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Put the rice in a sieve, rinse thoroughly to remove the starch, then soak in clean cold water for 5 mins. Drain and par-boil the rice for 5 mins until almost cooked, then drain, rinse and set aside.
Blend the tomatoes, pepper, half the red onion, the garlic and chilli until smooth.
Finely slice the remaining onion half. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, high-sided pan. Add the sliced onion, bay and thyme, and cook on a medium heat for 8 mins until the onion is softened and aromatic.
Add the spices with 1 tsp sea salt, cook for a few mins more, then add the tomato purée and cook for 1-2 mins.
Add half the tomato and pepper mix (freeze the rest for future use). Add the semi-cooked rice and mix thoroughly to coat with the sauce. Add a bit more water, turn down the heat, stir and cover with a lid for 5-10 mins until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the type of rice, so keep checking it. Don’t worry if it catches on the bottom, this will add to the flavour. Season to taste and remove the bay leaves before serving.
To cook the plantain, simply heat the coconut oil in a high-sided pan until hot. Fry the plantain, turning occasionally, for a few mins until soft and golden. Serve with the rice.
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