Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add spices and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice, puréed vegetables, tomato paste, water, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low; cover the pot and cook until rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes (don't overcook). If the rice seems a little dry, add ¼ cup water and cover, which will allow it to steam through.
Garnish the rice with cilantro or parsley before serving.
Substitute cayenne pepper with African hot ground chili pepper.
Add ½ small habanero or scotch bonnet pepper for some serious heat.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.