Any time I’ve had peas and rice at a Jamaican restaurant I have been very underwhelmed. I usually just use it as a vehicle for any extra jerk sauce that might be on the table or within arms reach. But I wanted to make a full on Jamaican dinner for New Years and peas and rice is such a classic dish that I felt compelled to include it. I’m so glad I did. I think it was my favorite dish out of the whole meal. Yup, peas and rice. I am not sure what they are doing in restaurants that makes it so bland but the rice and peas I made were anything but.
In doing the research for this dish I discovered that Jamaican food uses a lot of habanero, green onion and thyme. The thyme kind of surprised me but I stoked that I now have another use for it!
Rich with Coconut
If I had to pinpoint what made this dish so freaking good I think I would have to say the coconut cream and the green onion. The coconut cream added a lot of richness and the subtle coconut flavor combined with the cooked green onion had me going back for seconds. It was fragrant, it was rich, it was delicious. And yes, it was great with jerk sauce too but certainly didn’t require it to be enjoyed.
The habanero added some flavor but not much heat since it wasn’t broken open.
I love that the peas turn the liquid a pink color which also turns the white rice pink! And it smelled amazing.
When I opened the pot to fluff the rice, the smell of rice, coconut and spices hit me and I knew that I had a winner. I will definitely make this again. And again. And again.
Serves 4-6 Adapted from Jamaica No Problem
- 1 can or red kidney beans (peas) or 3/4 cup of dried red kidney beans, soaked and cooked until tender
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk, cream separated from liquid
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon of thyme
- 2 cups of long grain rice like basmati, rinsed several times to remove extra starch
- 1 habanero pepper
- Salt to taste
- If using canned beans, drain liquid from beans into a bowl and save for later. If you used dried beans, drain them and also reserve the liquid for later, about 2 cups if you have it.
- In a large bowl combine the bean liquid and the water from the coconut milk. Add water if you need to to get to 4 cups.
- In a large pot melt the coconut cream with the red beans until the coconut cream is completely melted. Then add the 4 cups of liquid, green onions, thyme, salt and the habanero pepper.
- Bring the liquid to a boil and adjust the salt, adding more if it needs it. Then add the rice, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook the rice until all the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes.
- When the rice is cooked, remove the pepper and fluff the rice and peas.