Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: West Indian Rice and Beans

Staples like beans and rice are staples for a reason. Whether Cajun-style red beans and rice, arroz con frijoles negro from Mexico, or gallo pinto from Central America, sometimes two foods just go together. Beans and rice as a dish are not only delicious and nutritious but also economical. I've gotten into the habit now of cooking a big pot of beans every weekend, which make their way into breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week, most often paired with rice.

So I was quite excited to stumble on this new-to-me variation of the pair, hailing from Caribbean/West Indian cuisine. Rather than cooked separately, as I usually go about it, the rice and beans simmer together along with coconut milk and spices. The creaminess of the coconut milk gives the dish a thick, risotto-like consistency, and it's also a big help if you're starting from canned beans, since it makes up for the lack of bean cooking liquor to keep everything saucy.

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