Rice and Peas

Recipe copyright Levi Roots
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 35 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 1 fresh coconut
  • 3 1/3 cups warm water, plus more as needed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 hot red chile, preferably Scotch Bonnet, whole and undamaged
  • 1 green onion, bruised with a rolling pin
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 7 allspice berries
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces Basmati rice
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Directions

First you will need to break into your coconut. Choose one of the 3 eyes that you are most likely to be able to puncture. Cook's Note: Youll see them at one end. Only one will work.

Try to penetrate the eye with a strong, sharp-tipped knife. If the hole doesnt give, try the others. Pour the coconut water out through its eye and set it aside in a small bowl. Smash the coconut open, and, using a small, sharp knife, lever the coconut flesh away from the shell. Cook's Note: Doing this outside against some concrete is a good idea.

Grate the coconut into a bowl. Pour 2 3/4 cups water over the shreds, and stir. Strain the coconut flesh from the water in fistfuls, and squeeze out all its juices over the bowl. Place the squeezed clumps of grated coconut into a sieve, transfer the coconut water to a saucepan and tip the squeezed coconut back into the bowl. Cover the coconut shreds with the remaining clean water and, once again, lift the coconut flesh up from the water in fistfuls and squeeze out all its juices. Transfer the prepared coconut water to the saucepan, and discard the squeezed-out flesh.

If desired, incorporate the fresh coconut water to the saucepan at this stage. Then, add the black beans, onion, chile, green onion, garlic, allspice berries, thyme, butter, and adjust their seasonings with salt, and black pepper. Bring everything to a boil, cover, and then turn down the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice, and then add the rice to the saucepan with the reserved prepared coconut water or base in the saucepan. You may need to add some additional water to bring the liquid about 1-inch above the level of the rice. Season the cooking liquid with salt, and black pepper, bring it to a boil, and then cover the rice immediately. Turn the heat down to its lowest level, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook's Note: Don't stir it and don't peek inside!

Once the rice is tender, fish out the chile, green onion, and thyme sprigs, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve immediately.

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  • on December 22, 2012

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    Great recipe! I think it should be noted that coconut cream is an excellent substitute for fresh coconut and can be found in packages at most international grocery stores and markets. My mum always used that and she makes fantastic rice and peas. As the previous reviewer noted cracking a fresh coconut is not extremely practical.

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  • on August 24, 2011

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    Definitely tasty, but the technique with the coconut was a bit demanding. If we'd been able to execute it, perhaps it would have delivered a more distinctive result. As it is, I think a combination of coconut water and canned coconut milk could have achieved the purpose. Other than that darned coconut, it was really delicious and the textures were very nice. Next time my man has the urge to hammer away at a coconut on the concrete, we'll go for it.

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