Levi Roots' rice and peas recipe

(372 ratings)

We've got Levi Roots' delicious rice and peas recipe from his new show, Caribbean Food Made Easy. Find more Caribbean recipes from Levi Roots at goodtoknow.co.uk

  • Vegetarian
Cooking Time20 mins
Cost RangeNot

Try this classic Caribbean recipe from Levi Roots' BBC2 series, Caribbean Food Made Easy... And if you can't break into a fresh coconut, buy a can of coconut milk


  • 1 fresh coconut (or you could use coconut milk in a can)
  • 850ml (1½ pint) warm water
  • 1 hot red chilli (ideally Scotch bonnet), whole and undamaged
  • 7 allspice berries
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 spring onion, bruised with a rolling pin
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 400g can 30g black beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 450g (1lb) basmati rice




  1. First you need to get into your coconut. Decide which of the three 'eyes' (you'll see them at one end) is the one you are most likely to be able to break into - only one will work!
  2. Try to penetrate it with a strong, sharp-tipped knife. If that one doesn't work, try the others.
  3. Pour the coconut water out through the hole and set aside.
  4. Smash the coconut (doing this outside against a bit of concrete is a good idea).
  5. Using a small, sharp knife, lever the coconut flesh away from the shell.
  6. Grate the coconut into a bowl. Pour 650ml (1 pint 2fl oz) water over and stir. Lift the coconut flesh up in fistfuls and squeeze out all the juice into the water. Put the squeezed clumps of grated coconut into a sieve, transfer the coconut water to a saucepan, tip the squeezed coconut back into the bowl and cover with the remaining water. Again lift the coconut flesh up in fistfuls and squeeze out all the juice into the water. Transfer the coconut water to the saucepan. Discard the squeezed-out flesh. Add the coconut water from the coconut to the saucepan at this stage, if you like.
  7. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the basmati, to the saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover, then turn down and simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, wash the rice, in cold running water until the water is almost clear. Drain, then add to the coconut base. You may need to add some water to bring the level to about 2½cm (1in) above the level of the rice. Season again. Bring to the boil, then cover the rice immediately. Turn the heat down to its lowest level and cook for 15-20 minutes - don't stir it, and don't peek inside!
  9. Fish out the spring onion, thyme and chilli, give it a fork to stir it up, and serve immediately.
Levi Roots
Celebrity chef and entrepreneur

Levi Roots is a Jamaican-born chef and the inventor of the famous homemade BBQ sauce 'Reggae Reggae Sauce' seen in your local supermarket. Levi began his food journey in a tiny little village called Clarendon in Jamaica with his grandmother. He enjoyed helping her in the kitchen and believes she taught him the secrets of how to perfectly mix Caribbean flavours, herbs and spices all together as well as discovering his love for music when attending his grandmothers church. With his parents working in the Brixton, so they could bring their six children over to the UK, Levi finally was the last to move to London in 1970. By 1991, Levi had seven children and lived in Brixton, where he created his famous sauce and decided to create a stall called the 'Rasta'raunt' at Notting Hill Carnival, which combined Jamaican music and the food he was cooking together using his delicious Reggae Reggae sauce. After years of trying to launch the product, Levi was spotted by a researcher from the BBC and was asked to appear on Dragon's Den. Despite trepidation, the sauce was an instant hit to dragons and Levi gave 40% of his business to Dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh for £50,000 investment. By 2007, the sauce had hit the shelves across the country and it is now an essential item in many peoples cupboards. It truly is one of a kind and can be used in many different ways from marinading your chicken with it, to splashing it on top of a delicious rice dish, we've got some of our favourite recipes from the man himself for you to try.