Red Beans and Rice

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Red beans and rice takes me back to the special preparation of the Sunday meal at home. I remember it well…..

Going Down Memory Lane

The radio was on medium blast with the pastor on fire, preaching his sermon; Dr Carlyle Chankersingh I believe was his name. As an unwritten rule, the radio was locked on 610 radio on the AM band and we just listened to anything that was on. And, Sunday was no different.

The little black transistor radio was one of a kind those days….A cheap Chinese knock off I’m sure but it was what we grew up with in the house. That radio lasted mom years. It was little old faithful. When it finally broke I decided to build a radio myself later on, and wanted parts from it. Even then she didn’t want to part with it lol! But, that’s another story…

In the small kitchen, the pressure cooker was on full blast. The rhythmic pulse of the steam was real music to my ears. I sometimes tried to follow along with a counter rhythm of my own but would get a bit lost when it just spewed steam in a steady stream instead.It was fun anyway….

Another pot was bubbling away on the stove and from the looks of it, the Callaloo was nearly ready.  A few crab gundy (claws) stuck out from the pot. Oh my! We’re having Crab and Callaloo!

The stew chicken was halfway there and from the cheesy, somewhat milky, aroma that wafted from the oven, I knew we were having  Macaroni pie that day. The fresh, green watercress were washed and placed in a bowl and the rice was already strained and left to cool at the side of the sink. I was all to eager to wait and I was hungry so I passed the stove and went to the wooden safe to look for some “Jumbie” biscuits….

Ah! the pressure cooker has stopped. Red beans, the last course for our Sunday meal, is almost done only to add seasonings, and fresh herbs  and salt to taste…….

Red Beans: An Ideal Sunday Lunch Addition

Red beans, better known as kidney beans, is a sure addition to the traditional Sunday meal here in Trinidad and Tobago so much so, that it is also called Sunday Peas by all trini cooks. For some reason over the years it has been the bean that’s used mostly on a Sunday. It even surpasses pigeon peas which we use a lot of in Pelau or stews! I guess it really has a place in our cooking history.

Cooking red beans as you would see in a moment is really simple and we, at home, have come up with a method that you could use to increase productivity in the kitchen. Instead of the traditional soaking the beans overnight, all you have to do is add hot water.  After that, it’s plain sailing! Or is it plain cooking? lol!! Here’s Red Beans and Rice trinistyle.


Red Beans and Rice Recipe

red beans and rice, simply trini cooking

Red beans on white rice, with salad and baked chicken.


1 cup rice
1 cup red beans ( kidney beans)
2 pimento pepper (seasoning peppers)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced pumpkin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6 leaves chadon beni, chopped
2 tbsp green seasoning
2 sprigs fine leaf thyme
1 stalk celery
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
Salt to taste

Boil rice. Strain and set aside .


 Clean and wash the red beans.  Place in a deep pot and add hot water. Soak  for 15 minutes.


 The red beans look good now. Time to cook.



 Chop the onion, celery, pumpkin, and pimento pepper.  Finely dice the rest of the herbs.

 Put the beans to boil…


 Then add the chopped pumpkin, onion, garlic, celery and pimento pepper.

Note: You may have to add about a cup of water and simmer  for 5 minutes.

Then cover and pressure cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft.

 The red beans are good now place in a separate pot and continue cooking.

Add the chopped chadon beni, big leaf thyme and fine leaf thyme to the pot.


 Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.

 Add the tomato paste….

…then the green seasoning, optional sugar, and salt for taste.

 Allow to simmer until the excess water evaporates.

The red beans are good now. Remove, and serve with rice.


Print this Recipe

More trini recipes to come. Hope you enjoyed my red beans and rice recipe.

Ah gone :)


    • says

      Sorry about that Juliemango lol!! ( Just like dat name) but then I think we stigmatise our cooking as unhealthy. I believe if we exercise portion control and live a healthy lifestyle, exercise etc. our food has a lot of merit.

    • says

      Actually that’s iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots and diced cucumber. You could try it with some garlic sauce or a simple vinaigrette. ……Buh A A Juliemango yuh eh beppin nah. Yuh watchin’ everything on meh plate lol!! Very observant. Ah like dat! 😀

    • says

      You’re welcome Kajmere. With the canned red beans it is a little trickier. Seeing that it is already cooked you would just want to add the seasonings to taste and make sure you add chadon beni :)

  1. Nathan says

    This looks like an interesting change of pace from the red beans we cook here in New Orleans (traditionally on Mondays). I will try this recipe soon. If you want to try our style, it’s somewhat similar – sweat onions, celery, and green bell pepper (2:1:1) with salt, then add garlic. Then add the beans, water or stock to cover, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne. Once it’s cooked (6 hrs later), serve with rice and grilled smoked sausage or cook the beans with ham hocks or some other smoked meat, to impart the flavor into the beans. It’s a Monday tradition here (wash day). You could garnish with chopped parsley or chives, if you’re feeling fancy, lol.

    • says

      Maybe I’ll try it like that one day Nathan. Sounds really similar except for our local herbs. That is something I have noticed about both our cooking styles; they are very close. What you all call Hoppin John we call Black Eye Peas and Rice and it’s eaten on New Years Eve or what we call Old Years Night. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

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