Chicken with rice, peas and dumplings

A classic dish from the Caribbean, full of big, spicy flavours for hearty appetites.

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For the rice and peas

For the sauce

For the dumplings

For the chicken


  1. For the rice & peas, tip the beans into a pan, add 400ml/14floz water and boil for three minutes. Add the coconut milk, Scotch bonnet, spring onions and thyme, bring to the boil again and cook for five minutes.

  2. Add the rice and, if necessary, a little extra boiling water so the rice is just covered. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 12–15 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

  3. For the sauce, bring about 250ml/9fl oz water to the boil. Add the chopped onion, peppers and Scotch bonnet and boil for three minutes. Add the ketchup, gravy browning and sugar, then simmer for another three minutes.

  4. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of water and add to the sauce to thicken. Stir thoroughly then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside in a warm place.

  5. For the dumplings, stir the salt into the flour. Add water to make a dough and knead together well then shape the mixture into small balls. Heat the oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the dumplings for 2–4 minutes until golden then drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

  6. For the chicken, mix the plain flour with the garlic powder and seasonings in a bowl. Dip the chicken breasts into the mixture until well coated.

  7. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep pan to about 170C/325F. The oil is hot enough when a cube of bread floats to the surface and turns golden-brown. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Never leave the pan unattended.)

  8. Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, until cooked through and golden- brown. Drain on kitchen paper then serve with the rice and peas, sauce and dumplings.

Recipe Tips

The seasonings used for the chicken can be bought from good spice shops but are easy to make up at home. Simply mix the ingredients well; they will keep for several weeks in airtight containers.
For the hot and spicy seasoning:
6 tsp paprika, 4 tsp black pepper, 4 tsp dried thyme, 4 tsp dried oregano, 3 tsp English mustard powder, 3 tsp cayenne pepper, 2½ tsp salt, 2 tsp onion powder and 2 tsp garlic powder
For the all-purpose seasoning:
1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp ground mace, 1 tsp dried marjoram, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp dried parsley, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp summer savoury