Sarina’s Caribbean Rice and Peas (recipe)

Caribbean Rice and Peas

The genesis of this recipe came about when Nandita at Saffron Trail asked me to come up with a dish that could theoretically represent the West Indies Cricket Team at this year’s Cricket World Cup, for an article she is developing. Caribbean cooking is so varied and nuanced that I struggled for a while to find a piece that really brought us together. The best I could come up with was Rice and Peas. However not wanting to impose what may have been a decidedly Trinidad-biased opinion I decided to casually ask some friends from other islands what dish they would pick. Thankfully, they all said rice and peas as well!

The next step was to find a way to blend and blur the regional differences into a kind of pan-Caribbean m???lange that remained inclusive while still recognizable to each ‘team player’ (as I imagined them in my mind) as authentic. Well I’ll probably never know if I succeeded or what the team would think of my attempt at ‘Caribbean fusion’. But I liked it, and I hope you do too 🙂

Sarina’s Caribbean Rice and Peas

2 cups rice (white long-grain or brown)
1 – 2 cups pigeon peas OR red kidney beans (either soaked overnight or tinned)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups water
1/4 lb salt meat (optional) cut in pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 blades chive
1 sprig thyme
1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped finely
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. If salt meat is used, soak overnight
2. Combine peas, meat (if using), salt, coconut milk and 1 cup water.
3. Cook for 20 minutes on medium-high heat for dried beans or 15 minutes on medium heat for tinned.
4. In a separate pan, heat the oil and brown the chopped onion, pepper, and chive
5. When the peas are almost cooked, add 2 cups water, the sprig of thyme and the rice.
6. When the rice is tender mix in fried seasonings.

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