Christmas/ Jamaican & Caribbean/ Main Dishes & Entrées/ Sides/ Thanksgiving/ Vegan

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice & Peas is a delicious, flavourful and quintessential Jamaican rice side dish recipe. Made using perfectly cooked rice and red kidney beans infused with flavours from a mix of thyme, escallion, pimento, scotch bonnet and garlic. The slight scotch bonnet heat is beautifully balanced with the creaminess of coconut milk. Serve with Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken or Jamaican Jerk Chicken (Quick & Easy Version) for the perfect side dish!

Jamaican Rice and Peas in white bowl on marbled surface

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Jamaican Rice & Peas is a delicious, flavourful and quintessential Jamaican rice side dish recipe. Made using perfectly cooked rice and red kidney beans infused with flavours from a mix of thyme, escallion, pimento, scotch bonnet and garlic. The slight scotch bonnet heat is beautifully balanced with the creaminess of coconut milk. Serve with Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken or Jamaican Jerk Chicken (Quick & Easy Version) for the perfect side dish!

Jamaican Rice & Peas in white bowl on marbled surface

Rice & Peas’ is guaranteed to be at every Jamaican/Caribbean family function – whether holiday parties, birthday and other milestone gatherings, and most definitely apart of the spread on Sunday! This traditional recipe is known for its aromatic features stemming from the use of thyme, coconut, garlic, pimento; and a slight heat from the scotch bonnet (that’s if it doesn’t burst). I grew up eating, and watching my mom prepare this dish, which is delicious, but my sisters is 2.0 – I can literally be eaten on it’s own! There are many variations (i.e. some use ginger, others don’t), and techniques, but this is mine, and I’m glad to share this passed down version.

How to Make Jamaican Rice and Peas

Soak Red Kidney Beans Overnight – Rinse beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Add fresh water, escallion, garlic, and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to soak overnight.

Boil Beans to Soften – in a large stock pot, add fresh water, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento seeds, salt and pour in overnight bean mixture (including the water, which is now infused with flavour) and bring to a boil over moderately high heat.

Add Coconut Milk – when beans tender, stir in coconut milk, seasoning, and allow to boil for 5-7 minutes.

Add Rice – add rinsed rice, cover and allow to simmer over low heat for about 20-30 mins or until liquid has absorbed; adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a very gentle simmer.

Let Steam – remove pot from the heat and let steam for 10 minutes, then discard the thyme sprigs, escallion, pimento seeds and scotch bonnet.

Fluff – using a fork, fluff the rice and beans. Serve while hot and enjoy!

TSS Tip – after adding rice to pot, liquid should reach about an inch higher when the rice has settled. White rice – approx. 1 inch, brown rice – approx. 2 inches above.

Other Methods of Making Jamaican Rice and Peas

There are many methods of making Jamaican Rice and Peas, however this recipe calls to soak dried kidney beans overnight, then boil on stovetop to soften. Other methods include:

  • Rice Cooker – pressure cook or use canned red kidney beans then add all ingredients in a rice cooker to finish.
  • Oven – pressure cook, or soak the beans overnight, boil on stovetop then finish in the oven.
  • Pressure Cooker – pressure cook beans to soften, then finish on stovetop or in the oven.

TSS Tip – Grace Chicken Noodle Soup Mix provides great flavour

Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe Tips and Tricks

Soak your Beans – this will lessen the amount of time it will take for your beans to become tender when cooking.

Type of Peas – typically this dish is made with Red Kidney Beans, this is what gives off the reddish tint. However, you can also substitute with green pigeon peas (aka gungo peas).

Liquid to Rice – you can always add more water, if you’re finding that all the liquid has absorbed but the rice is still not cooked. It’s better to have less, and add more, than to have too much and end up with mushy rice. When you have added your rice to the pot, liquid should be an about an inch (roughly the first marking from the tip of your index finger) higher when the rice has settled. White rice – approx. 1 inch, brown rice – approx. 2 inches above.

Low Simmer – once the rice has been added, you should only be cooking on a low heat; a slight simmer. If not, you burn your rice. Slow and steady is the name of the game.

TSS Tip: Make it #vegan or #vegetarian by eliminating the chicken bouillon and using seasoning salt!

Jamaican Rice and Peas Bowls

What to Eat with Jamaican Rice & Peas

Jamaican Jerk Chicken (Quick & Easy Version) & Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Last Minute Rice and Peas Tips

  1. If using Pure Creamed Coconut, break off 2 generous chunks to fill middle of hand – a little less than half the block if using the Grace Brand.
  2. Use the back of a large chef/ butcher knife to crush garlic.
  3. Some beans are harder than others, if you see some floating to the top when boiling, add a tbsp or two of cold water to sink the beans. This will ensure all beans are evenly cooked through.
  4. Although using canned Red Kidney Beans is the quicker option, it does lack the deep flavour that comes from the soak and boil method. The soak then boil method combined with the herbs, spices and seasonings strengthens the flavour. Also, the colour of the dish with be more of a pale red. If you use, season well.

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Jamaican Rice & Peas

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Jamaican & Caribbean // Sides Jamaican & Caribbean
By Taneisha Morris Serves: 5
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Jamaican Rice & Peas is a delicious, flavourful and quintessential Jamaican rice side dish recipe. Made using perfectly cooked rice and red kidney beans infused with flavours from a mix of thyme, escallion, pimento, scotch bonnet and garlic. The slight scotch bonnet heat is beautifully balanced with the creaminess of coconut milk. Serve with Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken or Jamaican Jerk Chicken (Quick & Easy Version) for the perfect side dish!

Ingredients

  • Soaking Beans
  • 1 cup Dried Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 Escallion or Green Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 3 Thyme Sprigs
  • Jamaican Rice & Peas
  • 2 cups Water, or more as needed
  • 1 Whole Scotch Bonnet
  • 5 Pimento Seeds (Whole Allspice Balls)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, more ot less to taste
  • 1 tbsp Grace Chicken Noodle Soup Mix (only seasoning - not noodles), Chicken Bouillon, or Seasoning Salt
  • ¾ can Coconut Milk, see notes section
  • 2 cups Uncooked Parboiled Rice or White, Jasmine or Basmati Rice

Instructions

1

Rinse beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Add fresh water, escallion, garlic, and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to soak overnight.

2

In a large pot, add water, scotch bonnet, pimento seeds, salt and pour in bean mixture (including the water, which is now infused with flavour). Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally. Ensure there is enough water to cover the beans - you may need to add an additional cup of water at the halfway point. The boiling process to cook the beans, will take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour depending on how long you've soaked your beans.

3

When beans tender, stir in coconut milk, seasoning, and allow to boil for 5-7 minutes. Add rinsed rice, cover and simmer over low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until liquid has absorbed; adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a very gentle simmer.

4

Remove from the heat and let steam for 10 minutes, then discard the thyme sprigs, escallion, pimento seeds and scotch bonnet.

5

Using a fork, fluff the rice and beans. Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

Rule of thumb: after adding rice to pot, water should be about an inch higher when the rice has settled. White rice - approx. 1 inch, brown rice - approx. 2 inches above.

Jamaican Rice and Peas in white bowl on marbled surface

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