Place beans, coconut milk, onions, thyme, salt, and pepper in large saucepan and add rice. Top with water, if necessary, so that there is about 2 1/2 times as much liquid as rice and beans. Place the hot pepper on top and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Let the rice steam slowly for about 25 to 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Do not stir while cooking or allow the pepper to burst.
Remove the pepper and thyme stalk, then fluff lightly before serving.
Recipe courtesty Virginia Burke, Walkerswood Caribbean Kitchen, Simon and Schuster, 2000