Pelau II

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When it comes to trini cooking, one of the dishes that truly identifies with our culture is pelau. Everyone on the island makes a good pelau and you could find this dish being served at any event, be it a cricket match; carnival; a beach lime; or a party.

A Good Pelau

Although I wanted to call this our national dish the last time I posted pelau someone commented and said that we already have coo coo and callaloo. Well, from the looks of it, we have many other important dishes that are distinctly Trinidadian and could be placed side by side with pelau as our national dishes.

As usual there are always variations to the dishes so I decided to do another. This time we added the golden ray margarine and seasoned the chicken a little differently. But you know what! This pelau tasted like any other pelau I have come to know: always with the rich brown colour; the chicken seasoned with the right amount of seasoning that’s infused right down to the bone and the rice cooked just right…not too grainy, yet not overcooked!

Of course, this trini pelau had me going for seconds since the first plate was just to…. Err!!…. Test! Yes, test to see if everything was cooked properly…You know what I mean! :o)
So, without any further ado, here’s an encore presentation of, a trini favourite, pelau.

Pelau Recipe




To Season
2 lbs chicken
2 bundles chive, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 dash oregano
1 dash parsley
1 dash paprika
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp green seasoning
2 big leaf thyme
1 sprig spanish thyme
5 sprigs fine leaf thyme
1 pimento pepper, chopped
1 celery, chopped
4 leaves culantro, chopped
1 lime

To Cook
1 tbsp sugar
1 tin pigeon peas (440g)
2 tbsp oil
2 1/2 cups rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup pumpkin, chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp golden ray margarine



Wash the herbs and set aside.
Cut up the chicken and wash with lime.

Season with oregano, paprika, parsley, green seasoning, big leaf thyme,
Spanish thyme, fine leaf thyme, pimento, garlic, chive, onion, salt,
celery and culantro (chadon beni).
Marinate for at least 1 hour. Overnight is best!

Over a medium flame, caramelize the sugar.
Add the chicken.
Warning: Be careful when you do this part because caramelized sugar gives a nasty burn. Don’t drop the chicken into the pot – lay it gently. Probably this is another reason why I stopped caramelizing the sugar directly in the oil, since you are more susceptible to getting burned.
Allow to coat evenly with the sugar and let it cook in its own juices for about 3 minutes.
Add about 1/2 cup water and the 2 tbsp of oil.
Simmer for about 4 minutes.

While the chicken is simmering, wash the pigeon peas and cut up the pumpkin.

Add the pigeon peas and pumpkin
Add another 1/2 cup of water
Allow to simmer for about 4 minutes

Add 1 cup of coconut milk…
and the rice.
Stir the pot to mix the ingredients

Add the golden ray margarine and tomato paste.
Look at that colour!
Allow to simmer until the rice is cooked.
Note: Continue stirring the pot occasionally while checking the rice. When the rice is cooked lower the flame very low and allow the excess water to evaporate. It is normal for some of the rice to stick at the bottom of the pot, so don’t be alarmed. The rice that sticks to the bottom is called “bun bun” . In fact most trinis, even me, like to eat the “bun bun”. It is perhaps the best part of the pelau!
The finished pelau. Serve hot with cole slaw.
So here ends another fabulously mouthwatering recipe for trinidad pelau.

P.S. After this post if you still don’t know about Trinidad pelau or how to make a good trini pelau then heaven help you…. OK! OK! …..If you still don’t know how to cook a good trini pelau then I will have to jump on a plane and come and cook for you.

Allyuh go like that eh!!! Yuh very own trini cook lol :o)

Anyhow, Ah gone!

Before I go…for those of you who’ve missed it somehow, download the simply trini cooking toolbar and keep in touch with all the happenings on the site right at your fingertips. I’ve even added all the local Trinidad TV and Radio stations plus a whole lot more. So check it out and tell me what you all think.

OK. Ah now gone! :-)  Enjoy making your pelau.



  1. says

    Oh my. I think I’ll be cooking that this Sunday – minus the Golden Ray – not available in Michigan. :(

    Amazing site you have here. I stumbled upon it trying to find a recipe for currant rolls. I am now torturing myself going through each of your recipes. :)

  2. says

    Just discovered this site and I think it is marvelous…..the pictures are so clear and the instructions are easily followed……thanks.

  3. says

    Tinytragedy, you can get Golden Ray on Alternatively, I stock up on Golden Ray when I travel to New York or Toronto. At any rate, I’ve purchased stuff on and its always good – shipping is a little expensive but I pay the premium just to get my Trini things!

  4. says

    There are so many different ways of making this dish but I decided to give this one a try it came very well and it was yummy. Thank again for another wonderful dish.

  5. says

    Ty ty ty so very much for ur great recipes! My man is Trini & I promised him I’d learn everything I could to give him a taste of home! I’m puerto rican & I love the food as well and sad but i’d take pelau over arroz con pollo anyday! But ssshhh dont tell ^_^

  6. Raz says

    question: I made this meal last night everything was perfect but I bought brown rice and it took forever for it to cook following your directions, What could I have done wrong? Ur instructions is so clear but Y did my brown rice take way over an hour to cook(had to add water to cont. cookin the rice).. :(
    Thank you for your site and time/ all your other recipes I tried came out great

    • says

      Thank you Raz for your comment. The only guesses I could make could be the brand of brown rice you bought or or your fire being too low …but let’s focus on the rice. First of all, are you in Trinidad and Tobago or in another country? If you’re in another country the different brands of rice could could be affecting the cooking time of the recipe. Not to confuse you too much, the brown rice we use is the long grain parboiled type that cooks according to the recipe instructions – about 30 to 45 minutes.

  7. Lyn says

    Hi Felix,

    I got married a few months ago, and I stumbled on your site maybe last month. My cooking skills for one have previously been hit or miss, but which didn’t matter to much to me, but now I have to feed someone else so I have to up my game!

    Since I found your site, my cooking skills have sky rocketed and my husband has been wowed! lol. I made your corn soup last weekend, and my husband described it as magnificent, a word he has never used before to describe my cooking :-)

    I advertise your site to all my friends, except my husband 😉 You have become my go-to site for almost all my meal plans, so thank you and keep up the great job!

    In your debt,

  8. says

    Mr. Felix,

    I have heard that pelau can be done vegetarian using mushroom, the dried ones. Do you have any vegetarian way of making pelau. Even one using soya.

  9. Tynicia says

    Hi V’s and Felix

    I live here in trinidad and tobago and my mom make it all the time without the meat, you follow all the steps just without adding the meat, instead of browning the meat, when the sugar is ready you put in the rice and brown the rice and season to suit, come out well, for the mushroom you can add it at the side as well.

    Hey felix may be you can try this as well, love the work you are doing

    • says

      I believe I will have to do it but using the mushrooms since I don’t really buy Soya Chunks. Thanks Tynicia and you’re welcome :)

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