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This Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe is the BEST quintessential and authentic Caribbean side with perfectly fluffed rice and delicious red beans with a hint of coconut flavor and spices galore. It is the perfect accompaniment to Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Fried plantains.
No matter your choice of cuisine, which cookbook you pick up or what restaurant you choose to dine in it’s almost guaranteed that rice will eventually come into play. Every culture knows its versions of rice dishes that are made unique with mix-ins or spices. Even the starter base of rice is vast in choices: brown, basmati, jasmine, long grain or even a cauliflower imitation. Over the thousands of years of rice’s existence it has managed to engrain itself (pun intended) in our diets. Cheap, readily available and versatile, rice can always bend to the needs of your dish and add the substance our meals need.
I grew up eating rice on a regular basis because it was made as an accompaniment to my mama’s Smothered Chicken and Smothered Pork Chops or whatever my mother’s choice of protein was for the day. I never truly appreciated the balance rice provided our meals until I became an adult and realized how essential it was. Nowadays, I still love to make rice and enjoy it with whatever saucy concoction is cooking up in the crock pot or dutch oven.
What are Jamaican Rice and Peas?
Today, I’m sharing a recipe for one of the best rice dishes known to man: Jamaican Rice and Peas. All Caribbean cooks, as well as those who just love Caribbean food, know that having a solid recipe for rice and peas is non-negotiable. From my brother Laz who gave us the Brown Stewed Chicken right before this, he has this incredible recipe in his new cookbook Son Of A Southern Chef. What else would you eat with my Mango Jerk Wings and Brown Stew Chicken? Though it may be very simple the flavors are undeniably delicious and pair perfectly with almost everything you could think to serve it with.
How to Cook Jamaican Rice and Peas
Start by placing your beans and four cups of stock in a medium-sized Dutch oven or sauce pot and soak them overnight. Soaking your beans makes for a quicker cooking time the next day so don’t skip this step.
When you’re ready to cook bring the beans to a boil for about fifteen minutes then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour. Once your beans are nice and tender add the remaining stock and bring to a boil again.
Next, stir in the rice, grated creamed coconut, thyme, habanero, salt and allspice with a fork. All that flavor is gonna be absorbed right into that rice. Slightly spicy, tropically sweet and generously spiced, this rice dances on the tongue and truly gives a full range of Caribbean flavors.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender. Here’s a pro-tip for you; I know that it’s beyond tempting to open the lid and sneak a peek. I mean, you wanna know what magical things are happening under there right? But you must avoid the temptation! Do not open the lid! Doing so will allow your steam to escape and your rice won’t cook perfectly without it. Not worth it.
After about twenty minutes your rice should be ready so go ahead and turn off that heat. Let your rice stand for about five minutes so that opening the lid doesn’t give you the searing hot steam facial that you did not ask for. Be sure to remove the thyme and habanero (unless you wanna play a cruel game of pepper roulette). Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve with my recipe for Brown Chicken Stew, your favorite jerk chicken recipe or even just by itself. There’s no way you can go wrong here.
How To Cook Rice and Peas without Coconut
Even though the coconut adds a very authentic Caribbean flavor to the recipe, if you aren’t fan, you can simply omit. No need to replace with anything. Simply continue cooking the recipe as you would before and enjoy!
Can I make Pigeon Peas and Rice? What are Pigeon Peas?
Jamaican pigeon Peas and rice is also a very popular dish. Also known as “Gungo Peas and Rice”, it is made with coconut milk just like this recipe. If you want to try this recipe with pigeon peas instead of red beans, you can simply replace them. You can also add scotch bonnet peppers for another authentic touch.
If you love other comforting recipes like this, try these:
Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe
- 1 cup dried red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 6 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups uncooked parboiled rice, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup grated Grace Pure Creamed Coconut
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- Put the beans and 4 cups of the stock in a medium dutch oven or saucepan and soak, covered, overnight.
- Bring the beans and stock to a full boil and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the beans until tender, about 1 hr.
- Add the remaining 2 ½ cups sock and bring to a boil. Using a fork, stir in the rice, grated creamed coconut, thyme, habanero, salt and allspice and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the thyme and habanero. Fluff the rice, separate the grains with a fork and serve.