This post has been first published on May3, 2011 and now republished with few edits, new pictures and slight change in the recipe.
Jamaican rice and beans with ripe mangoes is such a flavorsome and wholesome rice dish, a powerhouse of nutrient packed lunch with goodness of red kidney beans, cubed ripe mangoes simmered in delicious coconut milk. In short, the colorful tropical bowl of goodness.
Food critic Susan Fairbank once wrote : ” rice and beans are sacred, they are our daily bread, our comfort food. Rice and beans are our soul food and a synergies dish that makes a deliciously healthy block of complete protein when combined together. ” She has beautifully encapsulate in these few lines, the essentiality of rice and beans for human sustenance. Rice is staple for more than half of the world’s population and beans are scattered throughout the world in its many forms irrespective of culture and cuisine. They are considered as sacred by ancient Egyptian who deposited beans with their dead.
Like the Asian countries, rice and beans is a staple to many Latin American countries and the Caribbean, so Jamaica is no exception. However, they use the term peas to describe any form of beans, so theoretically this dish should be named as Jamaican rice and peas, but I have used the word beans for a wider acceptance and understanding.
Jamaica is a small island in the Caribbean sea lined with beautiful sandy beaches and some pre-historic caves, enjoys tropical climate throughout the year and their cuisine is widely influenced by the cuisines of Asian-Afrikan-L.American-Spanish, probably because of the wider influx of foreigners on their shores, who brought many ingredients and cooking techniques with them.
For this recipe of Jamaican rice and beans with mangoes, kidney beans which are neutral are first sautéed in mango sauce flavoured with nutmeg powder and then combined with rice and slowly cooked in coconut milk. After allspice, nutmeg is one of the most favoured spice and mangoes and coconuts are plenty in Jamaica, if you want a little spicer version of this, you can add bonnet peppers or any Chilean peppers. This is a traditional way of making Jamaican rice and peas.
But over the years I had tried a different approach to this recipe without changing the key ingredients. I par boiled the rice separately, then sauteed in little olive oil or any oil with minced garlic, chopped onions and boiled kidney beans. I sometimes add cubed red bell peppers to make it more colorful. The fresh coconut milk is then added and simmered in low heat for 2-3 minutes or so. You can simply cubed the mangoes for this recipe or you can add a little zest to it by making a mango salsa. Both works good in this recipe. Cilantro is my pantry staple but for a different flavour you can go with fresh thyme also.
If you like kidney beans, then please check this bowl of goodness – Mexican red kidney bean chili
- Rice (un cooked) : 1 cup
- Red kidney beans (pre-boiled or canned) : 1 cup
- Garlic minced : 1 tbsp
- Red onions chopped : ½ cup
- Ripe Mango pulp (sweeten) : 1 cup
- Ripe Mango cut into cubes : ½ cup
- Coconut milk : 1 cup
- Nutmeg powder: 1 tsp
- Grated ginger : 1 tsp
- Stock / water : 1 cup
- Thyme / mint : 1 teaspoon
- Cilantro finely chopped : 2-3 tbsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chilean peppers if using: 2-3
- Oil : 1 tbsp
- Wash and cook the rice separately.
- Heat some oil in a crock pot / stew pot and fry the minced garlic and onions till they become soft.
- Saute for couple of minutes and then add the grated ginger. Let it fried for few seconds and add the nutmeg powder. Next add the red kidney beans and mix it well.
- Let them cook a little bit more, and stir in the mango pulp.
- Cook for few minutes on low heat till the beans incorporates the flavour of mango.
- Add the cooked or par boiled rice and mix gently.
- Stir in the coconut milk , cover and cook in lowest flame till done.
- Sprinkle herbs like thyme or mint or cilantro and cover it for few more minutes. This is to infuse the rice with the flavours of herb.
- Garnish it with cubed mangoes (you can use mango salsa also) and serve warm with Jamaican jerk chicken or grilled pineapple
This tropical bowl of nutrient packed Jamaican rice and beans with mangoes is good in itself, but you can also serve it with Jamaican jerk chicken or grilled pineapples or crispy fried tilapia fish