Rice and peas

Rice and peas (or peas and rice) is a traditional food within the West Indian Caribbean islands. The 'peas' are traditionally pigeon peas, but more often substituted with kidney beans, and the dish is frequently served with curry goat.[1]

Rice and peas
Region or stateThe Caribbean
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsRice, beans

In 1961, Frederic G. Cassidy made note that the dish had been referred to as Jamaica's coat of arms.[2]


Rice and peas is the mainstay of the cuisines of The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and many other English-speaking Caribbean islands. In The Bahamas, it is known as peas n' rice, from which the Bahamian folk song "Mamma don't want no Peas n' Rice and Coconut Oil" is named. The dish is made with rice and any available legume, such as kidney beans, pigeon peas (known as gungo peas), or cowpeas, the combination of grain and a legume forming a complete protein; compare rice and beans. Gungo peas are particularly associated with Christmas. The peas are boiled with pimenta seeds and garlic until tender. Scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, scallions and/or round onions, grated ginger and coconut milk are then added along with the rice and left to simmer until cooked.

Variations of the recipe include the use of salt pork or beef instead of salt. Chicken is also used in the Guyanese variations of this dish and is known as cookup rice. This flavors the dish well and reduces the need for additional protein.

Rice and peas, the classic Sunday lunch dish, is usually served with a stewed meat, such as chicken, beef, lamb or pork, or fish or seafood such as shrimp, crab or king fish.

See also


  1. Millicent Taffe (2013). The Original Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe. Booktango. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-4689-2555-5.
  2. Higman, B. W. (2013). "4. Jamaica Coat of Arms". In Richard Wilk (ed.). Rice and Beans: A Unique Dish in a Hundred Places. Livia Barbosa. London, New York: Berg. ISBN 978-1-84788-905-8.
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