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Trini Chicken Pelau!!

Voila! Trini Chicken Pelau, the 2nd attempt!!

Sunday lunch. One of the national foods of Trinidad and Tobago. Complete with salad. I originally posted a photo and recipe for the chicken pelau here but the picture was not of the best.

So I try again. I love this dish so why not. And a salad to brighten up the plate. Now I am not a huge salad fan (unless it’s cucumbers) and I hate hate hate raw sweet peppers, but the addition of some bright colours adds something. Note the hot peppper, which I carefully did not burst, so I could eat the food comfortably, although it did ooze enough heat through its skin while cooking to merit its prominent place on the plate.

Recipe provided…other pictures here.

Pelau is from Trinidad and Tobago, and is not spiced the way South Asian rice dishes can be. It may very well have been influenced by the Indian immigrants from the 19th century (whose descendants also make up more than 40% of T&T’s population), but the manner of preparation is very much creole, in that the meat is stewed Trini style (with caramelised sugar etc), usually with pigeon peas, before the rice is added with a touch of creole salt butter and coconut milk.
Guyana has its own “version” which is called cookup, but it is different to our Pelau in that it is not stewed, the meat and rice is almost white, and combinations of red beans, black eye peas are used, in addition to corn, sometimes.


1. Take some chicken, add salt, pepper, crushed garlic, minced onions, whole hot pepper, chopped chives, cilantro/coriander, some ketchup and soy sauce. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes if you are in a hurry, but preferably a couple hours or overnight.
2. Heat heavy bottommed pot, add a tbsp oil (or not). Add some sugar (about a tablespoon depending on how much meat) and let it caramelize. It is ready when it is bubbly and dark brown.
3. Add chicken to pot, stir well to evenly distribute the browned sugar. Cover and let cook. During cooking, check pot occasionally to make sure it is not sticking. Add a little water from time to time if necessary.
4. When chicken is cooked, add chopped sweet peppers and peas. Stir.
5. Add rice, stir and leave till liquid is absorbed. Add enough water to cook rice, cover and let cook. Check pot during cooking to add more water if necessary (or broth) and taste for salt.
6. When rice is cooked, but there is still some liquid, add a spoonful of salt butter, stir and let cook until liquid is gone (pelau should not be too dry, the rice should be a little sticky).
Note: don’t let the hot pepper burst unless you want all that fire in the food.

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One Comment

  1. Lilandra made macaroni pie yesterday and it was the best I have tasted in a long while….Comfort food for the rain and especially when you are fasting and …………..

    2. TriniMom on September 28th, 2007 at 6:07 am

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Shut Down or Shut Up! on February 25, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Macaroni Pie

    I love macaroni pie.
    Or I did.
    It changes daily.
    Do you know macaroni? When trinis talk about macaroni they mean the long thick straight noodles.
    Macaroni pie will be different in different houses.
    So, you boil the macaroni and then drain…

  2. […] ones, no experimenting, you hear? I’ll get charged at some point with the job of making a pelau, Lilandra will get the urge to bake cookies that no one says they want, but everybody eats. Mom […]

  3. […] Pelau […]

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