Rice and Peas (or Gungu Peas)

Serves 12


  • 2 cups dried red peas or dried pigeon peas
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 to 4 stalks scallion, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds long-grain rice


1. In a large bowl, add the peas to the cold water and soak overnight.

2. Tranfer the peas and soaking water to a large pot, add the garlic and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are cooked. Add the coconut milk, ginger, scallions, thyme, Scotch bonnet, allspice, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to low, add the rice and stir once. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove the whole Scotch bonnet and serve.

Variation: For a quick rice and peas using canned beans, bring 2 cups cold water to a boil with all the seasonings, coconut milk and drained canned peas. Stir in the rice and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the liquid is evaporated.

Recipes & Images from Caribbean Potluck™ by Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau © 2014 Kyle Books - Photographs by Ellen Silverman