Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite foods, and perhaps a favourite of every Trinidadian; it is pelau. Pelau (pronounced: pay-la-w) is a sure bet for any lime . This “one pot” dish is not time consuming, and is easy to prepare (once you plan your ingredients in advance) which makes it also ideal for picnics and river limes. As we say in Trini “this is ah fas’ cook”.
This popular rice dish can be cooked with any type of meat or combination of meat: chicken, beef, lamb, goat, pork, and even “wild meat” (agouti, lappe, deer etc.) and is usually cooked with fresh coconut milk. If you don’t have fresh coconut milk you can use the coconut milk powder. Some people like their pelau dark, others like it brown or light brown. If you want it dark, be careful not to burn the sugar too much or else the pelau will taste bitter, and lose most of its flavor. I personally, prefer pelau that is not too dark.
Instead of “burning” the sugar, some people buy ready-made browning. This saves time, but you should be careful with the amounts of browning added. Some brands are stronger than others. This dish can be served with a side of cole slaw, lettuce and tomatoes, and even a little bit of homemade pepper sauce for a more spicy taste. What ever your taste, Pelau is what I call real Trini food, maybe it should be made our national dish, after all, Guyana has “Pepper Pot” and Jamaica “Akee and Saltfish”.
Update: Check out Pelau II a second pelau recipe which I did later on.
1½ lb chicken, seasoned
2 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig chive
1 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
1 bouillon cube (if desired)
2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 tin processed pigeon peas
(or 1 cup fresh pigeon peas)
1 whole green hot pepper
1½ cups rice
1 cup chopped pumpkin
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
4 small ochros (optional)
1/2 cup whole corn (optional)
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Clean the chicken and cut into small pieces. Season with lime juice and salt, pepper, chive, thyme, chadon beni, and parsley. Set aside to marinate. For this post the chicken was marinated overnight in the freezer.
If you wish you can add the hot pepper now. Cover.
Uncover and stir occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick.
Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
Well that’s it for another post. More recipes to come. Bye!