Jamaicans eat Rice and Peas like Americans eat mashed potatoes. Its a comfort food and a staple of the islander diet. Its base of coconut milk and beans makes it a hearty meal all by itself. In addition, it is a great way to cool the tongue when served with a spicy main dish.
In Jamaica they prefer Gungo peas, but they are hard to find stateside, so kidney beans are often used instead.
1 can coconut milk (Mae Ploy and Chaokoah brands have the most cream and are best)
1 bag of dry or 1 can Gungo peas or kidney beans
1 large onion
3 sprigs thyme
1 tbs salt (depends on your salt sensitivity)
1 tbs black pepper
1 whole scotch bonnet
2 tbs vegetable or olive oil
3 cups long grain rice
Soak beans overnight if using dry beans.
- In a medium pot, bring oil up to a simmer under medium heat.
Saute onion and thyme till translucent
- Add coconut milk, salt and pepper to pot. Simmer a few minutes till it thickens slightly. You should see the oil separate from the cream as you stir.
- Drain beans and add to coconut milk. Add in whole scotch bonnet.
- Simmer around 15 - 30 minutes till beans soften and are easy to mash. Dry beans will take a bit longer than canned.
- Cook beans till coconut milk takes on a pink color. Remove scotch bonnet. Then slowly stir in rice.
- Add water till coconut milk and water mixture is about 1 inch above rice line.
- Cover and simmer over medium low heat till rice is soft but not mushy. About 20 minutes
Serve dish itself or with a main like Evil Jerk chicken, Irie Ital Stew, or various Curries.