Jamaican rice and peas are a staple side dish in many kitchens because of their versatility! It’s an incredibly easy recipe to make. But it does require time and focus. It is extremely flavorful and filling. And it makes a delicious, neutral side for any meal.
If you’d like, you can play around with the seasonings and adjust them to your liking. And, if you are feeling adventurous, you can add other herbs and spices that will pair well with your main dish.
You can serve this rice and pea recipe alongside my Jamaican Beef Patties or my Jamaican Fried Dumplings.
What Is Jamaican Rice And Peas?
This is one of the simplest and most popular Jamaican side dishes that you can prepare. It is incredibly easy to make, despite taking some time. This dish is loaded with flavor and will help fill you up quickly!
But what exactly are Jamaican rice and peas? It’s simple: this dish consists of mainly white rice, coconut milk, red kidney beans, and Scotch bonnet peppers. There are many aromatics included in the recipes. Most of them will almost always include onions, garlic, and thyme.
Then, depending on the household and even region you find this dish in, they can also contain pimento seeds, stock or broth powder, and chili. It really varies a lot, and that’s part of why so many people love rice and peas.
But now you may be asking, where are the peas?
Well, in Jamaica, they commonly refer to beans as peas. I know. It can get pretty confusing. And while it’s technically not correct, that’s just the way it is.
What You Will Need To Make My Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe
First, you will need some rice and red kidney beans. You can use any type of white long or medium-grain rice. Just don’t use a starchy type of rice or short-grain rice. It will make the dish clumpy and sticky, not fluffy.
The kidney beans are first cooked in a combination of water and garlic. Once cooked, you will add coconut milk. You can also use coconut cream for a richer and thicker dish. This is also when you add the seasoning ingredients.
My Jamaican rice and peas recipe contains simple aromatics including onions, scallions, fresh thyme, Scotch bonnet peppers, pimento seeds, margarine, Maggi seasoning, and salt. It may seem like a lot, but most of these are pretty standard in a kitchen, especially if you love South American and African cuisine.
After the mixture is left to simmer for a while, you can add the washed white rice.
All that’s left to do is allow the rice to cook until it becomes tender and the dish has a thick consistency.
Tips And Tricks
- This recipe is incredibly easy to make but does require monitoring. You need to ensure that you always have enough liquid to cook the beans and rice. If the mixture is too dry, it could cause the ingredients to burn, dry out completely, and lose all of their flavor.
- If you use dried red kidney beans, your cooking time will be significantly longer. Canned beans are already tenderized and to some extent, partially cooked. It helps a lot to soak the dried beans before starting the cooking process.
- If you want to store any leftover Jamaican peas and rice, simply place them in an airtight container. This dish has to be stored in the fridge. It can last up to 3-4 days if stored properly.
Why are my rice and peas soggy?
It’s because you used too much liquid. It is crucial that you monitor the liquid levels before simply adding more. If you need to reduce the water levels, cook the ingredients without a lid to help the water evaporate.
How can you reheat Jamaican rice and peas?
I recommend using the microwave. It’s the quickest and easiest method to use. Fluff the leftover rice and peas and place them in a large container. Cover the top with plastic wrap. Poke a single small hole in the center. Microwave the dish for roughly 2-4 minutes. The build-up of moisture will help keep the rice and peas moist and prevent them from drying out.
More Jamaican recipes
Jamaican Rice And Peas – An Authentic And Easy Side Dish
- 2 cups canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 5 cups water
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 2 scallion stalks, chopped
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, pierced
- 4 Pimento seeds, crushed
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 tbsp Maggi all-purpose seasoning
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 4 cups white rice, washed
Cook the red kidney beans
- To start, rinse the red kidney beans twice to remove any dirt.
- Once rinsed, place them in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and the garlic cloves.
- Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Check the progress often and give the beans a stir to prevent them from burning.
- Once the first 2 cups of water have evaporated, add the remaining water and allow the beans to cook until they become tender.
Create the flavored base
- Once the beans have become tender, gently stir in the coconut milk. Make sure it's mixed in well.
- Then, add the sliced onion, chopped scallions, fresh thyme, Scotch bonnet peppers, pimento seeds, margarine, Maggi seasoning, and salt. Again, give the ingredients a good stir.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and leave it to cook for 20 minutes. Stir it often to prevent it from burning. Remember to scrape the sides and base so the flavors are completely blended.
- Finally, add the sugar and boil the mixture for 10 minutes.
Add and cook the rice
- Once the rice mixture is the same color as the beans and has a thick stew-like consistency, it's time to add the washed white rice.
- The rice should be 1 inch below the liquid line. So, if there isn't enough water, add a little bit more. Make sure to stir the ingredients well to check the water level before adding more.
- Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the rice to simmer. Keep an eye on the mixture to prevent it from burning.
- Once all of the liquid has evaporated, lower the heat to the lowest possible setting. Leave the rice to steam until it's cooked while stirring occasionally.
- Serve your Jamaican rice and peas immediately with your main dish and an accompanying sauce. You can serve it as a main dish or a side.
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