Coat the bottom of a medium pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
While the onions and bell peppers cook, carefully seed and mince half of your chili pepper, if using. Slice the other half into rounds and save for serving. Add the minced chili pepper and garlic to the pot. Sauté about 1 minute more, until fragrant.
Add the coconut milk, tomatoes, lime juice and paprika to the pot. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Add the plantains and continue simmering for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini to the pot and continue simmering until zucchini and plantains are fork tender, but not yet mushy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the cilantro and scallions.
Divide the rice into bowls and top with the stew. Sprinkle with additional cilantro and garnish with hot pepper slices, if desired. Serve.
If you’d like more control over the heat level, skip the hot peppers and use hot sauce to taste.If you’ve got a bunch of fresh tomatoes from your garden, feel free to sub them for the canned ones. You’ll want to peel, seed and dice them. Use about 1 ¾ cups.