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Ending the Debate: Rice and Peas, or Peas and Rice?

Rice and peas, or peas and rice? Photo: Canva

THE KITCHEN – Rice and peas, peas and rice, rice and…. beans? Or beans and rice? Those with African or Caribbean backgrounds have more than likely enjoyed a healthy serving of rice and peas/beans, or perhaps you call it peas/beans and rice. Online many people are debating what the dish is ACTUALLY called.

“We need to hear from the beans to see how they feel about being called a pea,” one woman joked.

“I was so confused the first time I heard it, but saw beans,” said another.

Online, people from Grenada, The Bahamas, and Guyana shared that personally, they call the dish “peas and rice”.

While many Jamaicans say they know it to be called “rice and peas”.

And social media users from Zimbabwe and Ghana have said that they call it “rice and beans”.

We looked into the origins of the dish to settle the debate once and for all!

Rice and peas is a traditional dish that can be credited to the Akan tribe from Ghana and Ivory Coast in West Africa, where it is called Waakye. It is often called “rice and peas” or “peas and rice”, as the ‘peas’ are traditionally pigeon peas or gungo peas, but often they’re swapped out with more widely available (and often cheaper!) kidney beans.

But some people are sharing their knowledge on the true origins of the name.

“Jamaicans call it rice and peas because traditionally it was made with gungo peas. I’m not sure when we started using red beans though, but I remember growing up on gungo peas,” one woman tweeted.

“For clarity, the ‘beans’ can either be ‘red beans’ or ‘gungo or pigeon peas’ so technically, they are actually peas sometimes, My grandma uses red beans but my mama used gungo peas,” another person added.

Though we know that people in countries around the world prepare dishes with a variety of different grains and legumes, it seems like whether you call the dish rice and peas, peas and rice, beans and rice, or rice and beans, you’re not wrong! It’s often more dependent on where you live or grew up, rather than the ingredients.

Let us know in the comments, what do you call this dish?



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