Rice and Peas

Preparation info

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Recipes from Brixton Village

Recipes from Brixton Village

By Miss South

Published 2014

  • About
Etta’s Seafood Kitchen

Jamaica is famed for this dish. Contrary to its name, it doesn’t feature garden peas but uses pulses such as kidney beans or gungo peas. The colour of the finished dish depends on which you use: kidney beans make it brown and gungo peas more green.

This is a simple but very tasty dish, originally cooked on Sundays in Jamaica but equally delicious any day of the week.


  • 1 × 400 g tin kidney beans or gungo peas (or 250g dried)
  • 500 g rice, white or brown
  • 250 g block of creamed coconut
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 litre cold water
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, left whole


If using dried pulses, soak them overnight, then drain them and cover with fresh water in a large pan. Bring to the boil and cook for about an hour until tender, then drain. Do not add salt when boiling the pulses as this toughens them.

Wash the rice in cold water until the water runs clear: this removes the starch. Brown rice is lovely in this dish as the grains fatten up and don’t stick together, but it will take slightly longer to cook.

Chop up the coconut cream and put it in a large pan with the spring onions, garlic, thyme, sugar and salt. Add 50 ml of the water and put the pan over a low heat until the coconut cream has melted. Add the drained rice to the pot and pour over the remaining 950 ml of water. Put in the whole scotch bonnet pepper and bring to the boil.

Cover the pan with aluminium foil and put the lid on top as well. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 30 minutes, resisting the temptation to open the foil or lid. This allows the rice to absorb the steam, and helps each grain remain separate.

Serve the rice and peas with steamed fish or curry. It is designed to be a side dish, but it always becomes the star of the show.