pilaf is a flavour-forward dish inspired by Caribbean cooking and an ode to Chef Adrian Forte’s Jamaican roots.

Guanciale is rendered down and the rice grains are cooked in the fat, then onion, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, scotch bonnet and okra are added along with vegetable stock and steamed until cooked.

4-6 servings
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min


  • 1 cup (250 mL) onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups (120 mL) guanciale, diced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) scotch bonnet paste
  • 4 sprigs thyme (divided equally)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) long-grain U.S. rice, washed and drained
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (250 mL) black-eyed peas (drained)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) coconut milk
  • 2 cups (500 mL) okra, sliced into disks, 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick
  • ½ cup (125 mL) tomatoes, diced
  • ½ teaspoon  (2.5 mL) black pepper
  • ½ cup (250 mL) celery, chopped
  • ½  cup (250 mL) green bell pepper, chopped


  1. Add guanciale to the stock pot and ensure it covers the bottom of the pot completely; cook on high heat.
  2. Fry it until it’s crispy, then remove the guanciale with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate lined with paper towel.
  3. Add onion, celery, and bell peppers and sauté.
  4. Once onions have become translucent, add okra, tomatoes and rice and mix well.
  5. Add garlic paste, scotch bonnet paste, black-eyed peas, thyme and ground pepper, then deglaze the pot with chicken stock.
  6. Stir in the coconut milk, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook until the rice is done, about 20 minutes.
  7. Fluff up the rice with a fork and stir in the chopped guanciale.