Trini Pelau

This dish is from my home where I grew up, Trinidad & Tobago. I have fond memories of chowing down on this at many a beach lime, and my father makes this dish using the biggest pot you’ve ever seen on a fire on the beach, and to stir he uses a boat paddle (washed of course!). So I had to play with the quantities and fiddle with some ingredients that are not easily found in Calgary, but I think my attempt turned out amazingly! I am definitely adding this one to the family cookbook! Hope you enjoy!

Trini Pelau
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour or so
Serves: 6-8

4 chicken breasts*
1/2 cup green seasoning, or chadon beni*
Canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 head minced garilc (6 cloves or so)
2 cups rice
1 12oz can coconut milk
4 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, diced
5 medium carrots, sliced
2 large red bell peppers, diced (green, yellow or orange also work)
1 14oz can pigeon peas
2-3 habanero peppers (or other preferred spicy pepper), finely minced (with or without seeds as you prefer)
Soy sauce, to taste
1/2 cup diced pumpkin, optional

Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks, and marinate in green seasoning or chadon beni for minimum 2 hours. Add oil to a large pot and heat over medium-low temperature. Add brown sugar and garlic, and cook until sugar has caramelized and is bubbling – DO NOT BURN! You want it to bubble and brown, but not blacken.

Add chicken (and marinade) to pot, and stir to coat chicken in sugar mixture. Once chicken is partly cooked, add rice, coconut milk, and chicken broth. Stir to combine, and reduce temperature to a fast simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, saute onions, carrots, red bell peppers in oil until soft.

When rice is mostly cooked, add onion mixture, pigeon peas, and habanero (and pumpkin if including). Add soy sauce to taste, and serve hot!

Thanks to mi papa for putting this recipe together for me!


*Chadon beni is in the same family as cilantro, so for my purposes that is what I used. I blended a paste of green onions (1 bunch), cilantro (1/2 bunch), and thyme (2 tsp ish) and oil, and used this for the marinade. For more about green seasoning I found this post interesting.

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