A Taste of Trinidad

Chicken Pelau

I love the food of Trinidad. Trinidad cuisine draws from a blend of Indian, Amerindian, European, African, Creole, Chinese and Lebanese influences. I thought I’d share this Trinidad chicken pelau recipe that’s packed with flavor…

I adapted this excellent recipe from Sweet Hands~ Island Cooking From Trinidad &Tobago by Ramin Ganeshram. Enjoy. Tom~

Trinidad Pelau

1 (12-ounce) can pigeon peas, pinto beans, or black-eyed peas / 2 cups long-grain rice / 3 tablespoons canola oil / 3/4 cup sugar (white or brown) / 1 (3-pound ) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed / 1 small onion, chopped / 1 clove garlic, minced / 1 cup coconut milk / 1 bay leaf / 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro and chives / 1/2 cup chopped parsley / 1 sprig thyme / 2 carrots, peeled and chopped / 5 scallions, chopped (white and green parts) / 2 cups cubed calabaza or butternut squash / 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper / 1/2 cup ketchup / 1 tablespoon butter

Drain can of pigeon peas, pinto beans, or black eyed peas, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside. Wash the rice by placing in a colander or fine-mesh sieve and running cold water over it until the water runs clear. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy, deep pot. Add the sugar and swirl in the pot, stirring constantly; allow it to caramelize to a dark brown color. Add the chicken and stir well to coat. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 2 cups of water, the coconut milk, bay leaf, cilantro and chives, parsley, thyme, carrots, and scallions. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Stir the rice, squash, peas, hot pepper, ketchup, and butter into the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the peas and vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and fluff the rice. The rice should be moist but not sticky. Serves 6


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