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Archive for November 20th, 2009

This traditional dish from the Caribbean is a combination of rice and red kidney beans, which are are usually called peas, rather than green peas.  The mixture is cooked in coconut milk making it slightly sweet and fragrant.  It is lovely served with any foods from the Caribbean.  I always serve it with Salt Fish Cakes, which I make using a recipe given by our friend Hyacinth, Fried Plantain and a few green peas or some salad leaves. 

The original recipe, which was very successful but results in a dish with a fairly sticky consistency, comes from A Sainsbury Cookbook: The Cooking of the Caribbean by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz.  The only ingredient changes I made were to substitute a tin of red kidney beans in place of dried beans, to use creamed coconut (readily available in block form) dissolved in water in place of coconut milk and some adjustments to the ingredient proportions.  After making Rice and Peas in a pan using the original recipe I successfully adapted the recipe for my rice cooker, using the same ingredients.  The resulting rice was much less sticky.  Try it both ways if you have access to a rice cooker and see which you prefer: both methods are given below.

Stove top method - 'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Rice Cooker Method - 'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

 
Rice & Peas
(Serves 6)

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped or ½tsp chilli powder
50g/2ozs creamed coconut
400ml/14fl ozs hot water
½ tsp dried thyme
350g/12ozs long grain white rice
1 x 400g/14oz tin Red Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt & pepper to taste

Stove top method:
1.  Heat the oil and gently fry the onion until golden.  Stir in the chilli, thyme and rice.

2.  Thoroughly dissolve the creamed coconut in the hot water and mix in.  Bring to the boil and cook over a very gentle heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to check that it is not sticking.  Before the liquid is completely dissolved stir in the drained and rinsed kidney beans, adding a small amount of additional water if necessary.  Continue to cook until the rice and peas are tender, the liquid is absorbed and the beans are heated through.

3.  Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture does not stick to the pan.  As the higher sugar content of the mixture means it could stick and burn it should be served almost immediately.   Rice and peas can be kept warm for a short time, but cooked rice should not be stored at room temperature for a prolonged period.

Rice cooker method:
1.  Place the rice, onion, chilli, thyme and oil in the cooker pan.  Thoroughly dissolve the creamed coconut in the hot water and pour over the rice. 

2.  Set to rice cooker to cook.  Before the liquid is completely dissolved stir in the drained and rinsed kidney beans, adding a small amount of additional water if necessary which will give a stickier consistency to the finished dish.  Stir occasionally to make sure the rice and peas do not begin to stick to the pan. Continue to cook until the rice and peas are tender, the liquid is absorbed and the beans are heated through. 

3.  It is not possible to use the usual keep warm facility in the rice cooker, apart for a very short period.  As the higher sugar content of the mixture means it could stick to the bottom of the pan and burn it should be served almost immediately.  Rice and peas can be kept warm for a short time, but cooked rice should not be stored at room temperature for a prolonged period.

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