It’s Caribbean Heritage Month!
Last year when I attended my cousin’s wedding in Poughkeepsie, I realized that my generation of kids have been spoiled tremendously by our big family and army of talented cooks that came before us.
My cousins and I (all 5200 of us) got together and realized that we will NEED to continue this amazing authentic Jamaican cooking for our own children, or the culture will die with us.
Being the first generation to be American born, we are so used to being spoiled by our parents and aunts and uncles that were taught to cook by their parents in the islands. It is so interesting having to marry the two cultures together, but cooking authentic recipes is a fantastic way to keep the culture alive in our own families going forward.
Cooking Authentic Caribbean Cuisine
For a while now I’ve been trying different recipes from all over the internet. I’ve even tried Youtube! I love Pinterest but there are SO MANY “authentic” Jamaican recipes out there that its hard to decipher which ones are awesome and which ones…are not so good.
How Do You Cook Like A Jamaican?
Well, this is a magical question. Even after growing up in this culture, I didn’t really learn until I got much older! I am learning though that seasoning is key. A lot of Jamaican dishes, especially meats, require complex seasonings that usually marinate for a long period of time.
You will notice that a lot of Jamaican recipes require the baseline of scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, onion, garlic and scallions. There could be more or less but those spices are a really great place to start when it comes to main dishes.
Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe
Don’t worry though, I’ve done all the leg work and have finally perfected one of the foundational pieces of any Jamaican dish. If you ask me, Authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas is an awesome side dish that goes with pretty much any main dish such as curry goat, curry chicken, stew chicken, oxtail–you name it!
It’s even good on it’s own. With so many different ways to cook rice and peas, I am happy that I finally hit the jackpot with the right ingredients and the right type of rice.
Some people like to use long grain rice, and some folks like pigeon peas in their rice and peas. Some people even use full allspice berries instead of the allspice seasoning that I love. To be honest, I’ve tasted so many different versions of rice and beans that I have lost count. This one is definitely my favorite and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today.
Types of Rice Used In Jamaican Rice and Peas
Before I found this money recipe I tried a bunch and they were epic fails. This recipe is my new go to, but it took me a smooth 5-6 recipes before I finally found a winner with this one. My favorite type of rice in general is Carolina long grain white rice. My mom and most of my family are fans of using basmati rice for their rice and peas which has a richer flavor.
I absolutely love to use Jasmine rice though because it has a fantastic flavor and although it is a bit sticky it’s not annoyingly so.
How Long To Soak The Peas
A lot of you have asked whether or not you can used canned peas for this recipe. I DO NOT recommend it unless you like your rice really wet. The extra water content from the can throws off the recipe. Between the water and the coconut milk addition, the extra water content makes the rice really soupy.
I highly recommend dry peas. I usually soak it in the same pot that I plan on cooking the rice in. If not available you can easily soak the peas in a bowl at room temperature. I usually soak my peas for 5-6 hours.
Generally soak the peas for a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 24 hours. Anything over a day might mess with the integrity of the peas. Keep in mind the longer you soak the peas the less time it takes to cook, and the more “red” color gets added to your rice and peas. I don’t know about anyone else but I generally judge the authenticity of Jamaican rice and peas by the color of the rice!
Do you cook the rice covered or uncovered?
This is a really good question! The answer is both. While you are cooking your peas, adding spices, and coconut milk, I leave it uncovered. When I add the rice and mix everything in, I cover the pot so it can cook like regular rice. I generally like to leave my rice covered and cooking but this particular recipe calls for constant stirring to make sure nothing burns on the bottom of the pot.
How To Store Rice and Peas
Once I got the hang of this rice and peas recipe it was super easy to make it for my family. The rice stores in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and it freezes perfectly. If you do freeze, I recommend to let the rice thaw out naturally and slowly in the refrigerator, but if you don’t have the time, you can thaw in the microwave too, it might be a bit soggier though.
Be Careful Of That Scotch Bonnet
The scotch bonnet pepper is not to be played with at all! For this recipe you need to use the whole scotch bonnet–do not slice it, poke it, nothing. The scotch bonnet pepper adds a fantastic flavor to the rice as a whole without any of the heat. Trust me, you don’t want any of the inside–it’s a super powerful pepper!
Enjoy! Be sure to let me know in the comments how it turned out!
(Updated April 2020)
This amazing and authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe uses allspice, coconut milk, thyme and more fresh ingredients for a wonderful experience that will make you feel like you are in Jamaica. A lot of folks ask if they can do this recipe with canned beans, I wouldn't recommend this as it increases the water content substantially.
This amazing and authentic Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe uses allspice, coconut milk, thyme and more fresh ingredients for a wonderful experience that will make you feel like you are in Jamaica.
A lot of folks ask if they can do this recipe with canned beans, I wouldn't recommend this as it increases the water content substantially.
Stay tuned, I’ve got some more authentic Jamaican recipes that I’m going to be sharing with you guys over the next few weeks!Authentic & Delicious #Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe! #jamaicancooking #islandeats