Rice & Peas

This is a staple in every Jamaican household. When I was growing it you had to soak the peas and grate the coconut to squeeze out the coconut milk. Life is so much simpler now, and a pot of rice and peas takes no time flat.

Other West Indian islands have similar dishes, most of which they refer to as peas and rice. And they use real peas. Jamaicans being the rule-breakers that they are, usually use red kidney beans, although gungo peas make a nice alternative. And we put the rice first in the title because there’s more rice than peas. Duh!

The scotch bonnet pepper is an important ingredient. I like to use Grace’s scotch bonnet (I get it at my local No Frills). It has a little less heat because the manufacturer does use the seeds where all the burn resides. Other recipes may tell you that you can sub in other types of pepper. Don’t believe them. If you decide to use the real thing, please be very careful when cutting the pepper. Only use the flesh, not the seeds, and err on the side of conservative. Scotch bonnets are some of the hottest peppers going. They’ll take the skin off your hands if you’re not careful.

I’m pretty particular about the rice I use. I only use Uncle Ben’s converted for this dish. If you sub in other rice, I don’t guarantee the outcome since converted rice cooks much faster than other types of rice. BTW, did you know that converted rice has a lot more nutrients and less starch than white rice, while still giving the white rice texture and taste?

Gail’s Easy Peasy Rice & Peas

  • 1 can (540 ml) red kidney beans
  • 300 ml coconut milk
  • 4 stalks green onions chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Grace’s scotch bonnet sauce
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups Uncle Ben’s converted rice

Pour the red kidney beans, juice and all, into a pot. There will be bean stuff still in the bottom of the can. Fill the can 2/3 of the way with water, and mix to get all the stuff off the bottom. Add to the pot.

Add all the other ingredients except the rice. Bring to a boil.

Add rice to boiling mixture and stir. Turn the temperature down to low and cover.

After about 10 minutes (just enough time to clean up the mess you made) stir the mixture again and turn off the burner, but leave the covered pot on the warm burner. The rice will continue to cook, soaking up the rest of the liquid.

It’ll be all done in about half an hour.

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Gail Vaz-Oxlade

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14 Responses to “Rice & Peas”

  1. Yum!!

  2. can’t wait to try it!

  3. I’ve never tried this with a can of kidney beans but it would be faster. I use dried pigeon or black eye peas, and I also add a bit of chopped garlic and a little lime juice. I didn’t know you could buy scotch bonnet sauce – so much easier. I’ll give this recipe a try. I like leftover rice and peas the next day, sometimes with some shrimp or slivers of leftover beef thrown in.

  4. Thanks for this. We went to Jamaica for the first time in January (Paid for). The young man who was the beach boy told us the recipe for rice and peas and was going to right it down for me and never got there. I have wanted to make them but only had some of what he told me in my head so now I can go ahead an make it. Thanks. Another issue solved!

  5. This sounds really tasty and pretty straight forward. I think I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. Thanks Gail!

  6. I love rice and peas but am not a fan of it with kidney beans. I used to work beside a west indian roti restaurant and they had the best jerk chicken and rice and peas around. My wallet is glad that my work moved locations but my tummy is oh so sad!

  7. Sounds wonderful! I’m a fan of rice and beans and heat!

  8. avatar Sharieka Alicia Says:
    April 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Omg Gail!! Are u at all Jamaican?! Because I am Jamaican and I’ve seen ur curry posts and oxtail posts… And u always hit the nail right on the head!!! I grew up on this stuff!!! I just had rice and peas for easter! Plus my mom and I were watching ur show a few weeks ago and my mom was like…”is she Jamaican?” cuz ur accent is similar lol

  9. Extra bonus for me: it’s VEGAN! Yay! I’ll try it with some Jerk Tofu and report back. ;)

  10. looks good to me….I will try it this recipe..

  11. Thanks Gail, this sounds delish and an easily packable lunch at work! I’ll be looking for the scotch bonnet sauce this weekend to try this one out :)

  12. Tried the rice and peas last night and it was very tasty. This will be come a regular side in my house. Love you show and your blog. Keep up the good work :)

  13. avatar Sherrie Breese Says:
    April 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I made this just like Gail says…except I used jasmine rice and vegetable broth. And I rinsed off my kidney beans because all that saucey stuff is where the gas is hiding…and I used yellow Thia curry paste that I had on hand so I didn’t have to pop out and find Scotch Bonnet sauce. AND…I marinated some chicken pieces in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and Victorian Epicure’s Harrisa spice. Then I seared the chicken before popping it on top of the rice that was simmering.
    Next time, I will use a little less vegetable broth (the texture was rather like sticky rice) and I will mince and caramelize a cooking onion. I learned from this recipe that I don’t like cooked green onions.
    Overall, I liked it so much, I will make this again.

  14. tried this recipe last night (sans the green onion) with a bbq jerk pork tenderloin we did up. Delish. Sherrie your modifications sound terrific. I too don’t like cooked green onion – caramelized onion sounds just the solution.

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