Jamaican Red Beans And Rice Just Like My Mama Made It!
Jamaican Red Beans And Rice by Kesha Stewart
There is virtually only one way to spell Sunday dinner in Jamaica and that is rice and peas (red beans and rice) and fried chicken. I am guessing that the secrets to preparing great tasting red beans and rice are closely guarded by the custodian of many kitchens across the island.
Since I have limited culinary accomplishments I have resorted to observation and experimentation in my kitchen to come up with my own version of this Sunday classic.
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However, for this piece I will rely heavily on my mother’s recipe and recommendations since it has been tried tested and proven and add a bit of my own.
Jamaican Red Beans And Rice Recipe!
Select the best whole red beans - about two handfuls will do
1 stalk fresh scallion/ 1 small onion
2 tablespoons molasses
1 sachet coconut milk
A few pimento berries/leaves
A few leaves rosemary (omit the pimento if you use this)
4 table spoons ketchup
I medium scotch bonnet pepper – use a toothpick to poke a hole in it to release the flavor
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound rice
2 bouillon cubes (my mom sometimes replaces this with cock soup mix that has been sifted to remove the noodles)
Wash the peas and set them to soak overnight at room temperature. Crush a few cloves of garlic to taste and add - I hear they help to soften the beans, I think they add flavor.
Place a sturdy pot with your beans on medium heat and assemble your ingredients while it cooks.
Once you find your beans have become tender (you may need to add water as you go along) you can add your ingredients except the rice. Use the principle of two parts water to one part rice and making allowances for your coconut milk.
Wash rice (if necessary) while you wait for your pot to resume boiling.
Remove the scallion, pimento leaves and anything else you think would obstruct you as you eat.
Now you can add the rice. Stir well to distribute the beans evenly. Turn the fire on low and allow to cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid and become tender.
This should serve 4-6 persons
You may serve your red beans and rice with the protein of your choice.
However, in Jamaica, we usually serve this with fried or fricasseed chicken and sometimes fish.
If you are vegan then you may decide to prepare tofu or veggie balls to go along with this. A raw garden salad and a glass of chilled carrot juice completes the meal. If you decide to fry or bake your protein I would recommend a simple sauce or gravy for this meal.
Just by way of information, I have experimented with fever grass (also called lemon grass) in cooking over the last few years and I have found that it adds a very pleasant, subtle flavor to red beans and rice, sauces and meats.
If you decide to try it, I would recommend that you omit the pimento, rosemary or thyme as the flavours tend to be distracting. If you can’t get the fresh lemon grass use the teabags they work very well.
So now all you have to do is invite me over next Sunday to enjoy your special red beans and rice – Jamaican style :-)