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Jamaican Rice and Peas

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.


  1. 2 cups of long-grain rice
  2. 1 cup of dried red kidney beans
  3. 1 can (13.5 oz) of coconut milk
  4. 3 cups of water
  5. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  6. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  7. 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  8. 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  9. 1 scotch bonnet pepper (whole or sliced)
  10. 1 teaspoon of salt
  11. ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  12. ½ teaspoon of allspice

Optional: 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Drain the soaked kidney beans and add them to the pot with the sautéed onions and garlic. Stir well.
  1. Pour in the coconut milk and water, and add the whole scotch bonnet pepper, salt, black pepper, and allspice. Stir to combine.
  1. 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.
  1. While the beans are simmering, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. 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.
  1. Add the rinsed rice to the pot, stirring it into the bean mixture. Make sure the rice distributes in the pot evenly.
  1. 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.
  1. Once the rice cooks, fluff it with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  1. 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

Summer 2024

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