I’m hungry, but not that hungry to have a full Jamaican meal this fine Sunday afternoon.  So I decided to head back to Cool Runnings Restaurant for just a portion of Jamaican Rice & Peas.  Now every time, I tell someone who is not from Jamaica about rice & peas they laugh at me and rightly so as what is called “peas,” is really red kidney beans.

Now I’m not sure why this is the case, but I think its that the dish is made with various different peas and that was the original name, so it stuck, but I’m just guessing.  If you know why, please feel free to leave a comment.

Rice & Peas is also made with peas, one in particular called “gungo.”  It gives it a different taste and it is not as red as when red kidney beans is used.  But I digress with that history lesson.

Rice and Peas from Tropical Diner
Rice and Peas from Tropical Diner
Rice and Peas from Cool Runnings
Rice and Peas from Cool Runnings

I got to Cool Runnings and decided to have some more cake form yesterday; got two slices this time :-).  I then got some rice & peas with some brown stew chicken gravy.  Then I left and on my way home maybe about 8 minutes or less away I drove by Tropical Diner on S. Gessner, another Jamaican restaurant.  So of course I stopped in and had guess what? rice & peas.

The price is the same at both places $3.00, but the similarities stops there. Taste wise, Cool Runnings is much better and richer as is denoted by its redder color.  The portion is much smaller than that of Tropical Diner though.  I’ve already finished eating the one from Cool Runnings to prove my point.

They are both good, but I highly recommend the one from Cool Runnings.

Here is the recipe for Jamaican Rice & Peas; note that there are many various of this recipe:

  • 1/2 pack of Red Kidney Beans or 3/4 pack of Gungo Peas
  • 4 Cups White Rice
  • 1 whole dried coconut or 1 can of coconut milk
  • Cloves of garlic
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • Scallion
  • 1/4 stick of cooking Butter
  • Salt
  • Pimento (optional)
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper


  1. Chop the garlic
  2. Boil the peas and the coconut milk with the garlic until the peas is soft; you may need to add additional water depending on how long the peas takes to cook
  3. When the peas is cooked, add the salt, pepper, scallion and thyme, plus two cups of water; allow to come to a boil
  4. Add the rice
  5. Turn the flame down low so the rice does not burn; allow the rice to cook/simmer; cover the pot

Once done, eat when warm with your desired meat.

Tropical Diner and Cocktail Lounge
9409 S Gessner Dr
Houston, TX 77074
+1 (713) 271-8555
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Cool Runnings Jamaican Grill
8270 West Bellfort Street
Houston, TX
1- (713) 777-1566

1 comment

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  • Hi,
    I’m looking for a recipe to make my own rice & peas. I love em. Like your recipe, but don’t know how much is 1/2 pack beans. Can you tell me in cups please? I buy a BIG bag and store it.
    Thanks in advance – Linda


  • A mom creation :)
Toasted bread, beef patty and oven baked plaintain with lettuce
  • Bulla and cheese.
A favorite lunch food in Jamaica
  • Salmon and potatoes and asparagus for dinner.

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