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Haitian Red Beans and Rice (Riz et pois rouges)

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Haitian
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author International Cuisine


  • 1 1/2 cups dried red beans
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 scallions/green onions just the white/light green part, not the green tips
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes or maggi
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 hot pepper scotch bonnet or habenero
  • 1 can of coconut milk 14 oz
  • white long grain rice – 2 cups
  • Thyme and parsley stems to make a garni
  • oil
  • salt


  • The night before sort the beans and discard any broken or discolored beans. Rinse off well and put in a bowl. Fill it up with water until the water is covering the beans with about 1 1/2-2 inches of water above. If there are any beans that float, discard them. Soak beans overnight.
  • In the morning, drain beans, discard water, and set aside to cook.When you are ready, put on a pot of water to boil. Make sure you have at least 2-3 inches of water above the beans where you think the beans will reach in the pot. Once water boils, put beans, cover and bring to boil for 45-60 minutes. Do not add salt or the beans will never get tender. Add water as necessary during the cooking process. Once the beans are soft, remove from heat, cool a bit, and strain. Reserve strained water because you will use it later.
  • Place large pot on medium heat. Pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot (2-4 tablespoons). Heat. Put in crushed garlic and scallions. Fry for 2-4 minutes. Do not let them get brown.
  • Add the beans and turn over the beans until they are covered with the oil. Fry for 5-8 minutes. Again, don’t brown/burn the beans. You can stir occasionally, but not too much – it will break the beans apart and you want to leave them as whole as possible.
  • While this is cooking, measure the liquids. It is usually two cups of water to one cup of rice, but it depends on the type of rice and if you like the rice soft or firm. So if you want to cook 2 cups of rice, you will need around 4 cups of liquid. So measure out the coconut milk first because it contributes more to the dish that the bean water…. Then add bean water until you have 4 cups or so. If you have a lot, you won’t have to use all of it. If you don’t have enough, you’ll have to add water to make it reach your desired amount. Once the color of the beans slightly changes and it starts smelling good, add the coconut milk and reserved bean water to the pot.
  • Crush up the bouillon cubes completely. Add to pot and stir gently. Add it in small amounts of salt, stirring in and tasting each time. This is going to give you a clue as to how the rice will taste. Do not over salt as it will ruin it! So just salt to taste. Add in your Take the hot pepper and poke the smaller end of the whole clove into it. Poke 5-6 cloves in and drop it in the water. Increase heat to high, add in the thyme and parsley garni stems, cover and bring to a boil.
  • As the water is boiling, wash the rice. This gets rid of the starchy powder on it. Put the rice in a big bowl and put it in the sink to run water over it. Turn over the rice with your hand several times (15-20 times). The water should become cloudy. Strain completely and discard all of the water. Don’t let the rice sit in the water for more than 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the water is boiling, you need to add the rice, Add the rice in the middle of the pot making a mound and making sure there is no rice water going in. When the top of the rice mound is just barely out of the water, stop adding the rice. This is the proportion of rice to water will give you the best rice texture/consistency. T Stir once only, cover, bring to boil. Once it comes to a boil, you can uncover the pot. Don’t stir much anymore after you pour in the rice. If/when you need to stir, take the spoon through once only and let it come to a good boil before you stir again.
  • Once the water level is down to where you can see the rice and hardly any water, pour in a couple of tablespoons of oil around the edges of the pot. This helps the rice at the bottom of the pan get a bit fried, darkened, and crispy. Once you add the oil, turn the heat down to low and cover for 5-10 more minutes. Uncover for as little time as possible and fluff it a bit by sticking the spoon in the little and lifting or barely turning over. Do not stir. Cover again and do not take the cover off for about 15 minutes. Do not stir it at all during this time. After about 15 minutes, take off the lid and look to see if the rice done (soft and kind of broken open). If not done, cover and continue to cook, checking every 5 minutes or so until done. Remove hot pepper/cloves & tied spices before serving.