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California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Simple Rice and Peas Get a Caribbean Kick

Rice and peas is a traditional Caribbean dish served with meat or poultry. Like several rice and bean recipes in cultures all over the world, it was originally created as a cheap form of protein and carbohydrates that could feed the masses. Even though this concept isn’t new, that doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious or exciting. Many different versions of this dish can be made, depending on which style you want to try. In the Dominican Republic, a spicier, more coconut based version called Moros de Guandules con Coco is served. In Central America, Gallo Pinto- rice and beans fried together, is a meal all in itself. So you see, this simple recipe has evolved into a savory, substantial dish that makes a simple accompaniment to any protein

Many versions of rice and peas do not actually contain peas. The dish was originally made with pigeon peas, but now any legume that is in season is used. Sometimes Gungo peas are used, but on the island of St. Maarten, many restaurants use red kidney beans. Coconut milk, chicken stock and fresh herbs help give the rice and peas tons of flavor without having to do much work.

Serves 4-5

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 14 oz can red kidney beans, drained

2 cups of coconut milk (about 1 can)

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups long grained rice (like Basmati)

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped

1 red chili, cut in half and seeded

In a small pot, saute the onions in the oil for 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add garlic, parsley and thyme and cook for another minute.

Next, add the drained kidney beans and stir. Then, add the coconut milk, chicken stock and salt and bring to a boil.

After the mixture has come to a boil, add the rice and stir. Add the chili and turn the heat down to medium low. Cover the pot and cook for 35-40 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

This recipe is flexible. Make sure for every cup of rice you use, you put in two cups of liquid. Coconut milk is traditional, but I’ve enjoyed the rice and peas that are also cooked in chicken stock. Whole scotch bonnet peppers (one of the hottest peppers in the world) are placed in the pot during the cooking process and removed before eating. I used red chilis without the seeds and found it gave just the right amount of kick without being over bearing. If you want more heat, you can always leave the seeds. The point is to experiment and have fun with it. This old classic can easily become a new favorite!

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California State University East Bay
Simple Rice and Peas Get a Caribbean Kick