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Trini Pelau

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Plate of Trini Chicken Pelau

Trini Chicken Pelau

Photo by Cynthia Nelson

Trini Pelau is an iconic dish of pigeon peas, meat or chicken that is cooked with fresh herbs and coconut milk. The entire dish is flavored and colored with Burnt Sugar.

This Pelau is a one-pot dish that is made on weekends and especially when family and friends get together for a lime (Caribbean slang word for get-together).

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Marinate chicken: 2 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. of chicken thighs and or drumsticks, cut up into large pieces
  • 2 Tbsp green seasoning
  • 2 tsp grated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp tomato ketchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or Canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp cane sugar (substitute with brown sugar)
  • 2 cups parboiled rice, washed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers
  • 1 cup diced carrots (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked pigeon peas (canned is fine)
  • 2 cups fresh coconut milk (dilute milk with water if using canned coconut milk)
  • 2 cups cooking liquid (stock, water or reserved cooking liquid from peas)
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (white and green parts)

Preparation:

  1. Add chicken, green seasoning, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and ketchup to a bowl along with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to mix and coat the chicken with the seasonings. Set aside and let marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Pour oil into a large pot and place on medium high heat. Let oil heat until hot but not smoking.
  3. Sprinkle sugar into heated oil in an even layer. Let the sugar melt until it starts to froth and bubble. As soon as the edges of the froth/bubbles starts to get a slight shade darker, immediately add the seasoned chicken and stir to mix and coat with the burnt sugar. Let cook for 7 - 10 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pot, stir to mix and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add peas, pepper and carrots (if using) and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Pour in coconut milk and other cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Toss in whole scotch bonnet pepper. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  8. When the pot comes to a boil, remove lid partially and let boil until you can see the surface of the dish - the rice, peas and chicken (about 7 - 8 minutes). Cover pot fully, reduce heat to low or simmer and let cook for 25 - 30 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.
  9. Sprinkle the green onion on top and fold into Pelau.
  10. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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