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This dish, by vegetarian chef Celia Brooks Brown, is often called Rasta risotto. Ital is a Rastafarian concept which means the essence of things in their natural state. Ital foods are super-healthy, free from animal products, unrefined and generally containing no salt. They rely on natural flavours, chilli in particular, to provide enough excitement for the sense of taste, along with a sense of well-being.


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced

  • 200g / 1 cup wholegrain rice, washed and drained

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 50g okra, stem removed, sliced

  • 1 red pepper, chopped

  • 1 - ½ habanero chilli or other chilli to taste, chopped (wear gloves!)

  • 100ml coconut cream

  • 750ml water

  • 100g Callaloo, washed and chopped


  • 1.

    Heat a large, heavy bottomed, lidded saucean over a moderate flame and add oil. Fry the onion until translucent. Add garlic and rice and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the okra, red pepper, chilli, coconut cream and water.

  • 2.

    Stir, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender (30-35 minutes). Stir the callaloo in at the end and continue cooking until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

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