I know that’s probably an odd title for a blog post, but the truth is, the smell of sautéing onion and garlic makes me happy. Very, very happy.  Tonight I kept sticking my face down in the pot and almost forgot to add all the other ingredients!  I did add the other ingredients, though, and this is what I made:

Red Beans and Coconut Rice
(from www.cheapcooking.com)

1 Tbs oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked rice (I used brown)
2 15-oz cans of kidney beans or small red beans if you can find them, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can coconut milk
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the onion until soft, then add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add everything else and bring to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, letting the rice absorb most of the coconut milk.

Now, I changed this up a bit.  First, I doubled the recipe.  I wanted leftovers.  Next, I added more garlic.  My rule of thumb for cooking is to always double the amount of garlic the much-too-cautious cookbook writers say to add, so double the garlic I did, and I wasn’t disappointed.  I used dry small red beans that I cooked earlier in the day rather than using the canned beans.  This was cheaper than canned beans and made me feel better about splurging on coconut milk.  I also added a little sugar and vanilla, and although I really and truly tried to resist the temptation, at the end I threw in some curry, because I just knew that curry would snazz it up a bit and up its deliciousness factor.  I think that for tomorrow night’s leftovers I’m going to add some fresh basil, because basil is my favorite flavor to add to food, I think.  Well, garlic is my favorite flavor, too.  How about both of them together. 

I think I like this recipe so much because it reminds me of the Trinidadian Peas and Rice recipe I made with Megan last time I visited her in Chicago.  This recipe is much more labor-intensive, but it’s absolutely, positively, amazingly wonderful.  It’s even more delicious if you make it with a friend.

Trinidadian Peas and Rice
(Bernice, this is that recipe I promised you, uh, almost year ago.  With you guys I halved the curry since Ann doesn’t like curry, but if I were you I would sneak the extra tablespoon in when she’s not looking.)

 2 tsp minced garlic (except I always add more)

½ cup finely chopped red onion

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cups rice (I always use brown, but either kind will do.  You can also use wild rice.)

2 cans red kidney beans

1 package fresh thyme

1/3 cup finely chopped chives

2 tbsp curry powder

½ tsp pepper

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

6 cups coconut milk (3 cans)

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Saute garlic and onion in hot oil for a few seconds.
  2. Add rice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly brown
  3. Add red kidney beans, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes more.
  4. Stir in coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla, and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add curry, thyme, and chives, then simmer for 10 minutes (or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed).
  7. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Anybody else have a good beans and rice recipe to share?  I’d love to hear about it!


7 thoughts on “The smell of sautéing onion and garlic makes me happy

  1. chill24 says:

    paul is the beans and rice chef in our home so i’ll let him comment if he wants to share. i did however buy some bamboo rice that i’m excited to try. i’ll let you know what we think of the flavor. first i have to find a recipe (i suppose we could eat it plain but what fun would that be?).

  2. Yum!! I’m so glad you got some onion! 🙂
    I firmly believe that beans and rice (together or alone) are the perfect food(s). I have a Jamaican Peas and Rice recipe that I love, too, but it’s an awful lot like the two Jill already posted. So I’m going to post an Indian kidney bean recipe, and you can serve it with rice. It always reminds me of chili, but with a distinctive Indian flair.
    This recipe is slightly adapted from one of my very favorite cookbooks, Madhur Jaffrey’s _World Vegetarian_. She is the least intimidating, and not-too-fussy, explainer of how to make foods from other cultures.

    Spicy Punjabi Red Kidney Bean Stew
    (She serves it with crusty whole wheat bread, but suggests rice or bulgur pilaf, too.)

    1 1/2 c. dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight or all day (or 3-4 cans, if you’d rather save some time and work)
    2 t. salt, or to taste
    3 T. peanut or canola oil
    1 c. chopped onions
    1 T. peeled and finely chopped garlic
    1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
    1 1/4 c. chopped ripe tomatoes (or 1 can diced)
    2 t. ground coriander
    1/4 t. cayenne
    2 t. ground cumin
    1 fresh hot green chile, finely chopped (leave the seeds out if you want it milder)
    2 t. fresh lemon juice

    1. Drain soaking water from kidney beans. Cook in 6 c. of water by bringing to a boil and then simmering till tender. Add the salt to the beans and stir to mix.
    2. Put the oil in a wide, medium pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the onions. Stir and fry until the onions are a rich, reddish-brown color. Add the garlic and stir a few times, then add the ginger and stir once or twice. Add the tomatoes, coriander, cayenne, cumin, and chile. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly reduced. Stir in the cooked beans and their liquid as well as the lemon juice. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes to marry all the flavors. Serve hot.
    Serves 4-6.

    Boy, this makes me want to eat!! Thanks for the foodie post, Jill!

  3. Jill says:

    I just realized that my two recipes sound basically identical. The main difference is that in the last recipe I use fresh thyme (and a heck of a lot of it, at that), which takes forever, and I do mean FOREVER to de-twig, or de-leaf, or however you say it. The fresh thyme and chives do add a really fresh taste to the dish, and the flecks of green also make it kind of pretty. My recommendation is to make the first recipe if you want a quick meal and the second recipe if you have help and have time to enjoy the serendipity of the recipe’s labor-intensive, but rewarding, process.

    Thanks for the recipe, Rachel! That sounds so good! I can’t wait to cook up some yummy food with you next week! 🙂

    What is bamboo rice, Calana? Let me know what you do with it!

  4. Jill says:

    My friend Kelly tried to post a comment, but it was somehow swallowed in cyberspace, so I’m posting for her:

    YUMMY! I bought the coconut milk this week, so I hope to make this soon. I am still finishing up my beans from last week. Here’s my recipe:

    Black Beans & Rice


    Rich with soluble fiber.

    Mmm. Mmm.

    Is that enough motivation to prepare this recipe tonight?

    Okay, how about the fact that each serving runs around 495 calories with 21 grams of protein in it an only 3 grams of fat?

    Okay, so it’s starting to sound better than chewing cardboard.

    If you’ve never tried Black Beans and Rice, now is the time.

    You can cheat a little on the recipe by purchasing prepared black beans in the can, or you can quick-soak the beans in a crock pot to reduce the over-night preparation time, but it still takes 5-hours on a high-heat setting.

    Makes 7 Cups

    * 1 lb. Dried Black Beans (3 cups); Picked Over and Rinsed

    * 8 cups Water

    * 6 Cloves Garlic; Crushed

    * 2 Tbs. Dried Oregano

    * 1 Bay Leaf

    * 2 tsp. Olive Oil

    * 1 Large Onion; Chopped

    * 1 Red Bell Pepper; Chopped

    * 1 Tbs. Ground Cumin

    * 1 Jalapeno Pepper; Seeded and Chopped

    * 2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar

    * 1 tsp. Salt

    * Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

    * 2 cups Long-Grain White Rice

    * 1 Lime; Sliced into 8 Wedges

    Soak beans in cold water overnight making sure all beans are covered by 2-inches of water.

    Drain and rinse beans.

    Place in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.

    Add 4 cups of water, garlic, oregano, and bay leaf.

    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. cover and simmer until beans are tender, approximately 2-hours.

    Drain beans and return to the pot or Dutch oven.

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

    Add onion and pepper, cook, stirring occasionally until softened for about 5-minutes.

    Add cumin and jalapeno, cook, stirring until softened for approximately 1-minute more.

    Stir onion mixture and vinegar into beans.

    Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring remaining 4 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil.

    Add rice, cover and reduce heat to low. simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, approximately 15 to 20-minutes.

    Serve the beans over the rice with lime wedges on the side of the serving dish.

    I really enjoyed mine with the lime and a little cheddar cheese! It is a completely different style then your recipe. Oh, invite other bean lovers b/c it makes a huge potful!

  5. Jill says:

    How dorky is it that I keep commenting on my own blog? 🙂

    My cousin Julie just emailed me this recipe, so I thought I’d share it as well. I can’t wait to try it!

    2 small onions chopped
    1 bell pepper chopped
    1/4 c vegetable oil
    2 tsp. Minced garlic
    2 15 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
    1 tsp minced jalapenos
    6 0z cream cheese
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

    Heat oil. Cook onion, pepper, garlic and jalapenos for 2 minutes. Add beans. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Cube cream cheese and add to skillet with salt. Cook 2 minutes stir in cilantro. Roll in tortillas and serve.

  6. kelly says:

    All your recipes look so yummy! I can’t wait to try them . . . and on that note, my coconut milk was cream of coconut as well! Back to the grocery store I go . . .

  7. chill24 says:

    the bamboo rice is green – haven’t cooked it yet.
    i’ll let you know how it goes.

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