Caribbean Rice and Peas

Way back I used to be a lawyer, remember? That's why you have to trust me. It's also why my disclaimers are printed very clearly at the top.

#1 This recipe is not from last week's heroine Sandra Folkes-Joseph. I did ask her, but I was pushing my luck. Once I get her the publishing contract, we may see her version.

#2  Doing this traditionally, you would start with dried beans and soak them overnight. I found two recipes, one slow, one quick. This is a fusion of the two.

#3  No one won the prize for last week's quiz, suspecting it was a trick question. Other than rice the most common ingredient is the red kidney bean. I'm told that the dish can be made with green pigeon peas, otherwise gungo peas. I guess that's where the name of the dish comes from originally.

#4  Sandra, if I'm writing rubbish, feel free to get back in touch.

If you are like me, the idea of using a viciously hot Scotch bonnet chilli may horrify you; however, by leaving it whole you'll get the fruitiness without the heat. Do remember to remove it before serving.

Rice and Peas


200g long grain rice, well rinsed; 400g tin kidney beans, drained and well rinsed; 400ml tin of coconut milk; 6 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped; 3 cloves of garlic, crushed; about 5 sprigs of thyme or ½tsp dried thyme; 4 allspice berries, or ½ tsp ground allspice; 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated; 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli, left whole; salt and pepper.


Put the beans, coconut milk, garlic, ginger,thyme, chilli and allspice in a pan with 100ml of water and four of the spring onions. Gently bring to a simmer and season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Stir in the rice and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow it to steam. Remove the chilli and, if appropriate the thyme stems and allspice berries. Fluff up with a fork and check the seasoning before serving. Decorate with the remaining spring onions.



  1. Sandra on 5th August 2022 at 6:16 pm

    The only adjustment is I always cook my beans from scratch and you can use any beans if your choosing

    • Tom Johnston on 5th August 2022 at 6:48 pm

      Whew! I was expecting a lot worse. I assume that when you say cooking the beans from scratch, you would be rinsing them, soaking them overnight then draining? In which case you would cook them with the aromats till tender, and adding the rice at that stage? My readers are almost as lazy as I am.

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