This recipe is from the cookbook called The Multi-Cultural Cuisine of Trinidad & Tobago & the Caribbean written by the Naparima Girls’ High School.

Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 8
Pelau is the essence of Caribbean comfort food – chicken, pigeon peas, rice and coconut milk all melded together into a savory concoction.
  • 3 lbs. chicken pieces, skinned
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. mixed green seasoning*
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 cups parboiled rice
  • 1/2 cup chopper onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet or pimento peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pigeon peas
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 whole hot pepper with the stem
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, green seasoning, minced garlic, Worchestershire sauce, soy sauce and ketchup.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy iron pot or skillet.
  3. Add sugar and allow to burn until brown.
  4. Add seasoned chicken and stir until pieces are well coated with burnt sugar; brown for 5 minutes.
  5. Add rice and turn often until well mixed. Cook for 3 minutes more.
  6. Add onion, sweet peppers and peas and cook for a few minutes, stirring a few times.
  7. Add salt, hot pepper, coconut milk and broth. Bring to the boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until rice is cooked and all liquid is evaporated (about 25-30 minutes.)
  8. Add more liquid if rice is still hard and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Pelau can also be baked in an oven. Cover pot with tin foil and bake at 350 deg F for 30-35 minutes. Chopped carrots could also be added to the pelau.

* You won’t likely find this sauce outside of the Caribbean, but here is a recipe I found online.

One thought on “Pelau

  1. Step 3 is the crucial one which will either lead to a great pelau or a lousy one. The key is to get the oil to the right temperature before adding the sugar. Corinne uses a piece of spaghetti to test it – if there are some small bubbles when you put the tip of the spaghetti in the oil, it is OK, if there are a lot of bubbles, it is too hot. You need to keep an eye on the sugar. Once it starts to melt into the oil, you need to lower the temperature. It needs to be incorporated into the oil (it will get frothy) before you add the chicken, otherwise, you’ll end up with bunch of rock candy in with your pelau 😉

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