Red Bean Pelau With Salt Beef

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My favourite bean is red bean or kidney bean, but I had never thought it would be perfect in a pelau with salt beef.    I was introduced to this remarkable dish by my mother-in-law.   So I had to get this recipe from her, directly with pictures and all.  If you must make it, it must be done to taste a particular way and this way is simply the best.  Yes, the list of ingredients almost seem unending, but it is necessary to create the right taste in your mouth.  This recipe is as simple as I can give it.

Now, one ingredient that makes this a signature dish is the salted beef or salt-cured beef (locally referred to as salt beef).   It is one method to preserve meat.  It is available in the market or in the supermarket; sometimes in a vacuum plastic bag like pig tails.  Most have a little fat with it but their is no need to trim off the fat.  I prefer to boil the meat in  water before adding it to the main meal to remove some of the salt.

It can be very salty at times.   Remove from the water and then add it with the peas and pressure cook it again. Or in this case I just pressure cooked the salt beef with the peas to save time.  This makes sure the meat is tender.   However, remember this when you are attempting this recipe.

On a side note, I have not neglected you all.  Our computers are functionings on a  lower capacity.  One is being repaired and the other is under a lot of pressure.  It is the main computer for everything right now.  So, right now we can rightly say we are forced to  do our work “one day at a time“.  I wonder if Trini’s remember this song (sang by Cristy Lane) that was played everyday in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

I grew up hearing this song.  I believe it was Dave Elcock who played it every morning on 610 radio.  If you want to go down memory lane, I embedded a video of this song in the bottom of this post.  So enjoy the recipe and the video and remember, living one day at a time is not so bad after all.  We would do well adopting this as an anthem for living.

Red Bean Pelau


1 ¼ cup red bean, soaked
1 lb salt beef, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
6 sprigs fine leaf thyme
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 whole pimento pepper or scotch bonnet pepper
3 tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 cups rice, washed
1/2 pack coconut milk + 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp oil
3 ochroes, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup pumpkin, diced (optional)




Boil the salt beef for 15 minutes.


Place the salted beef in a pressure cooker, together with the red beans and cover with water.
Cook for about 20 minutes or until soft.


Remove the salt beef from the pressure cooker. Set aside.

Note: For simplicity sake the beef was just placed in the bowl with the seasoning…
We are not seasonong the beef.

Back to the recipe :)


Carmelize the sugar in a deep pot.


Add the salt beef. Stir to coat meat evenly with the carmelized sugar.


Add oil, let cook for about 2 minutes then add about 1 cup water….


Note: From experience, adding the oil after lessens probability of the hot oil splattering on you.


….then the garlic, onion, fine leaf thyme, celery and tomatoes. Stir.


Add the red beans together with the optional pumpkin and ochro.


Then add the coconut milk mixture and ketchup. Stir.



Add rice and whole pimento pepper or hot pepper.

Note: You may have to add a little bit of water cover the rice.


Cover and let simmer until the rice is cooked.

Note: While the rice is cooking turn ocassionally and add water if necessary.


When the rice is nearing completion lower the fire and let simmer.
Continue turning the rice ocassionally to prevent sticking.
Let stand 10 minutes. Serve.


Of course as promised here’s “One Day at a Time”. I could almost hear Dave Elcock on his morning show on 610 radio….Those were the days :)

Well there you have it, a little piece of yesteryear and a good ole trini recipe to go with it. Do enjoy our red bean pelau with salt beef.

Ah Gone :)


  1. Ayana says

    Hi do you think it is possible to do a Black Bean pelau? I am planning a Youth Camp and one of our sponsors donated Black Bean soup (black beans) but I know that is not a popular bean to serve to young people especially. So we were considering how to use it (because it has to be used) in a way that it will be actually eaten. What do you think of using it in a pelau?

    • says

      Black beans could be used but it may not be a popular choice of bean to use for a pelau lol but nothing is impossible. Another way to use it is as a side dish like in my black beans and rice recipe. To make it even tastier you can add some salted meat with coconut milk.

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