This Jamaican rice and peas recipe is a delicious side dish that can be paired with almost any protein, such as, oxtail, goat, or chicken dish.
History of Jamaican Rice and Peas
I want to share with you a delicious dish that dates back to our African ancestors. Rice and Peas were adopted from an Afrikan tribe hailing from Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa. When the slaves were brought to Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean they infused their dishes they brought with the natives and the European settlers that were already on the islands. Hence, why every Caribbean island has there own take on rice and peas or rice and beans.
Sundays are usually the day when Jamaicans would cook a big feast with rice and peas which includes a protein/s that they usually wouldn’t get to enjoy throughout the week. Eg. Oxtail, Goat, Fish, etc. In other words “Sunday Best”. The practice dates back to the days of slavery. Back in the 1700s, slaves were only allowed Sundays off from their backbreaking work. What makes this amazing is that they passed their knowledge on to their descendants and now the world enjoys our food.
Rice and Peas or Rice and Beans?
Many people call it rice and beans because technically kidney beans is an actual bean and not peas. However, we West Indians say rice and peas. Don’t argue with me lol. I think it came about from our broken English, not sure. It is not just a Caribbean dish but many Spanish countries have their own version of this delicious recipe. Of course, I had to give you lovely people the Traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe for you to enjoy.
How to make Jamaican Rice and Peas
This Jamaican dish is a delicious side dish that can be paired with almost any protein. But it is most commonly paired with Jerk Chicken, Oxtail, Curry Goat, and some Stew Chicken.
Is Rice and Peas Vegan, Gluten-free, and Vegetarian?
This dish is gluten-free and vegan, it is high in fiber and low in fat. I am currently gluten and dairy-free for a while. I will be sure not to slip up by adding any forbidden ingredients to my dishes. 😉
If you are wondering why there is coconut milk? Well, that is because ‘West Indians‘ use coconut milk as a staple in many dishes. It’s a create substitute for cream or regular milk. Cream or Crema is not a major staple in Jamaican dishes. If coconut milk is not added to a ‘Jamaican Rice and Peas’ it means it is not authentic or you may have had a different version that is not Jamaican.
Many Jamaicans add a piece of ginger and butter, this is totally up to you. In this case, I forgot to add ginger. If you like you can add a small piece of smashed ginger to the pot when you are soaking or cooking the peas/beans. If you would like to add butter please do so after adding the rice.
By using a sachet you can avoid the trouble of removing the seasoning from the pot and reduce the chances of the pepper bursting open.
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Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup dried Kidney Beans (Red Peas)
- 1 1/2 cups coconut Milk
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
- 1 stalk scallion
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 cloves garlic (smashed)
- 15 whole pimento (all spice)
- 1 inch ginger root
- butter optional
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Wash Kidney beans and let them soak in 3 cups of water with 1 clove smashed garlic, pimento, ½ stalk scallion and 1 sprig of thyme until they become shriveled. Another method is to soak them overnight. Or You can slow cook until becomes tender.
- After kidney beans are cooked, add coconut milk, salt, and the rest of the seasoning (pepper, thyme scallion, garlic and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- *Add water if necessary
- Then add rice and butter to the pot. and stir (wash rice if necessary) Yes, Caribbean people wash their rice
- Use a fork to remove the scallion, ginger, pepper, and thyme. This is optional and can be removed after the rice has been added. *Use a sachet instead
- NB: Please do not let the pepper burst inside the pot, this will cause it to be very spicy. I usually burst open the pepper, give it a stir and remove the pot. Extra Flava.
- Let it cook until the rice is tender and fluffy.