Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe

Why This Recipe Works

  • Coconut milk provides richness (to not point out its wonderful taste).
  • A mixture of allspice, scallions, thyme, ginger, and Scotch bonnet pepper infuses the rice with a delicate depth.

Rice and peas to Jamaicans, peas and rice on different islands—irrespective of the identify, dishes composed of rice and peas or beans play a major function as a mainstay of the diets on most islands of the Caribbean. Rice and peas is believed to have come to Jamaica throughout the Trans-Atlantic slave commerce from West Africa, the place rice was a staple of the native weight loss plan.

Critical Eats / Vicky Wasik

Enslaved Africans who arrived within the colonies introduced with them components and cooking strategies from dwelling, which they handed to their descendants born on the plantations. As Sundays have been the one days on the plantations that the enslaved had free, rice and peas is usually believed to have been consumed on a Sunday, as it might have been a extra labor-intensive and time-consuming dish to arrange the remainder of the week. This custom continues at present. Whereas rice and peas is out there on most restaurant and cookshop menus throughout Jamaica and is loved throughout the week, it nonetheless seems as an important and, one may say, essential, element of a Jamaican Sunday lunch in properties all throughout the island. 

Jamaican rice and peas is notable from different rice and bean dishes for 2 distinct traits: colour and taste. Our rice and peas is made with what we in Jamaica name crimson peas, in any other case referred to as kidney beans, which, when soaked and boiled in coconut milk, colour the rice and the pot’s contents with a lightweight reddish brown hue. The flavour of Jamaican rice and peas is the opposite unforgettable trait. A delicate, barely candy coconut aroma encompasses each chew; this, mixed with Jamaica’s important quintet of seasonings—Scotch bonnet, thyme, scallion, ginger, and garlic—provides as much as a memorable addition to any meal.

Critical Eats / Vicky Wasik

After the peas soak in a single day, they’re boiled till tender in a pot of water and coconut milk seasoned with salt, garlic, and a bit of mashed ginger (ginger is optionally available, however we love the zing it provides to the ultimate dish). At this level, the rice is added, together with extra seasonings: just a few sprigs of thyme, pimento, scallion, and one entire Scotch bonnet pepper. The pot is roofed and turned right down to simmer, and the rice, peas, and seasonings prepare dinner collectively till the water is absorbed. The top result’s a dish of chic perfection—when you get crispy rice on the underside, even higher. Jamaicans name it bun bun, and it’s typically a coveted aspect of the dish.  

Critical Eats / Vicky Wasik


For a lot of Jamaicans, rice and peas is made even higher by the addition of a spoonful, or three, of no matter gravy that goes with the protein on the desk; in actual fact, it could possibly be thought-about the spotlight of the meal. Rice and peas is a superb complement to any menu that requires a rice dish of substance to boost proteins like beef, rooster, lamb, or pork. Our household all the time cooks a roast leg of lamb for Christmas dinner, and whereas we love the traditional accompaniment of  roasted potatoes, all of us want our rice and peas, particularly when laced with scrumptious lamb gravy. 

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