Belizean rice and beans has become one of my favourite foods. The extended time I spent in Belize earlier this year really helped me to discover it as a foodie destination and take in all the multicultural influences there are there that play such a huge part in its cuisine.
As soon as I landed in Belize I started asking people, what do they eat here? What are the staple dishes, what dishes does everyone LOVE and what is the best way to make them? The number one thing I heard was 'rice and beans'. I started looking into how Belizeans make this dish their own and learned that it is the herbs and the fact the rice is partly cooked in coconut milk and using the cooking water from the red kidney beans. I couldn't wait to try it myself and see what I could come up with.
Of course, the best place to try Belizean rice and beans is in Belize itself, and I cannot recommend it more as a place to visit. It has great food, amazing weather, beautiful warm people and so much to do whilst you're there. I am heading back in a few weeks time and I could not be more excited.
Traditionally rice and beans is often a side dish served with Belizean stewed chicken which I also learned how to make and put my own little twist on. I like eating Belizean rice and beans on their own though, the coconut milk makes it creamy and filling and the beans give you protein, so what's not to love? Doused in Marie Sharp's Belizean hot sauce and smothered in fresh coriander leaves, that's how I like it.
The ratio with rice is always 2:1 so 2 parts water to 1 part rice. So you can scale this recipe up or down just keep to that ratio.
- Green or yellow bell pepper
- White Onion
- Coriander stalks and leaves
- White rice
- Chicken stock
- Coconut milk
- Cooked Red kidney beans
- Dried thyme
- Dried oregano
- Vegetable or coconut oil
- Fresh lime
See the recipe card for quantities.
If you are cooking the kidney beans yourself, prepare these ahead of time but keep back some of the water. If you are using canned kidney beans, drain them but also keep the water.
Heat some vegetable or coconut oil in a stockpot or casserole dish over medium and fry the pepper and onion until softened, then add the garlic for a further minute. Add the thyme and oregano and rice and stir for 30 seconds or so to toast the grains and coat everything in spices.
Now add the beans, coconut milk, reserved cooking water and stock and stir through.
Add some coriander stalks chopped very small. Bring to a simmer, then turn to medium-low and cover.
Leave for 25 minutes and then stir through a little of the reserved cooking water from the beans. Leave for a further 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Garnish with some fresh coriander leaves, squeeze over a wedge of lime and season to taste. I drizzled a bit of Marie Sharps Hot Sauce on mine because she is a Belizean institution and I now eat her hot sauce with almost everything!
Hint: I like to stir the rice through with a fork to fluff it up once it is all done before serving.
A few ways you can make this Belizean rice and beans recipe suit you.
- Beans - You could try this with other beans if you like
- Rice - If using brown rice, you will need a longer cooking time and more liquid to stop it drying out
- Vegetarian - Use vegetable stock instead of chicken
You can dial up the heat as much as you want with the hot sauce afterwards, see how fiery you can take it...
This is a one pot dish, super easy. I make it in a casserole pot or a big saucepan but use a heavy bottom one as you want even heat distribution. Using a metal saucepan means it more likely your liquid will boil away too fast and the rice will stick and you'll have to top it up and keep stirring, so keep an eye on it.
Storing rice after cooking and reheating is one of those things you have to be careful with. Therefore I always recommend you just make as much as you need.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
The dried herbs in this dish are what make it SO fragrant and special, definitely don't skip them!
Belizean Rice and Beans
- Large saucepan or casserole pot
- 1 bell pepper (yellow or green is best)
- 1 white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 240 grams kidney beans (cooked)
- 185 grams white rice
- 250 ml chicken broth
- 250 ml coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 tablespoon fresh coriander (use both the stalks and the leaves)
- If you are cooking the kidney beans yourself, prepare these ahead of time but keep back some of the water. If you are using canned kidney beans, drain them but also keep the water.
- Dice and bell pepper and onion into small pieces that are roughly the same size as the beans. Crush the garlic into a paste.
- Heat some vegetable or coconut oil in a stockpot or casserole dish over medium and fry the pepper and onion until softened, then add the garlic for a further 30 seconds.
- Add the thyme and oregano and rice and stir for 30 seconds or so to toast the grains and coat everything in spices.
- Now add the beans, coconut milk, reserved cooking water and stock and stir through. Bring to a simmer, then turn to medium-low and cover.
- Leave for 25 minutes and then stir through a splash of the reserved kidney bean water (or more if it needs it). Add some chopped coriander stalk and leave for another 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice and beans with a fork and serve in warm bowls. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and season to taste. Spice it up with a bit of Marie Sharps Belizean Hot Sauce