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Jerk Chicken With Rice and Peas

6 Mins read
fried chicken tabaca wooden board

You’ve just stumbled upon the ultimate guide to making jerk chicken with rice & peas!

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, you’ll find this recipe easy to follow. We’ll delve into the history, explore unique ingredients, and guide you through each step.

Plus, we’ve got exciting pairing suggestions and health facts.

Ready to bring a taste of the Caribbean into your kitchen? Let’s dive in!

The History Behind Jerk Chicken

You’re about to delve into the fascinating history behind jerk chicken, a dish that’s captivated taste buds for centuries. Originating from Jamaica, this culinary delight’s roots stretch back to the indigenous Taino people who developed the jerk seasoning method.

traditional chicken lavangi wooden board rice onion walnuts cheery plum top view

Imagine yourself back in the 17th century, you’d see escaped African slaves, known as Maroons, adapting this cooking style using local ingredients like Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, and thyme. They’d bury the meat in pits to avoid detection, which inadvertently gave it a smoky flavor that’s a jerk chicken hallmark today.

The dish’s name? It’s believed to come from ‘charqui’, a Spanish term for dried meat. Isn’t it fascinating how history, survival, and cultural melding have created this mouth-watering dish you enjoy today?

Exploring the Unique Ingredients of Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas

In your culinary journey, you’ll discover that this dish’s unique flavor profile comes from a blend of interesting ingredients.

The backbone of jerk chicken is its fiery spice mix. You’ll find Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice berries, thyme, and cinnamon, creating a concoction that’s both hot and aromatic.

Next, you’ll encounter the mild, sweet flavor of coconut milk in the rice and peas. It’s a perfect counterbalance to the chicken’s spice. The ‘peas’ are actually kidney beans, adding a hearty, earthy note.

Last but not least, you’ll taste a hint of lime, providing a zesty kick. It’s a complex combination, but that’s what makes jerk chicken with rice and peas so fascinating.

You’re not just eating a meal, you’re experiencing a symphony of flavors.

Step-By-Step Recipe for Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas

top view fried chicken with rice pan with sauce vegetable salad

Ready to embark on a culinary adventure? Let’s dive into a step-by-step guide that’ll have you creating a flavorful Caribbean dish in your own kitchen.

First, marinate your chicken in jerk seasoning overnight to infuse the flavor.

Next, sear the chicken on high heat until it’s slightly charred.

Then, reduce the heat and let it cook thoroughly.

For the rice and peas, sauté onions and garlic until they’re fragrant, then add in your rice.

Throw in kidney beans, thyme, coconut milk, and water, then let it simmer until the rice is tender.

Season it to taste.

Now, you’ve got jerk chicken with rice and peas, a Caribbean classic!

Don’t forget to garnish with some fresh cilantro for that final touch.

Enjoy the journey and the delicious destination!

Pairing Suggestions for Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas

Pairing this Caribbean dish with a chilled glass of fruity white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, really hits the spot! The crisp acidity of the wine complements the spicy flavors of the jerk chicken, while its fruity undertones echo the sweet and savory notes of the rice & peas.

grilled chicken wooden board with tomato potato pepper sauces rosemary pickles top view

You’ll find that the wine’s lightness balances the hearty richness of the dish, making for a satisfying meal.

If you’re more of a beer person, try a cold lager. Its crisp, refreshing taste cuts through the spice and brings out the complexity of the dish. Just remember, the key is to counterbalance the heat and spice of the jerk chicken with something cooling and refreshing.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Facts of Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas

You’ll be pleased to know that this delicious Caribbean dish isn’t only full of flavor, but also packed with nutritional benefits.

Jerk chicken, marinated in a spicy blend of allspice, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers, provides a good source of protein essential for muscle growth and repair.

Rice and peas, a staple side dish, contribute carbohydrates and fiber, vital for energy and digestion respectively. Moreover, the peas are packed with proteins and vital nutrients like iron and Vitamin C.

The dish’s vibrant mix of spices, including garlic and ginger, boosts your immunity.


traditional chicken lavangi wooden board rice onion walnuts cheery plum top view


You've just stumbled upon the ultimate guide to making jerk chicken with rice & peas!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6


  • 12 chicken thighs bone in
  • 1 lime halved
  • hot sauce to serve (optional)

For the marinade

  • 1 big bunch spring onions roughly chopped
  • thumb-sized piece ginger roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ a small onion
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies deseeded if you want less heat
  • ½ tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice

For the rice & peas

  • 200 g basmati rice
  • 400 g can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch spring onions sliced
  • 2 large thyme sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 x 410g cans kidney beans drained



  • To make the jerk marinade, combine the spring onions, ginger, garlic, onion, scotch bonnet chillies, dried thyme, lime juice, soy sauce, vegetable oil, brown sugar and ground allspice in a food processor along with 1 tsp salt, and blend to a purée. If you’re having trouble getting it to blend, just keep turning off the blender, stirring the mixture, and trying again. Eventually it will start to blend up – don’t be tempted to add water, as you want a thick paste.


  • Taste the jerk mixture for seasoning – it should taste pretty salty, but not unpleasantly, puckering salty. You can now throw in more chillies if it’s not spicy enough for you. If it tastes too salty and sour, try adding in a bit more brown sugar until the mixture tastes well balanced.


  • Make a few slashes in 12 chicken thighs and pour the marinade over the meat, rubbing it into all the crevices. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.


  • If you want to barbecue your chicken, get the coals burning 1 hr or so before you’re ready to cook. Authentic jerked meats are not exactly grilled as we think of grilling, but sort of smoke-grilled. To get a more authentic jerk experience, add some wood chips to your barbecue, and cook your chicken over slow, indirect heat for 30 mins.


  • To cook in the oven, heat to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the chicken pieces in a roasting tin with the halved lime and cook for 45 mins until tender and cooked through.


  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice & peas. Rinse the basmati rice in plenty of cold water, then tip it into a large saucepan. Add the coconut milk, spring onions, thyme sprigs, garlic and ground allspice.


  • Season with salt, add 300ml cold water and set over a high heat. Once the rice begins to boil, turn it down to a medium heat, cover and cook for 10 mins. Add the kidney beans to the rice, then cover with a lid. Leave off the heat for 5 mins until all the liquid is absorbed.


  • Squeeze the roasted lime over the chicken and serve with the rice & peas, and some hot sauce if you like it really spicy.


Can I Use Any Other Meat Instead of Chicken for This Dish?

Absolutely, you can substitute chicken with any meat you prefer. Try using pork or beef, they’ll soak up the spices nicely. It’s your meal, so tweak the recipe to suit your tastes. Enjoy cooking!

What Other Dishes Can I Cook Using the Same Ingredients as Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas?

You’re asking about alternative dishes using similar ingredients. Absolutely! You could whip up a jerk shrimp stir-fry, spicy vegetable soup, or even a jerk tofu scramble. The possibilities are endless with these ingredients.

fried chicken with tomato pepper potato chili sauce side view

What Could Be a Vegetarian Version of Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas?

You’re looking for a vegetarian twist on a traditional dish. Try jerk tofu with rice and peas. It’ll give you similar flavors, but uses tofu as a protein substitute for the chicken. Enjoy your meal!

What Are the Best Ways to Store Leftovers of Jerk Chicken With Rice & Peas?

To store leftovers, you’ll want to put them in an airtight container. Refrigerate immediately, and they’ll keep for about 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze them; they’ll last for about 2-3 months.

Can I Use Instant Rice for the Rice & Peas Portion of the Recipe?

Absolutely, you can use instant rice for your recipe. It’s quick and convenient. Just remember, it may not absorb the flavors as well as traditional rice, but it’ll certainly save you some time.


So, you’ve journeyed through the history, discovered the unique ingredients, learned the recipe, and even explored the best pairings for jerk chicken with rice & peas.

fried chicken tabaca wooden board

Not only is this dish a flavorful feast, it’s also packed with health benefits.

Now it’s your turn to bring this Jamaican classic to your own kitchen. Go ahead, surprise your tastebuds and give yourself a well-deserved, nutritious treat with jerk chicken with rice & peas.

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About author
Meet Sue Perera, the culinary aficionado behind our captivating recipe hub. An imaginative and talented young woman, Sue has an unwavering passion for all things food – especially those aromatic wonders, cinnamon and thyme. Her deep-seated love for these two unique spices inspired the birth of this website, but don't be fooled – her culinary repertoire extends far beyond these two ingredients.
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