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Shared by Christina Whittaker

Rice and Peas

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 1 hour 45 minutes

Shared by Christina Whittaker

Rice and Peas
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Jennifer Ophir. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Rice and Peas

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 1 hour 45 minutes

Family Journey

Old Harbour Bay, JamaicaBronx, NYDavie, Florida
Brooklyn, NY

Every Caribbean island has its own version of rice and peas — or rice and beans. This version, which features coconut infused rice spiced with thyme, allspice, scallions, and scotch bonnet pepper, is distinctly Jamaican. The “peas” traditionally used in this dish by some countries are “gungo peas” or pigeon peas; JFS Operations Manager Christina Whittaker’s family uses kidney beans. This recipe yields rice that’s fluffy and fragrant, the perfect foil for spicy steamed fish or rich oxtail stew

Read more about Christina’s family in “Finding Identity at a Jamaican Shabbat Table” and try her recipes for steamed red snapper with pumpkin and okra, fried sweet plantains and coconut gizzada tartlets.


  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz) uncooked kidney beans
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 stalk fresh scallion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic 
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 20 oz. canned, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose seasoning (link to recipe w/ all purpose seasoning)
  • 3 ½ cups basmati rice 
  • Salt to taste


  • Step 1

    Soak the beans overnight in a pot of warm water. The next day, drain the beans and add to a large pot, along with the minced garlic, allspice, thyme, scallion, cloves, scotch bonnet pepper and 2 teaspoons salt. Cover with water.

  • Step 2

    Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the brown sugar and all-purpose seasoning. Cover and let simmer on low heat for close to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the beans are cooked through. Stir in the rice, along with 4 cups of water; cover and simmer on low heat until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Remove from the heat and let steam for 10 minutes. Discard the allspice berries, sprigs of thyme, whole scallion and cloves. Fluff the rice and beans and season with more salt if needed. Serve.