Rice and peas accompany the stuffed suckling-pig that James Bond imagines is being served at the Thunderbird hotel while he is hunting down Scaramanga in a mangrove swamp in the Jamaican-set The Man with the Golden Gun (1965). The two dishes are as inseparable as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and could be considered among the national dishes of the country. In fact, in an article published in 1947, Ian Fleming included roast stuffed suckling pig with rice and peas in a list of dishes visitors to Jamaica were likely to encounter. The recipe here, like that for the suckling-pig-inspired roast pork, adapts a Jamaican recipe in Mary Slater’s Cooking the Caribbean Way, published by Spring Books in 1965.
Recipe (serves two)
- 100g split peas
- 500ml water
- 200g long grain rice
- 400ml water or stock
- 1 tomato, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp chives, chopped
- 1 tsp thyme, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
Rinse the split peas, put them in a saucepan and add the water. Bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes. Drain the peas and set aside.
Put the rice in a saucepan, add the water or stock, cover the pan and bring to a vigorous boil. Keeping the lid on, remove the pan from the heat and let the rice stand for 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep frying-pan or large saucepan. Add the onion and gently fry it over a medium heat until it softens and begins to brown. Add the garlic, tomato, garlic, chives, thyme and parsley and continue to fry gently, stirring frequently. When the tomato has softened, add the split peas. Drain the rice if the water has not been fully absorbed. Tip the rice to the pan and fold into the mixture. Stir in a generous sprinkling of freshly-ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking and stirring until the ingredients are well combined and heated through.