How to make Caribbean Rice n Beans using fresh coconuts, garden vegetables, and herbs.
We visit restaurants that are owned by Afro-Caribbean ladies more than we visit traditional “sodas” here. Our meals always cost a buck or two more but you get what you pay for in the taste department. The use of thyme, cinnamon, ginger and coconut get your senses tingling as soon as you find your table. It smells so good that I am always excited to see the owner passing other people to deliver MY plate to my table.
We have two different types of coconut palms growing here on the farm so Barry decided to try and make our favorite dish himself. He succeeded and it’s to die for!
Caribbean Rice and Beans Recipe
4 cups coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups cooked red beans
4 cups white rice
Sweet & Hot Peppers
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 Cup Sugar
Cinnamon to taste
*You need a 2 to 1 ratio of liquid to rice. For example, if you’re using chicken stock cubes or veggie powdered stock add 4 cups of liquid to it.
Finding and Opening the Coconut
See this massive thing? Well, we have about 20-30 laying around the front of the farm all of the time. The coconut palms just keep producing and we haven’t been able to eat enough to keep up. When searching for the right coconut we want one that, when shaken, has water splashing around inside. We also make sure that there is no growth from the top. Coconuts are actually reproductive seeds and we want one that is old enough to have fallen but not enough to sprout.
The first step to remove the husk is to make slits lengthwise with a machete. Then stick a flat head screwdriver in the slit and pry off the husk. The husk can be used to start fires, smoke meat and as potting material for house plants. Do not discard this valuable husk!
You are left with the brown coconut shell that is the final protector of the sweet, meaty goodness inside. Using the blunt end of a machete crack the shell open over a bowl so that you can save the coconut water that spills out. You want to make certain that you hit the coconut along the “equator” so that it cracks completely in half. You may have to tap it three or four times.
After splitting in half, you are left with two half-shells that are just like the bra of the dashboard hula girl from your past.
Making Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Use a thick bladed knife or other prying object to get the coconut meat from the shell. It should lift out fairly easily. Put all of the meat and the collected coconut water into a blender. Blend until there is only liquid.
The contents of your blender should then be put through a strainer. Press on the meat in the strainer until it is dry and all the liquid is in your bowl.
This is coconut milk. After 5 minutes, the cream will rise to the top and that is what you would use to make delicious, heavenly coconut cream pie. However, we are not making coconut cream pie we are making coconut rice and beans, come back to reality Kim.
Preparing the Beans
Soak a small bag of red beans overnight. Change the water and add the beans to a pressure cooker (changing the water gets rid of the gas of the beans and ultimately you). If you do not have a stainless steel pressure cooker go out and buy one. It has been our single best investment in our kitchen. It saves money and time. Cook the beans thoroughly but not until mushy. Set aside.
Preparing the Rice
Cut up plenty of onions and garlic. Start to cook them in oil or butter. When the garlic is brown and onions are clear add your dry rice. This is important. It keeps the rice from getting mushy even after 2 days in the fridge and gives the rice some independent flavor.
Cut up whatever veggies you want to add. You can add hot pepper to taste. We keep ours whole and stick it with a fork before we add it. This way we get the flavor of the pepper without the hot. Get a handful of thyme from the garden and put it in the pot with the rice and veggies. Then turn off the burner.
Use a slotted spoon to get the beans without any liquid and add them to the pot along with your fresh or dried chicken stock. Add your coconut milk, bay leaves and cinnamon. Your stock pot will look like the picture below. Turn back on the heat and bring to boil. When liquid is minimal you must start to stir so that rice doesn’t stick to bottom of pan.
After 25 minutes, scoop onto a plate and serve alone or with meat. We prefer chicken or sausage. As this picture shows Barry likes carrots in his. I, however, don’t suggest it.