Diri Kole [Haitian rice + beans] - the national dish of Haiti

Diri Kole (Kreyòl for rice and beans) is the official national dish of Haiti. It’s a humble comfort food, packed with flavor and excellent on its own or together with a myriad of other dish options. For Haitians who have all grown up on it, we wouldn’t think of not making it one of the first solid foods we introduce to infants. Seeing an infant eating diri kole is like glory to every Haitian adult! It is something I still eat no matter the time of day. I enjoy it with just butter and parsley for breakfast or accompanied with broiled fish for lunch, or even better – with Haitian stewed vegetables (legim) for dinner. 

I’ve also created a short video to help you visualize key components of the process.

Serves 4

  • 8 cups water

  • 1/3 cup dry red beans - rinsed (common beans options: kidney, pinto, adzuki)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 

  • 1 medium onion  - finely chopped

  • 3 sprigs parsley - finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp thisHAITI dry spice blend

  • 3 cloves garlic - crushed and minced

  • 1 cup rice

  • 2 cups liquid from cooked beans

  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 1/4 green bell pepper - cut into 4 large pieces

  • 4 sprigs thyme

  • 3 whole sprigs parsley 


  1. In a large pot, combine water, beans, and salt; cover pot with lid remaining loose and slightly ajar; 

  2. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes or until beans are tender, not soft. Check beans after 30 min - add water if level in pot has reduced significantly. Once cooked, drain beans, making sure to reserve liquid which will be used to cook rice.

  3. In a medium pot with heavy bottom, add oil; sauté onions, garlic, chopped parsley, and spice over low-medium heat. Continue until onions have caramelized.

  4. Add the beans and 2 cups of liquid from cooked beans. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

  5. Stir in rice. Toss in sprigs of parsley and thyme, bell pepper, scotch bonnet pepper and cloves (press cloves into pepper to avoid having loose cloves in dish). Cook uncovered over medium-high heat until water has reduced to below the level of rice (observe small pockets of bubbling water through rice).

  6. Cover tightly and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

  7. Once cooking is done, turn off heat and let sit covered for 10 - 15 min

  8. Remove and discard parsley, thyme, green pepper, and habanero with cloves

Serve with legim or just a dab of butter and some chopped parsley. 


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