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Delicious Jamaican Rice And Peas

Jamaican rice and peas– The name says it all! This Jamaican classic is a mixture of rice and peas cooked in coconut milk. It’s an elegant dish that is so easy to put together. It makes an excellent side meal and I am sure it will become a favorite once you try it. This is the type of recipe that is worth mastering at home!

Freshly cooked Jamaican Rice and Peas in a pot

Rice and Peas

Rice and peas is a staple in Jamaican cuisine. It’s a dish that is reminiscent of the Nigerian rice and beans but with more seasoning and spices. It can be served as a main dish or side with coleslaw, plantain, Cilantro Lime Chicken or Jamaican jerk chicken. I also love to pair this dish up with curry chicken sauce. So good!

This dish is often served on Sundays in Jamaica, but I will say this dish is perfect for any day or any occasion, so when choosing a weekend, party, or holiday table, don’t pass on this one.

I’ve never been shy about professing my undying affection for rice; that is why I’ve got tons of rice recipes on this site like coconut rice, jollof rice, one-pot chicken and rice, and more rice recipes!

Jamaican Rice and Peas served with Jerk Chicken

Ingredients in Jamaican Rice and Peas

  • Aromatics: These impart deep flavors into the dish. For this dish, I used onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, and chopped pepper. Freshly minced garlic and freshly grated ginger work best.
  • Spices – salt, pepper, and allspice. Whats an authentic Jamaican rice and peas recipe without allspice? A little goes a long way, but don’t skip it.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper – Habanero peppers can also be used. 
  • Coconut milk – The coconut milk adds a distinct fragrant flavor to the rice and peas; however, the taste is not overwhelming; it’s a mild, sweet, and nutty flavor that you’ll really love.
  • Rice – The traditional Rice used in this recipe is the long-grain white rice, but I made this with basmati rice. Feel free to use any good rice of your choice, but bear in mind that different rice cooks at different times.
  • Red kidney beans – Don’t get confused; red kidney beans are ‘beans,’ but Jamaicans refer to this as peas. I used dry peas (kidney beans), but you can use the canned or frozen peas if you are short of time.

How to make Jamaican Rice and Peas

The conventional to make this dish is to use dry peas (kidney beans), but you can use the canned or frozen peas if you are short of time.

  • Sort and rinse the beans.
  • Soak them overnight to reconstitute them. This will result in less cooking time. If not soaked, an additional 30 minutes will be required.
  • Cook them for about 1 hour if soaked and about 1 hour 30 minutes if not previously soaked.
  • Add the rice: Add the rice and cook till tender.
  • Fluff and serve

Jamaican Rice and Peas in a pot

What is Jamaican Rice and Peas?

Jamaican Rice and peas is a staple dish of the Island. Thyme, scallion, and garlic are three main ingredients that are always present in this dish.

Apart from these three main ingredients, allspice must also be present in this dish. The flavor of this rice dish is also intensified by the addition of allspice which gives this dish an earthy flavor.

Scotch bonnet pepper is also added, and this gives the dish a slightly fruity flavor. The seeds in the peppers are not exposed, so the heat provided by the pepper is subtle.

The rice and peas are then cooked in coconut milk or coconut cream, and this lends the dish a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

Can I use canned Beans?

Yes, you can. I have added the instructions on how to cook rice and peas with canned beans. 

Rice and peas served with jerk chicken and plantain

Notes:

  1. Chicken stock helps to heighten the flavor of this dish. However, you can use water together with one bouillon cube if you don’t have chicken stock.
  2. It’s important to allow the peas to soften before adding the rice: It takes an average of 1 hour (if soaked) to 1 hour 30 minutes (if not soaked) for the peas to get the desired soft and creamy texture.
  3. I used dry peas, but if you are short of time, you can also use canned or frozen beans. 
  4. Also, I did not soak my peas overnight, but soaking it overnight will reduce it’s cooking time.  
  5. I used canned coconut milk in this recipe, but you can make your own coconut milk yourself by grinding the coconut flesh in a blender and squeezing out the liquid through a cheesecloth. 
  6. If you choose to use canned coconut as I did, be sure it’s unsweetened.
  7. PLEASE use full cream coconut milk, so that the coconut flavor can shine through. Do not use lite coconut milk. The lite taste of the coconut milk will fade away in the dish.
  8. Cook the beans on low heat in order to prevent water drying up too quickly. Also, this will help the beans cook evenly.
  9. Steam rice on low heat this will help the rice cook evenly.

Some of our Jamaican Favorite recipe

Freshly cooked Jamaican Rice and Peas in a pot

Delicious Jamaican Rice And Peas

This Jamaican classic is a mixture of rice and peas cooked in coconut milk. It’s an elegant side dish that is so easy to put together. I am sure it will become a favorite once you try it.
4.60 from 20 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Island, jamaican
Keyword: Peas, rice, Rice and Peas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 People
Calories: 0kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight or for 6-8 hours
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced into halves each
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 14 oz can coconut milk unsweetened full cream
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt or add to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter optional

Instructions

  • Sort and rinse the kidney beans. Rinse and drain. Then put the beans inside a large bowl, cover with enough water to totally submerge the beans, and leave to soak overnight (see instructions below for the no-soak method and the canned method).
  • Drain the peas and put them in a large pot. Add chicken stock, thyme sprigs, and garlic. Leave to cook for 1 hour or till the beans become tender.
  • Add the rice (rinsed and drained), onion, spring onion, ginger, coconut milk, scotch bonnet pepper, allspice, and salt. Stir well to combine.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Remove the habanero peppers and thyme leftovers.
  • Add the butter (if using) and fluff with a fork and serve with Jamaican jerk chicken and plantain.

No soak method

  • Bring the beans to a rapid boil for about 15 minutes on high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and leave to cook for another 45 minutes or till the beans become tender. (Sometimes, it requires an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Continue with the remaining steps above. Or skip pre-cooking the beans entirely by using canned beans and continue from step 3

Nutrition

Calories: 0kcal

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Recipe Rating




Dara

Wednesday 17th of August 2022

Thanks! Recipe turned out pretty good. My only critique is that the canned beans instructions aren't clear. "Continuing from point 3", means that there is no stock, thyme, or garlic in the recipe... leaves me guessing as to how much and at what point to put these in there if not cooking the beans.

Maria

Monday 4th of July 2022

Trying this for the first time. Is there a good substitute for the coconut milk? Maybe just extra chicken broth ? My husband hates coconut to my dismay 😉

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Monday 25th of July 2022

Maria, sorry about that. You can prepare Jamaican rice and peas without coconut milk. Substitute it for water or extra chicken broth. The only difference is that you won't have that coconut flavor.

Cheesecake

Thursday 10th of March 2022

My way is to cook the dark kidney beans with water for about 30 minutes, then add 1 can of coconut milk and cook until soft.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Friday 6th of May 2022

That is great.

Daisy

Sunday 13th of February 2022

Do Jamaicans call kidney beans peas ?

Donna G

Sunday 12th of December 2021

Hi Nola! I made this recipe for a business that I cook for once a week. I get to make anything I want for 12 people so I have been going around the world so to speak, making recipes from different states and countries. I also used your Jamaican Jerk chicken recipe to go with it. Both FANTASTIC!!! They all loved it! I toned down the heat a bit but it was a winner!! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!!