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Trinidadian Chicken Pelau

Notes: My mother has made Trinidadian Chicken Pelau all my life.  She started making it when she and my father lived in Trinidad while my father went to University.  I remember eating Pelau on weekends when we had painting parties at our home on St. George’s Hill and it was always a staple on Sundays at the beach.  Pelau is a meal in one… meat, vegetables, the starch from the rice.  Chicken Pelau always makes me think of my home in Montserrat… fond memories of a time long past.  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It is an adaptation from my mother’s version.

1.5 Pounds chicken legs, skinned, removed and cut in half
1 Cup of water or Broth
1 Cup brown rice
1 Cup celery, diced
1 Cup yellow onions, diced
1 Cup carrots, diced
1 Cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 Cup light (reduced-rat) coconut milk*
4 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Cups pigeon peas, cooked (roughly 1 16-Oz can)
2 Tablespoon green seasoning** or you favorite poultry seasoning
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil (I prefer coconut oil… no surprise!)
1 Stalk of green onion, chopped (optional)
2-3 Sprigs thyme
1 Whole scotch bonnet pepper (More if you want hotter!)
Salt, black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste
* This is a choice.  Regular Coconut Milk would be fine.
** We make our own.  We put it at the bottom of this recipe.

Combine the chicken, green seasoning, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.  Let marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight (best).

Use a heavy-bottom pot (or dutch oven) to heat oil over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar; cook sugar-oil mixture until sugar begins to bubble and darken to a deep rich brown (not black… or you’ve burned it).  Keep a close eye on the pot and stir occasionally.

Add chicken and stir the chicken until it is evenly coated with the brown color. Let the chicken simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add rice and stir and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add vegetables excluding whole pepper (thyme, bell peppers, celery, onions, garlic and carrots) and pigeon peas.  Cook for about 3 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and water and add the scotch bonnet pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.

Cook covered for 45-50 minutes; stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Serve warm.  Serves 5-6 depending on their appetites.

The Green Seasoning…
Notes: Green seasoning is a major part of West Indian cooking!  We use it to season just about all our meats. It’s fantastic on chicken and fish.  We make a jar and keep it in the fridge until it’s done and then we make another one.  I’m giving you this recipe so you can do the same!

1     Bunch green onion
1    Stalk celery
1    Small onion
½     Inch ginger
6    Cloves garlic
1    Teaspoon salt
2    Sprigs thyme
½    A bell pepper or a hand full of season peppers
Juice of 1 lime

Whip everything in a blender until it is a green paste.  That’s it!

Please let me know how you like our Trinidadian Chicken Pelau via our Contact Us page, our Facebook Page, or Instagram.

Image courtesy of, a great source for excellent recipes!