Recipe of the Month – Rice & Beans

The Caribbean dish ‘rice and beans’ may not be the first food that comes to mind when sat shivering in the cold highlands of Guatemala, yet it is a popular dish eaten along the east coast influenced by the Garifuna culture. The magic ingredient for Garifuna cooking: coconut, and lots of it! Let Caribbean culture infuse your soul and fill your belly with this delicious side dish.

I suggest using tinned beans for this recipe for those of you not lucky enough to own your own pressure cooker. The coconut milk can be bought in larger tiendas in Xela.

This recipe serves 3-4 people as a side. It can be served with stir-fry or pollo a la barbacoa. But my favorite combo for rice and beans is as a filling for a breakfast burrito with cheese, a carb lover’s heaven that gives Black Cat’s breakfast burrito a run for its money, (almost)!


  • One tin of red kidney beans (frijoles rojos)
  • Two cups of rice
  • One tin of coconut milk
  • One tsp of ‘comino’
  • 2-3 springs of fresh ‘tomillo’ or half a teaspoon of dried tomillo
  • Salt to taste


1. Start by adding the can of coconut milk to a medium sized pan. Begin to heat over a low heat

2. Add the two measuring cups of rice and stir. Warning: the rice sticks really easily to the pan because of the coconut milk so don’t go off and forget about it. The trick: hay que estar pendiente – stay on standby stirring the rice every couple of minutes

3. When all the milk has been absorbed and it looks like the mixture needs more liquid add un poco de agua pura until the rice is cooked through, adding more if necessary. (You could also use coconut water sold at the market if you can find it)

4. When the rice is getting soft, add the springs of ‘tomillo’, the cumin, and the drained can of kidney beans, mix well and warm through

5. When the rice is cooked, add salt to taste, and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before serving.

6. Serve with your favourite burrito, stir fry or barbecued meat. Buen provecho!

Book your cookery class with Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA) where Women Circle members offer traditional Mayan techniques. Check out their website ( for more information.

My food blog online can be found at http://recetasguatemaltecas ymas.

You may also like...