Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jamaican Rice and Beans

With jerk chicken on the menu, I ultimately decided to get with the caribbean theme and go all out with a Jamaican rice recipe. Everything about it was so foreign to me that I lost my head and managed to botch the shit out of it.

The recipe below describes the quantities of each item I used and the method that I went about using them. This is how I interpreted the original recipe, which seemed a little contradictory and vague at the time, but now that I'm looking at it again I can't understand why as it seems quite straightforward.

Jamaican Rice and Beans
adapted from Jamaica Travel and Culture
click to print

5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (15-oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (13.5-oz) can coconut milk
3 cups basmati rice
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 scallions, crushed (not chopped)
1 jalapeno pepper

Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.

Add crushed garlic, kidney beans, coconut milk, rice, thyme, salt, and black pepper.

Crush the scallions by pulling them up and out from between the spine of a knife and cutting board.

Add the crushed scallions and jalapeno pepper to the pot. Stir; reduce heat to low.

Cover pot and let rice cook about 40 minutes; serve.

While it should've been that simple, this happened:

20 minutes into cooking, I started getting antsy. I looked at the rice, saw the rice was fluffing up in the center and then decided to stir it. Realizing my mistake, I covered the pot immediately.

10 minutes later, worried that I'd ruined the rice, somehow thought that stirring it again would fix it.

Then, not realizing the rice was supposed to cook an additional 10 minutes and the moisture in the pot was normal, thought I was cooking the rice some extra time and did it uncovered.

Rather than use a fork to fluff the rice, I used a spatula and turned over a pile of it, effectively mashing the soft granules into a paste.

Had I not goofed around with the rice after snapping the lid on it at the beginning of cooking, I think the rice would have turned out fine. I had a hard time eating much more than a few forkfuls since the texture was so poor. Most of it was pasty while some rice grains were crunchy. Should I try this again, a possibility I won't rule out, I'll cut the quantity in half since it makes a LOT.

  • garlic: $0.20
  • kidney beans: $0.89
  • coconut milk: $0.79
  • rice: $2.39
  • fresh thyme: $0.20
  • scallions, crushed: $0.25
  • jalapeno pepper: $0.11
Total: $4.83.