Rice and peas

Junior Francis shows Gary Rhodes how to make this traditional Caribbean dish, which is the perfect accompaniment to high spiced meat or poultry dishes. It should really be called rice and beans though, since there is not a pea in sight.
By Gary Rhodes
Rice and peas
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 175 g red kidney beans
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed and chopped, optional
  • 3 spring onions, chopped, optional
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme, enough to give ½ tsp fresh leaves, plus extra for finishing
  • 25 g butter
  • 350 g long grain rice
  • 2 x 400 ml cans coconut milk
  • freshley ground black pepper


1. Drain the pre-soaked kidney beans, reserving the water. Put them in a pan and cover with the soaking water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface and discard.

2. Add the tomatoes and chopped spring onion (if using) along with the onions, garlic, thyme and butter to the beans and continue simmering for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Season well.

3. Pour in the coconut milk and add the rice the liquid should cover the grains by about 3-4cm. Top up with extra hot water if you need to. Stir well, cover with a lid, and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally as it cooks to prevent the rice catching on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with a few extra thyme leaves to finish.

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