Jamaican Rice and "Peas"

I love when a recipe makes so much that we can have it for several nights in a row, plus maybe a lunch or two. That, and I also LOVE coconut milk, so this meal hit a lot of my bases.

The milk in this picture is no joke. That stuff was spicy! The recipe calls for you to just put a chile in the pot while everything is cooking, and it acts sort of like a bay leaf would (i.e., it adds flavor but you don't actually eat it). I meant to get a picture of our Jamaican pepper bobbing along in the pot, since it looked sort of like a tiny pumpkin.
Apparently the peas in this dish are usually substituted with red beans. I guess you could use either, but the beans add a lot of protein and other nutritional benefits.

All in all this was an easy, different sort of take on rice and beans, and very flavorful. We'll definitely make it again, and it only gets better left over. Somehow the combination of coconut milk and thyme was different from how I expected it to taste, and they go together really well. Also, we were out of fresh ginger, and the ground stuff just wasn't the same. I think the fresh ginger would make a huge difference, as would the lime juice we were also out of. But considering the fact that those two ingredients were missing, this was delightful.

Jamaican Rice and "Peas."
from Simply Recipes
  • 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)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet chile (can substitute a whole habanero)
  • Lime (optional)
  • Cilantro to garnish (optional)

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.

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

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. 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. Once done, remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes. To serve, fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with a little lime juice if you want. Discard the habanero.*

*Careful not to split it open in the process, since the seeds will go everywhere, which may lead to a moment of absolute terror (not that this happened to me or anything...).

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