Caribbean Rice and Peas
This hearty meal (also known as rice and beans) is a rice dish that is most commonly cooked with either kidney beans or pigeon peas. The flavour is elevated by the addition of coconut milk, and I love to serve this with Jamaican style Jerk Chicken.
You can substitute the dried beans/peas with a can of drained kidney beans or pigeon/gungo peas.
Wash and soak the dried beans or peas overnight, and then boil until tender. Do not add salt to the boiling water as it may toughen up the beans. Drain and set aside. This can be done up to a couple of weeks ahead and frozen until needed.
Wash and then soak the rice for about 20-30 minutes.
Heat a pan, and then add the oil followed by the spring onions, red onions, garlic paste, thyme and chopped scotch bonnet pepper. Stir fry for a couple of minutes to get the flavours going and to soften the onions slightly. Next add the boiled kidney beans and stir them in. Then add the coconut milk, hot water, salt, black pepper, all spice and cinnamon powder. Stir and allow the beans to simmer in this flavourful liquid over low heat for about 3-5 minutes, giving everything a stir every now and again. This will give the beans a chance to fully absorb the great flavours.
Next, drain the soaked rice and add it in. Stir and check that the liquid covers the rice by about an inch. Cook over medium low heat, stirring every so often. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Once the liquid has mostly reduced, check that the rice is almost fully cooked. If it still feels too raw, drizzle in a splash of water. Cover with a tight lid and place the pan over very low heat and allow the rice to steam for about 10 minutes.
Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve with a side of Jerk Chicken.