Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe
Delicious!! Most common of all the tasty Jamaican dishes, you will find Rice-and-Peas everywhere, served with every type of meat and fish, or just eaten by itself!
In the “old days” (before canned or powdered coconut milk), it took quite some time to prepare rice-and-peas. You would have to split a dry coconut, pry out the coconut meat, grate it, press it through a sieve and squeeze out the milk. Some people still do it this way, but grating and “milking” coconut is not for the faint of heart!
A note about “peas”: Jamaicans refer to beans such as kidney beans as “peas”. You may find rice-and-peas made with gungo or pigeon peas. You may just as frequently find it made with red kidney beans. It’s a matter of personal preference. Some people even prefer to use black-eyed peas. You can use canned peas/beans or dried peas/beans. Use whatever is most convenient or the one whose flavor you like best.
2 cups long grain rice
1 1/2 cups red peas, dried or canned (liquid reserved),
either kidney beans, gungo peas or pigeon peas
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (canned) or mix it from powder
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 green onions (crushed, not chopped) (aka scallion, spring onion, salad onion)
1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper (DO NOT CUT), or substitute 1 habanero or 2 serrano or 2 jalapenos
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon pimento (allspice)
1. Prepare your peas/beans: If you are using canned peas/beans, there is no need to cook them beforehand; simply skip ahead to step 2. Cook dried beans in a pot with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently until the beans are tender, adding hot water during cooking if necessary. When beans are fully cooked, drain them, reserving the liquid, and return the beans to the pot.
Note: If using fresh or canned gungo peas, DO NOT cook beforehand; simply add with the rice. If using dried pigeon peas, cook in the same manner as the kidney peas/beans.
2. Heat the butter in a frying pan and sauté onions with garlic until onions are a golden color. Add the butter/onion/garlic mixture to the pot with the beans.
3. Place coconut milk into a large measuring cup. Add the water you saved from cooking the peas/beans (or from the canned peas/beans). If the liquid does not equal 4 cups, add more water until you have 4 cups. Place liquid into the pot with the peas/beans. Add the hot pepper, thyme, salt, pepper and pimento (allspice), and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the rice to the mixture and stir well. Increase the heat until the liquid boils. Then reduce to a very low heat and cover tightly. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Try not to stir the mixture again while it cooks or you may end up with sticky rice and peas.
5. Remove the Scotch bonnet (or other) pepper. Fluff up the rice and serve!
Note: Powdered coconut milk can be found in most Asian grocery stores.