Rice and Peas 8.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Nov 19, 2017

Learning to make this Caribbean-inspired side dish -- with its fluffy jasmine rice, coconut milk, peas or beans and slow hit of pepper heat -- is a rite of passage for her family's cooks, says Washington Post staffer Nia Decaille. Over the years, her family has taken to using kidney beans instead of pigeon peas.

The original recipe called for a Scotch bonnet pepper, which can be hard to find. Habanero is suitable here.

Make Ahead: The dish can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Reheat, covered, in a saute pan over low heat; you may need to add a little water to loosen up the rice.

8 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-12 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red or orange habanero pepper, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups water
  • One 13.5 ounce can coconut milk, preferably Goya brand
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cubes chicken bouillon or 1 1/2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon chicken soup base (optional)
  • One 15-ounce can no-salt-added kidney beans (or 1 1/2 cups home cooked kidney beans)
  • 3 cups jasmine rice


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the scallions, garlic, habanero and ground cloves. Cook for 2 minutes, until the the scallions are soft and everything is fragrant.

Add the water, coconut milk, thyme sprigs, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the chicken bouillon, if using, stirring until the chicken bouillon is dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Taste the broth; it should be a little too salty; if it's not, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Add the beans; cook for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes, then stir in the rice. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes at a gentle boil (reducing the heat, as needed), or until the liquid is absorbed. Use a wooden spoon to stir the rice every 3 or 4 minutes to prevent it from sticking and burning on the bottom.

Reduce the heat to low, place a paper towel between the lid and the pot, (to catch any condensation) and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the rice mixture is fluffy and slightly dry. Taste and add salt, as needed.

Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From Washington resident Nia Decaille.

Tested by Kara Elder and Nia Decaille.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.