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Jamaican rice and peas



Jamaican rice and peas

In my family, rice and peas were made with gungo peas or kidney beans. The ingredients for rice and peas vary from family to family, across the generations and islands of the Caribbean, but it’s always made with love.



  • 300g/10½oz dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight, or 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
  • 600g/1lb 12oz long-grain rice or basmati rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • large bunch fresh or dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200ml/7fl oz coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or gravy browning
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g/1¾oz creamed coconut, broken into pieces
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 spring onions, chopped



  1. Drain the soaked kidney beans. Tip them into a large saucepan and add fresh water to cover them by 8–10cm/about 3½in. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes and then simmer for 1 hour until the beans are tender but not completely soft.

  2. Rinse the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pan and stir to mix with the beans. (If using tinned kidney beans, add the beans and their liquid to the rice.) Add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, coconut milk, soy sauce, salt (skip the salt if using the liquid from tinned beans as this is very salty) and pepper and simmer over a low–medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring gently from time to time to ensure the rice does not stick. If necessary, top up with boiling water to keep the liquid about 15mm/⅝in above the rice.

  3. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting and add the creamed coconut, Scotch bonnet and allspice. Cover with a lid and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice doesn’t stick. Add more water if necessary if the rice grains are still hard.

  4. When the rice is fully cooked, remove the Scotch bonnet and thyme sprigs. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Sprinkle with the spring onions.



Jamaican rice and peas

Jamaican rice and peas

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