Yummy Jamaican Rice and Beans in Your Rice Cooker

Rice and beans has just a few ingredients, but for me, cooking it can be surprisingly high maintenance. It’s hard to know just how much water to add and exactly when to turn off the heat, and even with a watchful eye the bottom of the pan always seems to burn. I get it: Mastering the technique is a matter of tradition, a labor of love . . . an art more than a science. But I also just want some yummy rice and beans (or “peas” as they’re called in Jamaica). So, I caved and figured out how to make the dish in my amazing rice cooker and voila! Perfection every time. Here’s your fail proof, modernized Jamaican Rice & Peas recipe.

Quick Rice and Peas in the Rice CookerJamaican Rice and peas

  • ¾ cup canned red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white and light green only)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (get the plain kind, like Uncle Ben’s
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • a few dots of butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • about 3 cups water (or, the amount of water needed to fill contents to line on your rice cooker for 3 cups rice)

Heat oil over medium heat. Sautee garlic and scallions until they just begin to brown, then gently add the kidney beans and thyme. Continue sautéing another minute, taking care not to mash or break the beans. Remove from heat.

Pour rice into rice cooker. Add coconut milk, then add the garlic/scallion/bean mixture. Add salt and pepper (about a teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Finally add water, enough water to fill the contents up to the line needed for 3 cups of rice in your rice cooker. Turn on rice cooker and cook!

Quick & Delicious Dominican Chicken Sauté — Episode 23

From the first time our babysitter Rafaela cooked us this one-pot Dominican chicken, I was obsessed. Per usual we had a few chicken breasts in the freezer and she offered to whip up some dinner using those and a handful of vegetables we had in the fridge. There was a mortar and pestle involved. Fifteen minutes later emerged chicken so flavorful and delicious I begged her to teach me, and she kindly obliged. The recipe is simple enough, but I’ve found it takes some love to perfect. One trick is to use a bit more vinegar (I skipped this ingredient in the video). I think that helps keep the chicken juicy and gives it a lot of character. Also, don’t skimp on the vegetable oil. That’s critical to creating the delicious sauce or “sofrito” around the chicken.

Dominican Chicken Sauté

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Dominican chicken is a quick and delicious weeknight meal.

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into 3 inch pieces
  • juice of one lemon
  • splash of malt vinegar (optional)
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/3 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot sliced super thin with box grater
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon oregano, divided
  • Sazon seasoning; salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Place garlic, dash of salt and pepper and half of oregano into a mortar; crush with pestle until blended. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil and crush some more. Pour over chicken pieces and set aside to marinate about 20 minutes.

Heat 2+ tablespoons vegetable oil in large skillet or (ideally) French oven. Place chicken pieces into pot and cook on one side about 5 minutes until lightly brown, then flip with tongs and cook on the other side (trying to flip only once to cook). When chicken is a couple minutes from being done, add in all the veggies—red pepper, onion, carrot. Add a little more oil if needed and cook everything together, stirring occasionally. Season generously with Sazon, oregano, salt and pepper. When veggies are browned, remove from heat. Add cilantro (it will wilt). Serve over fluffy white rice.

Egg and Vegetable Fried Rice (with a Trader Joe’s Cheat!) – Episode 4

It’s easy to make fried rice a meal when you add a little extra protein, either meat or eggs, and a heaping of fresh veggies. In this episode, I’m going for a vegetarian option, so we’ll be adding eggs, scallion, and other crisp-tender goodness. Oh, by the way, yeah, I start with a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable fried rice. But believe me, the few little tweaks you see here take the meal from “Okay, that was easy and tasted good” to “Okay! I could even serve that for guests!”

If you’d like to make this recipe from scratch and ditch the prepared rice, just use 4 cups of day-old COLD rice from the fridge, and add about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, mixed with a few teaspoons water for your sauce at the end.

Egg and Vegetable Fried Rice (with Trader Joe’s Cheat)

Chunky vegetables makes fried rice so much more delish.

Chunky vegetables make fried rice so much more delish.

One bag frozen, prepared veggie fried rice, like Trader Joe’s brand

Two cups fresh broccoli florets

one bunch scallions, roughly chopped

2 eggs, beaten

Two medium-sized chopped carrots

1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or Teriyaki sauce

1 Tablespoon sesame oil, divided

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

  1. Heat 1 ½ teaspoons of vegetable oil in wok, over medium-high heat.
  2. Add eggs and scallions, breaking up as it cooks. When egg is light golden brown, push mixture to one side of pan.
  3. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of sesame oil to wok.
  4. Add Broccoli and carrots to wok. Cook over medium-high heat until still crisp (about 3 minutes), combining with egg and scallions.
  5. Add remaining oils and bag of frozen Trader Joe’s vegetable Fried Rice, or 4 cups cold rice. Cook until heated through (and rice is a bit crispy), about 5 minutes.
  6. Just before removing from heat, add soy sauce and stir well.
  7. Serve with Sriracha Sauce, if you’re so inclined. Yum!