- Course: Main Course, Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 16 Times
Every Jamaican household, rich or poor, serves this nutritionally complete one-pot meal. It’s the backbone of this island’s cuisine, hence its moniker, “Jamaica Coat of Arms.” Along with fried plantains, it’s a Sunday lunch staple, yet for my money it’s a perfect choice all by itself for any meal any day. This basic recipe has many variations according to personal tradition. I prefer not to use Scotch bonnet pepper, keeping it as a sweet, smooth complement to the robustly spiced dishes.
- ½ pound dried red peas (kidney beans) or small red beans (1 cup)
- 6 to 8 cups coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 whole scallions, crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
- 2 teaspoons salt
1. Wash the beans thoroughly and place them in a medium-size saucepan with the coconut milk, black pepper, scallions and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until the beans are almost tender (adding water as needed to keep the beans covered). Remove the thyme (if using whole sprigs) and scallions. Add the rice and salt. If necessary, add more water so that the liquid is 1 inch above the rice. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff it with a fork. The grains of rice should easily separate and not be mushy.
© 2006 Lucinda Scala Quinn
Nutritional information is based on using 6 cups of coconut milk.