I first encountered peas and rice in the Bahamas. There when they say peas they often mean pigeon peas, but it could be any type of legume. I think mine came with kidney beans sometimes. They’re mixed right in with the rice.
I was able to find canned pigeon peas with the canned Goya beans at my local supermarket. In keeping with the true Caribbean spirit, I decided to use them in this recipe.
The coconut flavor is fairly subtle in this version. If you want to taste it more you might try using regular coconut milk or just adding more coconut milk instead of the water.
This will be moist. If you want it drier just cook it longer. I used long-grain brown rice and just cooked according to my package directions. Other types of rice would work fine here. Just adjust the cooking time to match what’s on your package.
Remember that rice and beans together form a complete protein, meaning one that contains all nine of the essential amino acids. It’s not necessary to do this in a single meal, but it’s a fun fact to know!
Caribbean Coconut Peas and Rice
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1 tsp butter or oil
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup water
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup pigeon peas or other bean or legume, rinsed
½ tsp lime juice, optional
Rinse rice and spread out on a plate to dry. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan or heat the oil and sauté the rice for 3 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, water, bay leaf, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, stir, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the peas and lime juice. Stir, cover, and simmer another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered 10 minutes. Fluff, remove the bay leaf, and serve.