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You won’t miss the meat if you serve this Jamaican coconut rice for dinner. And the best part is it’s very inexpensive.
Jamaican Coconut Rice: Budget Meal
Coconut rice is a meal for these times.
With so many people now unemployed because of the virus and waiting to sign up for their unemployment benefits, money is definitely tight. The only way you can reign in expenses is on food.
While we’re on the subject, many items are hard to get as well. Jamaican coconut rice is usually served with chicken as a side dish. Well, chicken is one of those near-impossible things to get now.
But take heart; the “side dish” can become a main dish. It’s very nutritious too. In fact, the mainstay for protein in vegan and vegetarian diets is good old rice and beans.
Far from being bland, this rice and bean dish is loaded with flavor.
Hot Or Mild
You can spice things up here too. If you like a bit of zip–or a lot of it–in your food, this can fill the bill.
To spice things up, pop in a hot pepper (or part of one) in the liquid you cook the rice in. Traditionally, this is a habanero or scotch bonnet. But be careful with either of those–they are off-the-charts hot.
However, this rice is equally good when it’s mild. My personal preference is eating it without the hot pepper. To my taste, the flavors really sing without the heat and the pepper distracts from it’s great flavor.
Try it both ways to see how you like it.
As I mentioned before, some items are hard to get in stores now. And my mantra has always been use what you have on hand, Especially now.
The recipe calls for dark red kidney beans, but if you have light red, they work too. Cannellini beans are another good choice. The only ones I’d hesitate to substitute is black beans.
Jasmine rice is preferred, but use regular long-grain if that’s all you have. And as for the thyme, I always prefer using fresh because I have an indoor garden where I grow it. But the dry stuff is fine and use about 1/4 tsp. Add more if you want a fuller flavor.
Jamaican Coconut Rice
- 14 oz can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 hot pepper optional
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 cup long-grain white rice such as jasmine
- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- Combine the first ingredients (through garlic) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in rice; reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat; remove the thyme sprigs and garlic, and discard. Gently stir in the beans. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.