This Umami-Packed Black Trumpet Mushroom Rice Is My Favorite Haitian Dish

published Sep 30, 2021
at the table
Diri Djon Djon with Shrimp Recipe

Diri Djon Djon with Shrimp, or Black Trumpet Rice with Shrimp, is a Haitian dish with incredible depth of flavor from a variety of herbs, peppers and garlic.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour 51 minutes to 1 hour 57 minutes

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Diri Djon Djon
Credit: Paul Crispin Quitoriano

In Haitian Creole, djon djon translates to “mushrooms,” but not just any mushrooms: The term refers specifically to black trumpet mushrooms, the key ingredient in one of my favorite Haitian dishes, diri djon djon, or black trumpet rice.

What makes this dish so special is the depth of flavor the mushrooms bring. I toast the dried mushrooms in a pan, grind them into a fine powder, and then use that umami-packed powder (plus a few other tasty ingredients) to create an incredible mushroom stock for cooking the rice. The way I was brought up, my mom would put dried shrimp in the stock, so you’d see little shrimp floating around. I decided to kick things up a notch and use fresh jumbo shrimp instead so that you can really taste it in the dish and as a nod to the dried shrimp my mom uses in her dish. 

Another very Haitian aspect of this dish is how the protein (in this case, shrimp) is prepared. I think I can safely say that I speak for a lot of Haitians when it comes to washing your meat and making sure it’s clean. Haitians grew up on an island where they didn’t have packaged meat. They had to kill the meat themselves. Using acidity and water to clean their meat is something very personal, something that’s very important. In this dish, I toss the shrimp in lemon juice, rinse it, then marinate it in epís.

Credit: Paul Crispin Quitoriano

Epís, which is Haitian green seasoning, is the foundation for any dish I want to create. It’s a blend of so many different herbs, peppers, and garlic. I don’t add any salt to mine; it is a pure flavor base for so many different dishes. When you’re making rice and beans, you have to have epís. When you’re marinating your chicken, you have to have epís. Flavor goes hand in hand with epís. In Haitian cuisine, you can automatically taste that something was well-seasoned because of all the fresh herbs and produce that go into epís. Flavor is the top priority in Haitian cuisine and I want people to really fully understand that. We take a long time to cook these dishes and there are no shortcuts — but all of that work and care are worth it when you take that first bite.

Diri Djon Djon with Shrimp Recipe

Diri Djon Djon with Shrimp, or Black Trumpet Rice with Shrimp, is a Haitian dish with incredible depth of flavor from a variety of herbs, peppers and garlic.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 51 minutes to 1 hour 57 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the epís (Haitian green seasoning):

  • 1

    small Spanish or yellow onion

  • 1/2

    small shallot

  • 1

    medium stalk celery

  • 1

    medium scallion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3/4

    medium green bell pepper

  • 1/4

    medium red pepper

  • 1

    small Scotch bonnet pepper

  • 2

    fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh parsley including sprigs

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh cilantro including sprigs

  • 1/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 3/4 cup

    olive oil

For the Diri Djon Djon:

  • 1 pound

    raw jumbo unpeeled shrimp (21 to 25 per pound)

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 5 tablespoons

    epís, divided

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 cup

    dried black trumpet mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme, divided

  • 2

    celery leaves

  • 6 cups

    water

  • 1/2

    medium Spanish or yellow onion

  • 2

    medium scallions, divided

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons

    sazón seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups

    frozen peas

  • 1

    Maggi Djon Djon mushroom-flavored bouillon cube

  • 12 sprigs

    fresh parsley (about 1/2 bunch)

  • 3

    whole cloves

  • 1

    medium Scotch bonnet pepper

  • 3 cups

    basmati rice

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

Instructions

Make the epís:

  1. Prepare the following, adding them to a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment as you complete them: Trim and coarsely chop 1 small Spanish or yellow onion, 1/2 small shallot, 1 celery stalk, and 1 medium scallion. Crush 2 garlic cloves. Trim the ribs and seeds from 3/4 medium green bell pepper and 1/4 medium red bell pepper, then coarsely chop. Trim the stem from 1 small Scotch bonnet pepper. Add 2 fresh thyme sprigs, 1/2 cup fresh parsley, and 1/2 cup fresh cilantro.

  2. Pulse until the mixture forms a green paste. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and pulse until combined. With the motor running, drizzle in 3/4 olive oil and process until fully combined with a pesto-like consistency. Refrigerate in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the Diri Djon Djon:

  1. Peel and devein 1 pound jumbo shrimp, reserving the shells. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, squeeze the juice from 1/2 medium lemon over the shrimp, and toss to combine. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse the shrimp, then place in a medium bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the epís and 3/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and toss and massage until well coated. Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup dried trumpet mushrooms and toast until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer the mushrooms to a mortar or spice grinder. When cooled, crush or grind into a powder.

  3. Return the mushrooms to the same Dutch oven and add the reserved shrimp shells, 2 of the fresh thyme sprigs, 2 celery leaves, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and simmer until the liquid is very dark, a grayish black color, and has the intense aroma of the mushrooms, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop 1/2 medium Spanish or yellow onion, thinly slice 1 of the medium scallions, and crush 2 garlic cloves.

  4. When the broth is ready, pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium heatproof bowl and discard the solids in the strainer. Wipe out the Dutch oven. Heat 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the marinated shrimp (reserve the bowl and marinade). Cook, stirring once, until the shrimp just turn opaque and curl, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the shrimp to the bowl.

  5. Reduce the heat to low. Add the onion, sliced scallion, and 1 bay leaf. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons epís, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons sazón, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until homogenous and almost paste-like, about 2 minutes.

  6. Add all of the broth, 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, and 1 Maggi Djon Djon cube. Crush the Djon Djon cube with the wooden spoon and stir until dissolved. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. You want the liquid to be well seasoned before adding the rice.

  7. Cut the entire green part from the remaining scallion (reserve the white for another use). Use the scallion green to tie the remaining 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 12 fresh parsley sprigs together into a bouquet. Poke 3 whole cloves into 1 medium Scotch bonnet pepper. Add the bouquet and clove-studded Scotch bonnet to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

  8. Meanwhile, place 3 cups basmati rice in a fine-mesh strainer and wash under cool running water until the water runs clear, about 2 minutes.

  9. Once the liquid is boiling, add the rice and stir to combine. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Cover and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook covered until the rice is tender, 45 to 50 minutes.

  10. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Return the shrimp to the pot. Cover and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The epís can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.