Coconut Rice and Beans

JamaicanRice

Long grain rice, cooked in coconut milk with beans, a favorite side dish of Jamaica.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When doing research for our recent Jamaican goat curry recipe, what came up most often as an accompaniment was something those from Jamaica call “rice and peas”. (Several commenters suggested this dish too.)

Traditionally the “peas” are pigeon peas, often substituted with kidney beans (which is what we are using). The rice is cooked in coconut milk.

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Oh my gosh. This is one of those I-can’t-wait-to-make-it-again dishes. Think of it as a Caribbean version of a Cajun red beans and rice.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Our version is a little different from the traditional rice and peas in that we sauté onion and garlic to start the recipe, then add a little fresh grated ginger for added zing.

Serve it with curry, roasted meats, jerk chicken or all by itself. The rice is especially good with a little lime juice sprinkled on to serve.

Coconut Rice and Beans Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

The chile is cooked whole with the rice and is there just for a bit of flavor. It doesn't make the rice hot at all, as it stays whole and you discard it at the end.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet chile (can substitute a whole habanero)
  • Lime (optional)

Method

1 Sauté onions: Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until they begin to brown on the edges.

2 Add garlic and rice: Add the garlic and rice, stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

3 Add remaining ingredients: Add the grated ginger, salt, water, stock and coconut milk and stir well. Add the kidney beans and sprinkle the thyme over everything. Add the whole Scotch bonnet chile (or habanero); it will season the rice much like a bay leaf would.

4 Cook: Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cover. The rice should be done in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the type of rice you are using (some long grained rice takes longer to cook). Check after 15 minutes.

5 Remove from heat, cover: Once done, remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes.

6 Serve: Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with a little lime juice if you want. Discard the habanero (or eat it, if you dare!)

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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54 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Josephine

    Can’t tell you how tasty this rice is. It’s a meal in itself! Served it with goat curry. I made it in a lidded frying pan and it came out perfect. I did tweak it a bit regarding spices but that was because I didn’t have the ingredients. It’s very versatile. Just keep the liquid and rice ratio equal and you can’t go wrong. I can imagine this would be nice if you added fish near the end of cooking and had it as a main meal

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Stu

    I’m a Jamaican living in the US and this afternoon, I just had a hankering for some “rice and peas”. I didn’t have all the traditional ingredients in my pantry, but I did have a can of kidney beans and a can of coconut milk. I didn’t even have fresh ginger to grate or a scotch bonnet pepper. So instead I used “squeeze ginger” and some Sriracha.

    It came out GREAT. I loved the flavor profile of this recipe. Was it the traditional Jamaican recipe? No, but it was something I made in 30 minutes from start to finish (and my finger tips and knuckles are still in tact since no grating was involved) and it tasted great and satisfied my craving for Jamaican rice and peas.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  3. Deborah

    I don’t know what happened. My rice did not cook evenly. I had soggy rice and hard grains. By any chance do you use parboiled? Way to much garlic in my opinion.
    Sorry

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  4. Nom nom nom

    Made this today, used black eyes peas just because I don’t like kidney beans. Really great side for grilled jerk chicken. It’s going to be made time and time again, thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Princess

    This is far from how it is done in Jamaica. Traditionaly, the milk of the freshly grated bone dry coconut along with the dried red Kidney beans (called red peas in Jamaica), are placed in a pot and allowed to boil until the peas are tender. Seasoning , including thyme , garlic, spring onion and scotch bonnet pepper are added then the long grain rice is added to the pot and allowed to cook.

    This method gives a nice flavour and the traditional colour to the rice. Your ‘coconut rice and beans’ look nothing like the Jamaican rice and peas. Well at least you didn’t call it ‘Jamaican rice and peas’ . Jamaicans would be quite upset if you did. In fact some would be furious!

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