Most people who are new to Caribbean cuisine at one point or the other, always end up trying to make Jamaican style rice and peas (peas and rice?). Sadly if you’re not seasoned at making rice and peas, it can be a bit challenging. You always risk ending up with rice which is overcooked and soggy. With this in mind, I decided to share a fool-proof way of cooking Jamaican rice and peas, with the same flavors and texture you’d get from the conventional method of cooking this dish. However we’ll employ the use of a rice cooker!
3 cups (rice cooker sized cup) brown par-boiled rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon thyme (fresh)
1 cup red beans (from a can)
1/4 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper (diced)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice (pimento berries)
* water according to your rice cooker directions for cooking brown rice
* treat the one cup of red beans as rice, so adjust your water according to the rice cooker instructions
Yes, it’s always confusing to people outside the Caribbean when we say rice and ‘peas” and technically we use red beans and not peas. Wash the rice.. either you put it in a deep bowl and pour cool water over it, massage it with your hands, then pour that cloudy water out. Repeat until the water is clear. I usually just put the rice in a strainer and allow water to flow through it, while I work my fingers through it. Basically the same.. till the water runs clear.
Place the washed rice into the rice cooker, then add all the other ingredients and give it a good stir. Then top with water according to your rice cooker’s instructions and set it on cook.
Half way through the cooking process, I like giving it a stir to make sure everything is mixed well and the heavy red beans don’t sink to the bottom of the rice cooker.
Please note that we have natural sugars from the rice and coconut milk so after the rice cooker is done cooking and goes into the ‘keep warm” cycle.. you may want to turn it off. If not it can start to ‘cake’ at the bottom of the rice cooker the longer it remains on the heat setting. Give it about 10 minutes after cooking, then take a fork and gently work the rice so you get what my Jamaican friends call “shelly” rice (grainy).
Basically this is the simplest way to make perfect Jamaican rice and peas, without the stress of ending up with soggy rice. Should you encounter any problems or need clarity on anything, do use the contact link (top of page) to get hold of me. If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Note: remember when handling scotch bonnet and other hot peppers, to wear gloves and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after.