April 2, 2015

Gungo peas and rice is a variation of traditional Rice and Peas. However, instead of kidney beans, gungo peas (also called pigeon peas) are used. This version uses creamed coconut which can be found at tropical grocers and some supermarkets. However, you can also make it with coconut milk. For the same recipe using coconut milk instead of coconut cream, go to Jamaican Rice and Peas Recipe and use gungo peas instead.

Foolproof Tip: All the liquid for this recipe – water and liquid from beans – should add up to 4 cups


  • 1 can (19oz) Gungo peas (also called pigeon peas), including liquid
  • 19-oz Water
  • ⅓ pkg Creamed coconut
  • 1 Small onion or 2 stalks scallion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1½ to 2 tsp Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 cups Long grain rice (rinsed and drained)


  • Empty canned gungo peas and liquid into a large saucepan.
  • Fill empty can with water and pour in saucepan.
  • Add chopped onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper
  • Add creamed coconut and ½ cup water and bring to a boil.
  • Add rice and boil on High for 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat to Low, and cook covered until all water is absorbed (about 15 to 20 min).
  • Fluff with fork before serving.


Serves: 6 to 8

I’ve been cooking Jamaican food for my family for more than 50 years! Now I'm teaching my daughter Angela and you how to cook my treasured family recipes! I'm happy to be of service and love hearing from you so don't forget to leave a comment below.



  • Reply
    May 13, 2013

    Always love my Island cooking yeah man!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013

    I’ve been to the caribbean, Peas & Rice is not made with Red Kidney Beans. thanks for an Authentic recipe, and the coconut cream is the perfect touch to bring in the smooth, slightly sweet, Jamaica flavor thats really authentic. Lovely Mon!

    • Reply
      September 15, 2013

      Hi Sherry,

      Depends sometimes they use gungo peas and sometimes use kidney beans.

      I prefer to use dried kidney beans, I love the pretty purple colour it gives the rice!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2013

    I’ve always preferred rice’n’peas with gungo peas rather than kidney beans. I’m cooking ure recipe as I type…the rice is just bubbling away in a pot of flavour :p having the rice with some curry stew chicken, a recipe I got from caribbeanpot.com. Keep up the good work ure recipes are super tasty and authentic.

    • Reply
      August 23, 2013

      …just one small suggestion for anyone trying this recipe…I would suggest 1 tsp of salt (or even less) would be sufficient as I have just finished preparing this and my rice is wayyy too salty.

      • Reply Cook Like A Jamaican
        Cook Like A Jamaican
        August 24, 2013

        For this recipe I use the liquid packed with the canned peas. Some brands add salt to the liquid others don’t, so just adjust the salt based on your preference. Blessings, Fay

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013

    I tried thid for my jamaican husband and he said it taste just like home :)

  • Reply
    November 18, 2013

    Great recipe I will try as the holiday is near . I adore watching your videos you are truly blessed n highly favored.

    Thank You for sharing this with us : – )

  • Reply
    December 15, 2013

    This isn’t really authentic Jamaican rice and peas. This is the lazy version I would cook mid week but at weekends I make the real mckoy with dried gungo peas cooked in my pressure cooker with garlic, scallion and fresh not dried thyme and I was born in England! My mum is 60 and has never used tinned peas in her life. My nan would be rolling in her grave!!

    • Reply
      January 26, 2014

      Well, I’m sure this recipe is modified for the non-islanders, like myself (using canned peas and dried thyme). I’m just beginning to dabble in making Jamaican food, and I must say that this site is truly helpful. My food tastes as good as the food from my local Jamaican restaurant. Thank you!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2014

    Love uour website, I am on a mission to try as many recipes as possible.
    Have already done the banana fritters and loved em. I was wondering
    how the recipe for the rice and gungo peas could be adjusted for coconut
    milk instead of cream.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014

    In the Spanish-speaking areas and some English-speaking areas south of Jamaica red beans are used. Where did you go on your Caribbean visit?

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015

    I will first thank you for having shared your family food traditional secrets. I will try both the (Gunga and the kidney beans) Rice And Pea Recipe. I think I like the gunga more than the kidney beans, because kidney beans are a more Soul Food tradition, perhaps, because I am so familiar with them. Besides, I will look forward to meet this challenge, since the idea has been entertained in the last couple of days. Again, Gratia (thanks).

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