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Rice and Peas - recipe needed

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Hi Everyone,
Now that I am married, and can try a whole bunch of different foods, I have come up completely flat in my attempts at making rice and peas (like you would eat in a Jamaican restaurant).
I tried using the recipe in my rice cooker manual but it came out horribly gross. Then I tried cooking red kidney beans, some tomato paste and long grain white rice together but my husband said that it was nowhere near what I was trying to achieve. In all honesty the second attempt was just as bad as the first and my husband forebade me from trying it again without a proper and decent recipe :S :)

Anyways, can you help me? Also, what beans do I use? I was using kidney beans but my husband insists that the rice we had in Jamaica was made with smaller red beans, so I went to the grocery store and purchased a can of small red Mexican beans.

Finally, I have to tell you that besides risotto, I can't cook rice. It always comes out terrible and that's why I love my rice cooker; perfect rice everytime....except when I'm trying to make rice and peas.

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  1. No no tomato paste!

    I only have a recipe from scratch... and you need a coconut!

    1 medium coconut
    4 cups of hot water
    1 cup dried kidney beans, rinsed
    1 clove garlic
    2 green onions, chopped
    3 cups Carolina rice
    1/4 tsp thyme
    1/4 tsp pepper

    Grate the coconut meat, then place in a strainer, and pour the hot water over, expressing the coconut milk. Pour two cups at a time, press the coconut meat to help get the milk out.

    Simmer the rinsed beans in the coconut milk with the garlic and cook until tender.
    Add the remaining ingredients (you may need to add a little more water). Simmer covvered, 20 -30 minutes, stirring one or two times, until all the water is absorbed.

    Now I'm sure you can google around and find recipes that substitue unsweetened canned coconut milk and canned beans. But this recipe is authentically from an old-school Jamaican auntie! As for the beans, kidney beans are very commonly used. You might occasionally get it with pigeon peas but I don't think in all the years that I lived in Jamaica, we ever had it made at home with anything but kidney beans.

    I have seen recipes that use a habanero pepper floating around in the pot, but really this was not a spicy dish, so I wouldn't use that.

    1. Here is the recipe for Rice and Peas that my son's Jamaican babysitter and our good friend makes for us when we are lucky. It is simple and delicious:

      Jamaican Rice and Peas

      Soak about ½ bag of Pigeon Peas (overnight or use the quick method)
      Cook until ½ done add one can of coconut milk. When close to done add two crushed cloves of garlic, 2 crushed scallions, 4 allspice seeds, thyme,1/2 teaspoon Old Bay, salt and pepper to taste and two cups of rice, and water. Cook until the rice is done.

      3 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        roxlet, that may be just what I was looking for! We just returned from St. Lucia and I fell in love with rice and peas.
        one day I had a different rice and peas, the peas were lentils, with lots of sauce (lentil juice?!?! lol) that was served over rice. I have no idea where to begin with that one. I've never cooked lentils before. :)

        1. re: roxlet

          I don't know about Jamaican style, but the distinctives of a Bahamian version is the use of pigeon peas (I've successfully used canned), and flavoring with thyme.

          1. re: paulj

            That's what I'm talking about! My husband and I debate this, (and the fact that it's "peas and rice"...) endlessly, my family being from Nevis/Trinidad, his from Jamaica, but since I'm the cook, pigeon peas are what I use. But they are harder to come by....