Whether you call it Jamaican rice and peas or beans and rice, this popular Jamaican side dish takes experience to bring out the authentic Jamaican flavors and textures. But if you follow this recipe, you will become a guest pleaser at your next dining event.
Nutrition Benefits of Jamaican Rice and Peas
Rice and peas are perfect for vegetarians, vegans, or those who follow a plant-based lifestyle. In addition, this is a complete meal by itself. It is a good source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
What To Server With Rice and Peas?
Jamaican Rice and Peas are most often served as a side dish with fish, chicken, or red meats, and a side of cooked or raw vegetables to make a perfectly healthy meal for family and friends.
They are usually cooked in large quantities because some love to see a mountain of this delicious side on their plate. In addition, it is a highly requested side dish at many Jamaican dining events.
What’s the difference between Peas and Beans?
I have spent my entire life calling this dish “rice and peas”. Some Caribbean nations and countries referred to this dish as “beans and rice. But there is no other country that can match or exceed the flavors of authentic Jamaican rice and peas.
Is There A Difference Between Peas and Beans?
Ask Any Difference showcases a detailed explanation of the differences between peas and beans. According to the above post, while peas and beans are from the same family of seeds, there are slight physical differences. This makes them more difficult to differentiate and categorize.
Beans are broader kidney-shaped and are mostly red or white in color. In comparison, peas are usually green and oval in shape.
Do you think that Jamaicans are wrong for calling this dish rice and peas and not rice and beans? I guess Jamaicans gives the family of seeds the general name of peas.
However, don’t let the minor differences between peas and beans over complicate and deter you from making these healthy seeds part of your weekly meal plan.
What To Do With Left Over Rice and Peas/Beans?
Leftover rice and peas taste better as the ingredients continue to marry each other in the refrigerator. My favorite way to reuse rice and beans is to make a bowl of delicious fried rice. You can also check out the recipe for Food Explora’s Fried Rice by clicking HERE.
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Here are two of my posts on Instagram showcasing 2 rice dishes that you will also enjoy.
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Authentic Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe.
Here are all the ingredients you will need.
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How To Make An Authentic Jamaican Rice And Peas.
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Cups
- 16 oz Dried Small Red Beans (1 bag)
- 3 cups Parboil Rice
- 12 cups Tap Water
- 5 cups Freshly Squeezed Coconut Milk
- 2 tbsp Pimento Seeds or All-Spice
- 5 cloves Fresh Garlic, smashed
- 2 tsp. Thyme, dried or 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 thumb size Fresh Ginger, sliced
- 2 sprigs Scallion or Green Onions (quartered)
- 1 dried Coconut (medium to large)
- 2 tsp. Salt
- 1 medium Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Let's Make Coconut Milk
- This step can be done the day before and stored in the refrigerator.
- Traditionally in Jamaica, dried coconut is cracked open by hitting it on a stone or hard surface. We make sure to capture the coconut water for a refreshing drink later. If you do not have access to dried coconut, you may use the links above to purchase canned or powdered coconut milk. But trust me, freshly squeezed coconut milk is always the best tasting.
- For this recipe, a hammer was used to open the coconut. In a kitchen towel, hold coconut and carefully use the hammer to initiate a crack along with the hard shell of the coconut. If you want to be more careful, place coconut on a kitchen towel on the floor for support and carefully hit with the hammer.
- Once a crack is formed, use a knife to pry open the crack to empty the coconut water into a bowl or cup.
- Use the hammer to further break the coconut into smaller manageable pieces. In the same kitchen towel, hold each piece of coconut for support and carefully use the blade of a dinner knife to insert in between the meat of the coconut and shell. Gently lift the knife to release and remove the coconut meat from the shell.
- Once all the white coconut meat pieces are removed, wash them under warm running water. Dice into small to medium pieces. Coconut used in this Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe, yielded about 3 cups diced coconut.
- In 3 cups of warm water, blend on high for 2-3 minutes. Strain coconut milk into a bowl using a strainer or cheesecloth. Do not discard the pulp or "trash" as most Jamaicans call it. This can be used to make a delicious coconut cake dessert. See the recipe link below.
Prepare And Cook The Rice and Peas
- Traditionally, red kidney beans are used to make rice and peas. However, I opted to use these small red peans. They do not taste significantly different. I find the small red beans to be firmer and hold their shape when cooked compared to kidney beans tend to easily fall apart when cooked.
- Wash peas under warm running water. In a saucepan, soak peas/beans in 12 cups of tap water at room temperature overnight to help soften them.
- On high flame, cook red beans for 30-40 minutes or until soft or easily crushed. The bean water should be red in color.
- Lower flame to medium and add coconut milk to the cooked red peas and stir. To season the peas, add cut ginger, scallion, pimento, thyme, salt, and whole scotch bonnet pepper; allow to continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes.
- In this recipe, I used parboil rice. I love to use this rice because it allows for shelly and fluffier rice and peas. However, any rice can be used. You will have to adjust the water or liquid content of the recipe depending on the type of rice you use.
- Add the 3 cups of parboil rice and stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow to simmer over low flame for another 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated leaving behind very fluffy rice and peas. You can remove the scotch bonnet pepper from peas broth before it burst if you cannot handle the heat. The pepper burst in mine, but with just a slight hint of heat.
- Turn off flame and serve warm. Serves about 8-10 people.
Food Explora Cooking Tips:(1) Small amounts of warm water or coconut milk can be poured over rice and peas to further cook the rice as needed. (2) Fresh thyme is most often used in this dish. However, I did not have any so the dried thyme in my pantry was used instead. (3) To help release some of the oils and juices, the scallions can be crushed using your hands or a mallet before adding to the pot. For this recipe, I slit each stalk of scallion down the length and then cut into hale to obtain 4 pieces. (4) Canned coconut milk or dried coconut milk powder can also be use as a replacement in this recipe. You may need about two cans or 2 packets of coconut powder to equate the amount of coconut milk needed for this recipe. (5) A pressure cooker can be used to cook beans and shorten their cooking time. (6) If you are planning on cooking a meat dish with this rice and beans, you may want to prepare and cook at the same time that the peas is cooking
Storing And Reheating Rice and Peas.(7) The rice and Peas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or in a freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw and then reheat in a microwave for 3-5 minutes. Jamaicans back in the days never used recipes with measurements to cook this famous Jamaican rice and peas. With watching my family members cook this dish on a regular basis, in addition to my years of experince cooking rice and peas, I develop the cooking instinct on how much ingredients to use. I believe this recipe is a reflection of the love and culinary swag I put into the creation of my recipes. https://www.food-explora.com/easy-vegan-carrot-coconut-grater-cakes-dessert-snack/
Jamaican Rice & Peas.
Jamaican Rice and Peas
Jamaican Rice and Beans
Below are some other interesting rice dishes that you may find interesting. Click on each name or picture to learn more about the recipe.
Deddy's Kitchen is one of my favorite Jamaican Youtubers. Here are their take on traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas.
I would love to know what you think. Please leave a comment and star rating. What is your favorite peas and beans?
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13 thoughts on “Follow This Recipe For Cooking The Perfect Jamaican Rice And Peas.”
Love this recipe. Rice and Peas are a family favourite but I could never find a recipe that tasted authentic until I found this one. This recipe is truly the best I have tried.
Ahhh the detailed instructions were super helpful! thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!
Holy Cow! This rice looks absolutely out of this world! My mouth is literally watering thinking about it.
Oh my days this looks and sounds absolutely delicious! You always share some amazing recipes here on your blog. I’ll for sure be making this asap and sharing with my family. Thank you so much for sharing Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
I’ve traveled to Jamaica once in the past and I’ve always wanted to learn how to make food from the country. Great recipe!
I love that you are including dried beans (and how to soak them!), plus cooking with a whole coconut! Thank you!!
Looks so good. Can’t wait to make it!
Thanks for dropping by Andrew. Hope you get to make it. Hope to see you again soon.
This looks absolutely amazing! I will definitely be making this for my family sometime very soon!
Thank you Danielle. Hope you get to make it soon.
Love the spices! And my husband would appreciate the scotch bonnet but I might have to add that in just for him haha. Thank you for sharing!
This looks and sounds AMAZING! My wife isn’t too keen on coconut, but I personally LOVE it! I’ll be making this for the next Family Potluck we do! I’m sure it will be a HIT! 5⭐!!!
Thank You. Hope you get to make it soon. The coconut milk is a very important ingredient in the Jamaican Rice and Peas