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pressure cooker rice and peas

Rice and Peas with a red Scotch Bonnet pepper from my garden

Yesterday I smoked some drumsticks for dinner and at the last minute I decided we needed something more than a salad to complete the meal; my Instant Pot was staring me in the face and since it was Sunday, a quick rice and peas was the first thing that came to mind. This classic dish of moist, tender rice and kidney beans infused with the flavor of coconut, herbs and spices is the foremost accompaniment in the repertoire of any Jamaican cook; it pairs well with almost any meat or vegetable-based entree and is usually served on Sundays with fried chicken or oxtails. In my earlier years, I made it from scratch by shelling fresh beans (or boiling dried ones) and grating then milking the oily flesh of a mature coconut, but now that I live in a part of the world where no supermarket coconut can be trusted, I have settled for the Chaokoh brand canned Coconut Milk and while I still boil a batch of dried beans every week, for this recipe I will be using the canned stuff, since the focus is on ease. I bought my Instant Pot on Amazon during their Black Friday sale, and I can honestly say that I have used it almost every day since it arrived.  This recipe should work in any electric pressure cooker.

1. In a large measuring cup, drain the liquid from

1 can red kidney beans

2. Add

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

enough water or stock to make 3 cups total liquid 

3. Pour liquid mixture into Instant Pot and add

the beans from the can

2 cups Jasmine rice, rinsed

2 sprigs thyme

1 fresh bay or pimento (allspice) leaf (or 1 small dried)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 whole scallion (green onion)

3 pimento  berries

1 sliver of fresh, peeled ginger

1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted stock)

1 whole Scotch Bonnet habanero (or any small chili pepper, or a pinch of pepper flakes)


4. Whisk all ingredients in the pot together then cook on low pressure for 12 minutes. This is the default ‘rice’ setting in the Instant Pot.

5. Allow the pressure to be released naturally (10 minutes). Remove the spices then fluff with a fork and serve.