Not Just Tofu

Recipe: Quick Rice and Peas

In Cooking Tips, Recipe, sides on October 18, 2010 at 4:58 am

I think I mentioned before that I was raised by Jamaican parents.  God bless them, they are 2 of the best cooks I know.  I can honestly say it is because of my parents why I love to cook.   West Indian  have great vegetarian dishes that I hope to share with you.  For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit Jamaica you probably have tasted one of the nation’s staple side dish of rice and peas.  I get asked this question all the time, “Why is it rice and peas and not rice and beans?”  I don’t know, it is just what we do.  Unfortunately I don’t have time to make the classic version of rice and peas so I make a quick version which beats eating plain white rice anyday.  The original recipe requires cooking dry small red peas for two hours and adding rice, coconut milk, allspice, thyme and a Scotch Bonnet pepper aka Habanero pepper. I am too busy for that.

My recipe is delicious and best of all it is quick.  I use canned beans instead of dry beans that will cook with the rice.  The original dish of rice and peas has a tint which doesn’t come through with canned beans so I add paprika.  Whenever you make Rice and Peas, remember my mother’s advice “season it like you would season meat” that way it always taste great.  The true test of really good rice and peas is that it can be eaten all by itself. 


  • 2 cups of white rice
  • 1 can of small red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 green scallion, whole
  • 1 branch of Thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp of Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp of Paprika
  • 1 tsp of Seasoning Salt
  • salt and pepper


  1. Medium Stock Pot
  2. Wooden Spoon
  3. Measuring Cup


  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil
  • Add rice to the boiling water, return to a boil
  • Stir in coconut milk, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika(for color) seasoning salt
  • Tuck into the rice the thyme and scallion that you beat with the wooden spoon
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium low (the sugar in the coconut milk can cause the rice to burn, watch your fire)
  • Cook till liquids have evaporated and rice is tender.  Add water if necessary


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