This recipe has long been in the making, everyone tells me I make a hell of a good pelau so it was only a matter of time before I post a recipe here on my blog. I have some recipes floating around in some online groups, but this one will be the first one for the blog.
Pelau is a one pot dish and it’s a true Trinidad dish, no other island one pot dish can even come close to the Trini Pelau, don’t get me wrong, I love a good Jamaican Rice and Peas and a Guyanese Cook up Rice, but the pelau is still one of my favorite one pot rice dish.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can still enjoy this dish, just omit the chicken, add some extra veggies and you’re good to go.
The Amazing Trinidadian Pelau, Chicken Pelau
Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country by GDP (PPP) per ca-pita in the Americas after the United States and Canada. Furthermore, it is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the country’s economy is primarily industrial, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. The country’s wealth attributes to its large reserves and exploitation of oil and natural gas.
Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and is the birthplace of steel-pan, limbo, and the music styles of calypso, soca and chutney. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most bio-diverse nations in the Caribbean and has a wide variety of flora and fauna. – Wiki
- 2 – 2 ½ lbs. mixed chicken pieces or legs and thigh, cut up and rinse with lime juice
- 2 limes, juiced
- ¼ cup green seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 plum tomato, chopped
- 1 medium size carrot, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced/chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced/chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, DE-stemmed or leave whole
- 4 pimento flavoring peppers, chopped, optional
- 2 cups frozen pigeon peas, boiled for 15 minutes
- 2 cups parboiled long grain rice
- 2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoon brown or white sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups hot water
- 4 sprigs parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ketchup
- 2 packs chicken or vegetable bouillon
- 1 tablespoon cooking margarine (golden ray) optional
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, optional
- [Marinating Chicken]
- Marinade chicken with green seasoning salt and black pepper for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- Add onion, tomato, carrot, bell peppers, pimento peppers, celery and thyme to marinated chicken, set aside.
- [.Caramelizing or Browning the Sugar and making the Pelau]
- Heat a large pot on high heat, add oil and heat for about 2 minutes .Add the sugar, DO NOT STIR! At least not yet.
- Allow the sugar to melt until it starts to get brown around some of the edges. Using your pot spoon, stir the sugar around, about 3 - 4 times until it starts to melt and become like liquid.
- It should start getting light brown in color, and going from liquid too almost frothy and bubbly in less than a minute .
- Stir the sugar again with your spoon, it should be darker in color at this point. The entire browning process, should take at least 2 - 3 minutes or so.
- Start adding the seasoned chicken a few pieces at a time, stir constantly to ensure all the pieces get coated evenly with the caramelized/burnt sugar.
- DO NOT ADD THE SEASONINGS FROM THE BOWL, AT LEAST NOT YET. Save the seasonings, YOU WILL BE USING IT SHORTLY.
- After adding all the chicken pieces cover the pot and allow to cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes
- Open pot lid, turn up the heat for about 3 – 5 minutes so as to allow the chicken to get A NICE AND FINAL brown color, STIR!
- Add any seasonings that was left over from the marinated chicken bowl, Stir.
- Add the drained cooked pigeon peas, Stir. Cover Pot with lid for 5 more minutes
- While chicken is cooking, rinse rice in warm water about 3 - 4 times and drain.
- Add rice to pot and stir. Add golden ray butter if using, bouillon seasoning, ketchup, coconut milk, STIR!
- Add water and mix together. Cook on high uncovered for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the whole scotch bonnet pepper, ONLY IF YOU LIKE AND IS USING HOT PEPPER
- Turn heat to very low, cover pot and simmer for about 30 – 35 minutes, checking periodically to ensure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot, Taste and adjust seasoning if you need too.
- After you turn the heat off, add the parsley and mix in with your pelau.
Just keep in mind your liquid should be about an inch or so above your rice, the trick here is to allow your pelau to simmer on very low! You can also use canned pigeon peas, if you use the can, there is no need to boil before use. If you can get the fresh peas, even better, just follow the same directions as for the frozen.
Most Trinidadians like eating their pelau with a cucumber salad, coleslaw, avocado and pepper sauce.
If you do not like coconut milk, you can just leave it out and substitute with additional water.