Monday, 28 March 2016

Rice and peas

Rice and peas is up there along with delicacies such as Bombay duck (see my thoughts on this from an earlier blog recipe here), water biscuits and crab sticks as actually not being composed of what their name actually suggests. And don't even get me started on the whole fucking omnishambolic multiple personality defect that is the "pudding" (steak and kidney? Christmas? Black? Bread and butter? Sweet? Savoury? Make your fucking mind up!)

The "peas" in rice and peas are actually beans, kidney beans in this case. It's a Caribbean classic and goes very well with my Jamaican lamb curry or something like jerk chicken.

As in most Jamaican cuisine, the chilli ought really to be a scotch bonnet and put into the rice whole to impart a bit of flavour, rather than making it spicy hot. In this instance I used a bird's eye chilli which doesn't have the same fruity flavour as a scotch bonnet, but it still worked.

1 large spring onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 whole chilli
½ tsp allspice powder
200ml coconut milk
200g rice
300ml water
½ a vegetable stock cube
½ tin of kidney beans

Rinse the rice in a couple of changes of water to get rid of excess free starch.

Add the oil to a pan and fry the garlic and spring onion.

Add the allspice and chilli.

Stir in the rinsed rice.

Add the water and stock cube, stir, then add the coconut milk.

Stir well, bring to the boil, cover, and turn the heat right down.

Leave for 15-20 minutes to let all the liquid get absorbed by the rice leaving (hopefully) a pan full of light, fluffy, delicately flavoured grains.

Serve with any Jamaican main course such as my Jamaican lamb curry or jerk chicken.

OK, it's not much to look at
It's rice and it's got beans in it. What do you expect?

The mild coconut flavour works well to temper the heat of something really spicy like jerk chicken.

Unlike a lot of rice dishes, which can be a bit bland, this has enough taste to make a light lunch in its own right with the leftovers next day. Make sure the leftovers are kept in the fridge. Also, if you do have it the next day, make sure you seriously fucking nuke it in the microwave to kill off any bugs and avoid food poisoning from good old bacillus cereus which is actually quite fond of rice and doesn't like to share.

Other beans can be used in this, like black turtle beans. Some recipes recommend using dried beans and using some of the cooking liquid from preparing these. I didn't. Some versions of rice and peas  call for bacon in as well. If you do use dried kidney beans, bear in mind that if you don't prepare them properly you're arse might end up resembling a garden sprinkler the next day, thanks to the fact that the beans are poisonous if they aren't soaked and cooked according to instructions.

I used Thai jasmine rice for this. It tastes great for any savoury rice dish. As I've said in several previous entries, but a huge fuck-off bag of it from an Asian supermarket and you will have great rice on tap for months and it's cheaper and better than most of the crap you buy at the local Western grocer.

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