A staple in Jamaican cuisine, the Jamaican Rice and Peas dish combines fragrant rice, tender red kidney beans, and creamy coconut milk infused with aromatic herbs and spices. Whether you’re seeking a hearty side dish or a satisfying vegetarian main course, this Jamaican classic will tempt your taste buds and bring a taste of the Caribbean to your table.
- 2 cups of long-grain rice
- 1 cup of dried red kidney beans
- 1 can (13.5 oz) of coconut milk
- 3 cups of water
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (whole or sliced)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of allspice
Optional: 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Rinse the kidney beans thoroughly and soak them overnight in water. Alternatively, you can do a quick soak by boiling them for 5 minutes and then letting them sit in hot water for 1 hour.
- In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and fresh thyme. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
- Drain the soaked kidney beans and add them to the pot with the sautéed onions and garlic. Stir well.
- Pour in the coconut milk and water, and add the whole scotch bonnet pepper, salt, black pepper, and allspice. Stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans are tender.
- While the beans are simmering, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Once the beans cooks, remove the thyme sprigs and scotch bonnet pepper (if whole) from the pot. You can keep the scotch bonnet pepper in for extra heat if desired.
- Add the rinsed rice to the pot, stirring it into the bean mixture. Make sure the rice distributes in the pot evenly.
- Cover the pot again and let the rice cook over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
- Once the rice cooks, fluff it with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.
Serve the Jamaican rice and peas hot as a flavourful side dish or a main course. Enjoy!
The scotch bonnet pepper is quite spicy. You can deseed or use a smaller amount if you prefer milder heat. Remember to handle the pepper cautiously and avoid touching your eyes or face after handling it.
Maureen Simpson | Staff Writer