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My favorite thing about growing up in a West Indian home, besides the Beres Hammond playing on Saturday mornings, was always the rich FOOD! My mother was never really big on having anyone in the kitchen while she prepared our favorite dishes. So, I would just watch from afar off as she moved smoothly from one side of the kitchen to the other seasoning, browning, stirring and cleaning as she cooked. In recent years I have challenged myself to delve into preparing more traditional island dishes for my family. Trust me, preparing island cuisine is not for the faint of heart but it's important to me that my kids experience the best things about our island culture.

RICE & PEAS is a staple island side dish and a Sunday dinner MUST! The cultural significance is simple...It cyan "stretch" fi feed everbody! There is nothing more nostalgic for me these days than visiting my mother's or memom's and seeing the rice & peas set on the dinning room table. My best childhood memories were coming home from a LONG day at church and Sunday dinner being hot and on the table by the time I changed out of my church clothes...MAGIC!

I wanted to be able to share that magic with my children and so I did what I always do when I need some authentic island recipes...I called my momma! I had to make her text me the recipe because you know good cooks don't use measurements - they cook with instincts.

DISCLAIMER: Every Jamaican cooks every meal differently and to their own liking. They also never like anyone else's food but their own. HA!

Charlene's Rice & Peas

Soak Red kidney beans overnight

Blend dry coconut with small amount of water

Separate coconut milk by straining mixture

Add coconut milk to peas and water

Bring to a boil for about 15 minutes

Add 1 scotch bonnet pepper

3 cloves of garlic



Salt to taste

Let simmer for about 30 minutes

Add rice and stir

Make sure to drain off excess liquid. Leave only enough to cover rice.

Reduce heat.

Cook for 15 minutes then stir again to make sure all ingredients are are evenly distributed.

Let cook 15 minutes

If rice is not tender. Then add a little of mixture you set aside or you can just add water.

Be sure to slowly pour water around the corners of the pot.

Cook 15 minutes.



If the rice nuh cook yuh put too much rice inna di pot!

Always remember to keep the lid closed on pot.

Nuh bun di rice but if rice bun mi hav ah remedy fi da too!


My memom finishes off her rice in the oven. The rice comes out so FLUFFY. Try it! You'll thank me or my memom!

What are some of your MAGIC family recipes?

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