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Sunday Best: Rice & Peas - Recipe

Tired of your family complaining about your dry, overcooked, or tasteless rice and peas?
We got Enid Donaldson-Mignotte, author of the popular Real Taste of Jamaica cookbook to spill the beans on how to make rice and peas that will silence even your most vocal critic.
Then, to make it even sweeter, U.K. celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott - of Jamaican heritage - dishes out some advice and his mom’s recipe for great rice and peas.

-Excerpt from


Sunday dinner just isn’t Sunday dinner in Jamaica with out rice and peas. Lorna McPherson remembers the Sunday afternoon she made a “fabulous pasta dish, thinking it would be a welcome change from the usual rice and peas. “After laying it all out my husband and kids were still waiting for the rice and peas.

They were not pleased. I tell you, I’ll never try that again,” says the Grade 9 teacher from Kingston. Mary Roberts, a Manchester, England, secretary says she’s tired of her husband going to his mother’s house for Sunday dinner. Roberts says she has tried her hand at making the dish, “but it just never seems right”.

While rice and peas seems simple enough to make, there are tricks to making it just right, says cookbook author Enid Donaldson-Mignotte who calls the dish Jamaica’s ‘Coat of Arms’ in cooking.Try her traditional rice and peas dish.

How To Do It Your Self

Dried red peas (kidney beans),4-5 ozs, 2 stalks escallion
Thyme, 2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Milk from one dry coconut 1(see below)
1 pound rice

1: Wash peas well before soaking (for two
hours) and boil in the same water until
cooked enough.(Do not use too much
water if will also be added.) Soaking is not
required if beans are freshly picked.

2: When peas are nearly cooked,add milk
from dry coconut,bringing liquid to about
two or two and a half times the amount of
rice to be used.See that pea grains are not

3: When peas are cooked,add seasoning.

4:Wash rice and add to peas.When water
boils again,reduce heat and cook on slow
fire.Rice should be tender and all the liquid
absorbed.(Near the end of cooking time,if
the grains or rice are not quite cooked,it is
not advisable to add more water.Instead,
place a piece of plastic wrap instead of foil
on top of rice and cover.This usually finishes the rice satisfactorily.)

5:When cooked,stir with a fork before
NOTE:The amount and type of
peas (dried gungo and green peas
are also used when in season)
vary from household to house-
hold. If using gungo or green
peas, use double the amount of
red peas called for in the recipe.

1 dry coconut

1:Punch holes in the“eyes” of the
coconut and pour water in a glass.
(Makes a refreshing drink)

2:Crack open the coconut and ease the
white flesh from the shell.

3:Grate the coconut flesh or cut into into
cubes and puree in blender or food
processor with water.

4:Squeeze mixture through strainer to
extract milk.The flavour and strength of
the milk depends on the amount of water used to.
Yields about ½ cup.

Excerpt from JamaicanEatsmagazine