Gungo Rice and Peas

Photo by Noel Cunningham

Issue 2, 2015, JamaicanEats magazine

  • 1 19 oz. can gungo peas or 1 1/2 cups dried peas, soaked overnight, drained
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 stalks escallion, chopped
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter


If using dried peas, place peas and garlic in a medium sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender – 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Continue to step 2.

  1. For canned pigeon peas: In a large measuring cup, combine the liquid from the canned peas with the coconut milk. Add more water, if necessary, to make 3 1/2 cups of liquid. Pour liquid in a large saucepan with peas.
  2. Add escallion, hot pepper, thyme, salt and black pepper. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and butter. Stir the pot once. (Do not burst the pepper!) Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water has completely evaporated and the rice is cooked.

If the rice is not tender, after the water has evaporated, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water, cover and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Serves 8


-By Chef Noel Cunningham

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