Guyanese Cook-up Rice
As promised I’m slowly going through all of my recipe requests and this was on the top of my list. Cook-up Rice is a traditional Guyanese recipe that’s very versatile. It is a one pot dish that can be made with any type of peas, such as pigeon peas or chickpeas and some type of meat. If you’re not a lover of peas or beans you can opt not to use peas and use callaloo or spinach in place of the peas. To add extra flavor you can use salted pigs tail or salt beef, I didn’t have either so I used a chunk of corned beef brisket that I scooped up at the store this past weekend. Today I made black eyed peas Cook-up with chicken and beef, my favorite! This dish seems complicated but I promise you it’s not, just follow the instructions and you will have a perfectly cooked meal. For those of you who have never had this dish, here’s a little tip, it tastes even better the next day!
Get the Recipe A traditional Guyanese Cook-up Rice.
- 1 cup black eyed peas
- 3 lbs chicken, cut up
- 1 lb corned beef brisket or salted pigtail cut into bite sized pieces, you can use regular beef also
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 scallion, finely chopped about
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 wiri wiri pepper
- 2 chicken bouillon
- 1 13 oz can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups rice
- approximately 5 cups water
- *I included the recipe for green seasoning at the bottom of the post.
- Place peas in a a bowl with enough water to cover and soak overnight. Strain the peas and place in a pot and cover with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, the peas will soften, set aside.
- Season chicken with green seasoning* and let sit for at least an hour. Place beef brisket(or pigtail) in pressure cooker with 3 cups water and pressure for 15 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker cook for about 30 minutes.
- In a separate pot over a medium fire, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add chicken and allow to brown. Add onion, garlic, thyme and pepper and cook for a minute or two.
- Add beef or pigtail and coconut milk to chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil then add 2 cups rice, cooked peas, scallion, bay leaf and bouillon and stir pot thoroughly.
- Lower to a simmer then cover pot. On a low fire, cook for 25 to 30 minutes. The rice should be tender and all of the liquid should be absorbed. If rice is not tender and all of the liquid is gone, add water, a little at a time and continue to cook until rice is tender.
*Green seasoning is usually a mixture of onion, scallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and salt that is finely chopped in the food processor or blender. This is used to season meat and add flavor to food. There are no exact measurements, you can use as little or as much of each ingredient according to your taste.
My mother made this growing up, and I hated it! But yours looks so appetizing and inviting. I’ll have to try it!
Priya I have this one rule when it comes to food. If I hated it as a child, I retry it as an adult because our taste buds change as we get older. So I urge you to give it one more shot!
please please make a recipe book! holy cook up rice! my fav!!!!!
i love when my Grandma makes this she adds yellow bell peppers when cooking it taste better
Black eye cook up is my absolute fav….my mom would add salt beef as u listed
but also chicken foot, tripe and neck pob=ne and depending on the crowd pig tail…one of the best dishes…
ohhh ma gad..black man food..
I also use vegetables for cook up rice…no meat, just pumpkin, spinach and ochroes or sometimes I use beans and a vegetable. Do you know you can also use turning planting in the cook up? try it the next time, just add the planting when you add your rice before covering it to cook.
Yum, that sounds so delicious. I’ve had spinach, okra and pumpkin in cook up but never without meat. I will def try an all vegetarian cookup.
This is not a racist dish as norny said, this a traditional Guyanese dish that almost everyone cook on “ole years night” — be proud to be called a Guyanese. I am.
Cook-up wow my fav.dish love it
My dad used to put green plantain and yam in the cook up and it will look blueish in colour he cooks it at the back dam where he used to cut his cane and make bush cook it was the most delicious cook up with no meat in it.
Love cook up rice.
Cook Up Rice.. yes iNdeed! Can’t go wrong. And yes this is made ‘old years night’ iNdeed. Wow u takin’ me back. I love my guyanese heritage. Raise ya flag and wave in dey face.
The best way to make cook up rice is to cook it on a wood fire outside. On Long Island, we do it in a fire pit and it works wonderfully. It’s absolutely yummy and a upscale version of bush cooking. The smokiness adds a whole other level of complexity to the dish. We make various versions that can include pickled mackerel, corned beef or corned mutton depending on the guests.
OMG! Jehan, I made this for the first time and WOW!!! it was very tasty. To my surprise, it was easy to cook and I was able to get all the ingredients. I added a few other types of peas and beans to the dish and it DID NOT ruin the dish. My mother’s version is too fussy, long, and some of the ingredients I cannot get in my neighborhood. Thank You for this and for the post.
Man, I haven’t eaten cook-up rice on so long, and this recipe looks great. Everybody got there own style fa cook this thing, some use sardine or dry saltfish with spinach and peas and channa with corn beef. I lived in New York since 3 years old till 26, and now living in West Virgina where you can’t find anything indian style. I will try this recipe and see if it takes me back to my youth. Jehan, you get any recipe for 7 curry? If so, I want it and also since I cant get my hands on any masala, what if any, is a good alternative?
Hi Veron, thanks for visiting! I will be cooking vegetarian style curry next week so keep posted. Look for Masala at the Indian grocery stores. I recently did a post on how to survive when you no longer live in NY or Caribbean, I think you will find it interesting. Survival Guide for the Caribbean Cook Let me know how the cook-up turns out!
Thank you so much! I am Guyanese and the only one that cooked this dish for me, and I mean, that can really put her foot in it was my Mom. I left Guyana when I was very young, and mostly lived in cities that I could not find the ingredients in my neighborhood. My son visits my ex-husband who lives in New York, whenever he gets the chance, and he talks about his Dad’s wife who can make this dish and he really likes it. I have a slight allergery to peanuts and anything in the nut family. so I will attempt to make this dish without the coconut milk or skimp on the milk. It is not the same. Yesterday, I suddenly had a craving for some authentic Guyanese cook-up rice, and I wanted to surprise my son with Sunday dinner. Well I surprise my self, and my cook-up rice is the real thing. Thanks again! I made mine with yellow split peas, corn beef brisket, ox tail, pig tail, and chicken.
This sounds absolutely divine VaunP, I’m glad I can help you recreate meals your mom used to cook.
Am trying to find out where to buy wiri wiri peppers. Hope someone can tell me where in Southern California I would be able to find those peppers!
Susan I’m not familiar with any place that sells wiri wiri in California.
Thanks Jehan…Maybe you could let me know the name of the Guyanese Grocery store in Atlanta – You do get wiri wiri peppers there, correct?
I have sisters in Ft Lauderdale, Florida – and my son’s classmate now lives in Atlanta…so maybe I can get someone to visit that store for me…
So I really would appreciate if you would tell me the name of the store with phone or address so I can know where to go (or send my family)!
Susan, the store in Atlanta is:
Georgetown Food Market
4055 Covington Highway
Decatur, Ga 30032
To find Guyanese food in Queens head to Richmond Hill on Liberty Avenue between Van Wyck Expressway and Lefferts Blvd. That area is known as little Guyana. Check this post for pictures. https://jehancancook.com/?p=1388
Btw, Jehan, would you know of a Guyanese Grocery store in New York?
My cousins live in New York – Laurelton/Queens…so please share!
Thank you so much, Jehan!
I can’t wait to check the out! Maybe I’ll plan to visit New York soon…Please let me know if any Guyanese stores in South Florida or even in Orlando…got relatives there or in Jacksonville.
Jehan, I made cook up rice last night….OMG! Delicious.
Your recipes are so easy to follow; I love it!!! It was a happy day when I stumbled upon your blog, way to go…..
Thanks Skyy, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I love cook up rice. I’m Asian and I got introduced to Guyanese cooking almost 8 years ago by a good friend of mine. I learned to cook dhal, cook up, curry shrimp and even curry crab. Love caribbean food.
Hello. I would like to know how to make chickpeas and spinach cookup. I am Ohio and there isn’t any Guyanese. I wish there was. Thank you
Correction- Guyanese or caribbean gorcery stores in Cleveland
I came across your blog one day looking for a Guyanese bread recipe and I must say I love the plaid bread recipe you gave. I now bake this every weekend! It comes out perfect every time, so soft and moist. I have tried several other bread recipes but non stayed soft after a day or so. So here I am again looking for a black eye peas cook-up recipe and of course your blog pop-up. I am a vegetarian and don’t eat any meats so I am attempting to try this without any. I have tried some of your other recipes and they all came out perfect so I am sure this one will too. Thank you for these awesome Guyanese dishes.
I loved your cookup rice recipe and the curry chicken Guyanese style. it was great
Just stumbled on this and I’ll try it tomorrow… How many adults would this feed? I have 4 in my house so was thinking of doing 3 cups of rice. Is that too much? If i do increase what do I need to change?
Sachkia that will easily feed four. I don’t think it will be too much.
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I am dating a man who is originally from Guyana. We got to taking about holidays and how he celebrated. So this year I am going to celebrate Old Years night and try making Cook-up rice for him. Thanks for the recipe. He is really looking forward to a dish that his mother used to make.
How do I cook it with pigtails??
Paula, follow the steps used for the beef brisket using pigtails instead. The only difference would be to discard the water that the pigtails were boiled in as it will be salty so use water or stock.
I’m so happy I stumbled upon your blog. Wasn’t able to make it for Old Year’s night, but won’t let the weekend pass me without doing so. Have to keep the tradition going. Just a quick question. Am I also fully seasoning the beef when I have it cooking on the stove top for the 30 minutes
No you’re not Kim, cook the beef as written.
This recipe seems rather complicated to me. I remember as boy growing up I used to cook cook up every old years night and it was very tasty. All I did was to add all the stuff in one big pot over the coal pot and let it boil till the water was dried out and the cook up had everyone within the premises licking their fingers for more. The key to cook up is salt , meat, rice, Guyanese thyme, pepper and that coconut milk that you have to grate and make scratch for the authentic cook up.
Afzal, meats have different cooking time, as does the rice. For example, it takes 20 minutes to cook rice, while the brisket,chicken and peas will take a little bit longer. If I were to add it all to the pot at the same time, the rice would either be overcooked when the meats and peas are cooked or the meat and peas would be undercooked when the rice is done. I do use freshly grated coconut milk on special occasions for my cook-up but use canned on a day to day basis since it’s faster. I do have a recipe for fresh coconut milk here so be sure to check that out also. Thank you for stopping by! https://jehancancook.com/2012/02/fresh-coconut-milk/
Would it be okay if I didn’t use beef and and I just used chicken? If yes, I’m assuming I’d just add regular water instead of the water the beef cooked in?
Thanks so much. Love all your recipes!
Yes TeshaD, you can use any meat that you prefer.
TeshaD you can use any meat that you prefer!
OMG!!!!! This was a treat for my taste buds. Thank you!! I left Guyana when I was 13 years old & moved out when I was 16. I didn’t really learn to cook many Guyanese dishes. At age 50 I had no major frame of reference, that is until I stumbled on to one of your YouTube videos. Not only are your recipes great but I LOVE YOUR LITTLE TAG ALONG STORIES. Very entertaining and it’s kind of you to share so much of yourself. Thank you!!! Have any good barah recipes? Hope I spelled it correctly THANKS AGAIN P.S it’s embarrassing that people still think like”norny”
I am Guyanese and I am also an executive chef. You can also add a little calaloo or spinach to the cook up with the black eye peas you will just want more and more and more.
Did I miss what to do with the black-eyed peas after step 2 when we set it aside? One way or another, I am definitely going to have a go at this. It sounds heavenly!
Hi, I’ve updated the recipe. You add the cooked black eye peas when you add the rice. Thanks for letting me know.