“It is almost mandatory for this dish to be cooked in the Jamaican home at least once per week. It is usually had for Sunday dinner, which is when we have our version of Friday supper. Red kidney beans are also high in Omega-3 so this is the perfect vegan side dish that really could beconsumed as a one-pot meal!” -Kari Heron, Khaleej Times
1 cup dry red kidney beans or 1 can red kidney beans
2 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks green onions (whole length)
1 tsp sugar
1 whole green (or any other colour scotch bonnet pepper / habanero)
milk from 1 dry coconut or 1 can coconut cream *
2-4 tbsp coconut oil (substitute with butter)
1/tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
If cooking dry beans, soak overnight in 4 cups of water and 1/4 tsp baking soda and one clove garlic. We use the baking soda to reduce the problems of gas that some people have with peas. Keep in fridge until ready to cook. Drain water, remove garlic clove, and rinse in room temperature water.
If using canned beans, pour off half the liquid, then add to pot with thick and creamy coconut milk. I would suggest using at least 2 cups coconut cream (0r entire can) for flavour.
*If using canned coconut milk, use entire can. Be sure to get the cream but ensure you don’t buy the boxes of coconut cream because they usually come sweetened for use in pina colada and desserts.
When making coconut milk, you should yield 1 cup rich coconut milk. Set aside. Also wash your rice and set aside.
In a large pot, add 4 cups water and beans and bring to a boil then cover pot and reduce to a simmer. When almost cooked- may take hours depending on beans-add your rich coconut milk. Cook until soft then add thyme, green onions, sugar, salt, whole scotch bonnet/habanero, coconut oil and your rice and stir. The liquid should be 1 inch above the rice. You can top up with more coconut milk or water if needed. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and cook on low heat. Rice should be tender and all the liquid should be absorbed (think pelaf). Near end of cooking time, if rice is not quite cooked, place cling wrap over rice and cover and reduce flame until the rice steams to the right texture. Stir with fork before serving.
CHEF’S NOTE: A good rice and peas, like this one that our recipe will give you, is so tasty that it may be had as a delicious Vegan one pot meal (or stolen from the pot in a little bowl with a pat of butter when the Steward turns her back) or as a great side dish for Great with Oxtail Bean Stew, and Jerk Chicken or any meat dish.