Diri Kole, aka Red Beans and Rice, is the national dish of Haiti. This version is just as creamy and comforting, with a little less spice, and the addition of shrimp.

Overhead shot of a platter of red beans and coconut rice topped with shrimp.

This recipe is part of our family dinner book club menu for Calling the Water Drum, which is based on the life of a Haitian boy.

Red Beans and Rice is a dish that can be found all over the world in many different versions. Haiti is known for their spicy dishes using scotch bonnet peppers in their epis sauce. This recipe is a nod to Haitian cuisine, but it has been taken down a spicy notch to appeal to the small members of my American family.

Cooking rice in coconut milk adds tons of flavor and major creaminess. Coconut rice goes with just about any cuisine, and can be mixed with unlimited ingredients. Here we have garlic, onions, carrots, and celery mixed in. Then we add beans and shrimp to round out the meal.

Instead of shrimp, you could serve this rice with Mild Fish Yassa or Spicy Beef Skewers.

All three of my kids enjoyed this rice… although two of them picked out the shrimp.

Have you ever had Haitian cuisine? What is your favorite dish?!

Red Beans and Coconut Rice with Shrimp
Yield: Serves 12

Red Beans and Coconut Rice with Shrimp

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Diri Kole, aka Red Beans and Rice, is the national dish of Haiti. This version is just as creamy and comforting, with a little less spice, and the addition of shrimp.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (13.5 fluid ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans (or any other cooked bean of your choice)
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, cumin, oregano, thyme, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the diced onions, celery, and carrots. Sweat the vegetables until they are tender, and the onions are translucent, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  3. Add the rice and half of the seasoning blend to the vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is beginning to turn translucent and the spices are fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and chicken stock, stir to combine. Bring up to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to simmer until the rice is cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the beans.
  5. While the rice is cooking, toss the shrimp with the remaining spice blend, heat the remaining oil in a saute pan over medium heat, and cook the shrimp until they are bright pink and curled into a C shape, about 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve the shrimp on top of the rice.

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