There are various versions of rice and peas throughout the Caribbean. They all share the same core flavours of coconut and thyme. Although called rice and peas, the dish is usually made with kidney beans rather than peas.
Most recipes will tell you to use tinned coconut milk but I find that can give a slightly soggy or sticky result. I prefer to make my own coconut water which gives light, fluffy grains but still has plenty of coconut flavour.
This rice dish is an excellent accompaniment to just about any grilled, roasted or BBQed foods – especially jerked dishes.
This dish is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
For the coconut water…
Unsweetened desiccated coconut filled to the 10 fl oz mark in a measuring jug, covered with boiling water to the 20 fl oz mark.
Pour the boiling water over the coconut and leave to macerate for 40 minutes. Sieve into a clean jug, squeezing the coconut pulp to remove all the liquid. Discard the pulp.
For the finished dish…
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp dried thyme
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 2 pieces
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 fl oz long grain rice
15 fl oz stock made up with the coconut water topped up with vegan stock to make 15 fl oz in all
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Heat the oil and sauté the onion until soft, approx 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, chilli, ginger, salt and pepper and sauté for a further 1 minute then add the rice and stir gently to coat the grains.
Add the stock and kidney beans, bring to a simmer and simmer covered until the rice is tender, approx 20 to 30 minutes. (Check the rice after 20 minutes and add a little boiling water if it is starting to catch.)
Remove the ginger before serving and check the seasoning. Rice dishes like this can take quite a lot of salt.
This dish can be cooked ahead and stored in the fridge until needed. To reheat, place in a microwave-proof bowl, loosely cover with cling film and cook on high for 5 minutes.