The Ultimate Pelau Recipe

Published on July 13th 2021 by Rachael Ottier Hart.
Last updated on April 6th 2024
This recipe, developed through the collective effort of at least six experts, underwent meticulous research and testing for over three months. Learn more about our process in the art and science behind our recipes. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.
Close up shot of Ultimate Trinidad Pelau in a pan

For those uninitiated in classic Trinidad cuisine, Pelau is rice, any choice of meat, and pigeon peas slowly simmered together in one pot, culminating in the most incredibly flavorful comfort food you will ever have pleasure in. However simple these ingredients may sound, it is all about the cooking process, starting with "browning" the meat in a caramelizing-like process, then layering it with local green seasonings, the earthy Pigeon Peas, the rice soaking up all that good as it cooks low and slow. To make sure the dish has that added depth of flavor, you will often find bones in pieces of meat for that marrow goodness. 

Now you might be asking, "why is my mouth already watering?" and how can I make this recipe, The Ultimate Pelau Recipe? The answer to that question is in two words: Coconut Milk. Using coconut milk as the simmering liquid, you can almost guarantee that all who eat this dish will fall straight into a post-meal coma. So if you are wondering what to take to your next "Lime" or want to make your family dinner "Ultimate," this simple one-pot meal will surely win you high praise!  

For this recipe, we will use chicken; beef, pork, and lamb can also be used. Some local variations can be found using chicken feet, cow heel, pig's tail, or lamb neck, and feel free to throw in some organ meat for more added depth of flavor.

For the whole chicken mentioned in our ingredients list, you can cut into 16 pieces with bone in 2 drumsticks, 4 thigh pieces, 4 breast pieces, 4 wings and drumette pieces and 2 back pieces.

Rate
Average: 5 (17 votes)
Total rating includes sum of all comments and anonymous votes.

Click to avoid screen dimming during cooking.

Time & Serves

Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
60 mins
Total Time
90 mins
Serves
5

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Oil - Virgin for stronger coconut flavor

  • 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar

  • 2 cups of Rice washed

  • 1.14 oz of canned Pigeon Peas OR 300g cooked

  • 3 tablespoons Caribbean Green Seasoning

  • 2 cups fresh Pumpkin peeled and cubed

  • 400 ml Coconut Milk - Fresh or Canned; If using powdered, total liquid content should be 800-900 ml

  • 400-500 ml Water

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Once the chicken is cut and washed, coat with the green seasoning and marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

In a stock or cast iron pot (Dutch Oven), add the oil and sugar and cook over medium to high heat.

Using a stock spoon or wooden spoon, gently stir the mixture and watch as the sugar begins to dissolve and turn into a caramel syrup.

Keep your eyes on the temperature setting and keep stirring the syrup to prevent the mixture from burning and causing a bitter flavor to the dish.

Once the syrup's color has turned dark brown and begins to froth, carefully add the seasoned chicken to the pot.

Reduce to medium heat and cook for 5-10 minutes, occasionally stirring until well coated in the syrup mixture and has taken on the dark brown color.

Mix in the rice, pigeon peas, and pumpkin cubes with the chicken.

Add in coconut milk and 400 ml of water, stirring to create a soupy mixture and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Increase heat until mixture is boiling and then decrease to a low simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes.

Check-in every 15 minutes to monitor liquid levels and stirring to avoid burning.

Once the liquid is fully absorbed, the rice is fully cooked, and you hear a light crackling sound cover and turn off the heat leaving it to steam for another 10-15 minutes.

Aside from the enticing aroma, you will know it is time to eat when the rice has a fluffy, moist consistency; the meat and peas are thoroughly cooked, and the entire dish has taken on the beautiful caramel color.

Serve alongside an excellent creamy coleslaw and top with your favorite Trini condiments.

Prepare for the post-meal food coma with a comfortable place to take a nap.

Rachael Ottier Hart
Author:

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart

Healthy dinners to kickstart your weight loss
$7.99 Limited time offer $2.99
As Seen On
Site logo 1
Site logo 2
Site logo 3
Site logo 4
Site logo 5
Site logo 6
Site logo 7
Site logo 8
Site logo 9
Site logo 10
Unlock Exclusive Recipes & More! 🔓

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest recipes, holiday specials, and mouthwatering secrets!

Subscribe
Keywords
best, Pelau, One-pot, Caribbean Pelau, Caribbean One-Pot, pilau, polow, pilaf, rice dish, trinidad rice and peas, how to say i love you in trinidadian, how to make pelau, how to cook canned pigeon peas

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Rachael Ottier Hart
Author:

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart