xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Trinidad Pelau

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Trinidad Pelau


Pelau is a savory one-pot Trinidadian favorite. Meat including chicken, beef or pigtails is first browned using “burnt sugar”(little past caramelization point), to which rice, fresh herbs, peas or beans, veggies and coconut milk are added resulting in the most comforting of dishes. A superb marriage of protein, carb and veggies made in heaven that makes me wanna say I do, I do (to another plate or two)!!!

Gatherings sometime revolve around this one pot dish, whether at someone’s house, a day at the beach, park or famous Trini “River Lime” where Trinis set up kitchen on the banks of a river, cook in the beautiful outdoors and “ole talk”. Heaping spoonfuls of Trini pelau are loaded onto a plate and served with a salad of greens(watercress), shredded carrots, tomatoes or cucumber, accompanied by home made hot sauce, kuchela(pickled mango), roasted coconut or vegetable chutney or even a raw scotch bonnet pepper…and  “washed down” with coconut water straight out of a coconut, a cold bottle of Carib beer or Mauby.


This tradition continues with Trinidadians living abroad. A good plate of pelau can easily transport one back to the good old days at home. It surely gives me a sense of nostalgia and is reminiscent of the “home sweet home” life.

Hungry yet? Let’s get cooking!!

Ingredients:-
2 cups cooked beans or pigeon peas (1 cup uncooked / if using canned--wash thoroughly and drain)
3 lbs. of chicken pieces (whole chicken cut up, thighs or drumsticks), washed and drained
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
Salt and pepper (to season chicken)
1 stalk celery, diced (about ¾ cup)
1 medium red sweet pepper, diced (about ¾ cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about ¾ cup)
2 cups parboiled rice, washed and drained
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups fresh coconut milk (dilute milk with water if using canned coconut milk)
1-2 cups water or reserved liquid if using.
Salt and pepper to taste

Green seasoning for chicken (or use your favorite blend)
4 large cloves garlic
4 scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 bunch thyme
1 medium onion, chopped (about ¾cup)
1 pimento (not hot) or scotch bonnet pepper (HOT!!!)

Serves 6-8

  1. In a food processor or blender, add garlic, scallions, thyme, onion and pimento or scotch  bonnet pepper and chop finely.
  2. To the chicken add half of the green seasoning(reserving the other half), ketchup, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to coat the chicken with the seasonings. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. In a dry large deep heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, cook the sugar over moderately high heat, stirring constantly with a fork, until it is melted completely and starts to froth, bubble and darken(but not black and smoking).
  4. Immediately add the seasoned chicken, turning frequently to coat about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice to the chicken, cook for 3 minutes; continue to stir frequently to prevent sticking to the pot.
  6. Add beans or peas, diced sweet red pepper, carrot, celery and the remainder of the green seasoning. Mix well. Cook for 1 minute.
  7. Pour in coconut milk and water or other cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  8. Cover pot and bring to a boil. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat to low or simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until rice is cooked and all the liquid has evaporated.

Get all tools and ingredients together.....(boiling of beans, the making of the seasoning, fresh coconut milk and dicing of the peppers, carrots and celery (pics not shown) can be done a day ahead. Save time by using preservative-free canned beans or coconut milk--but there is nothing like FRESH!)
Reminder….I am not Rachel Ray and this is not a 30 minute meal. This is home cooking at its best. The end result is worth it.  I promise. Now go boil some peas or beans…..

If using dried beans, soak overnight. Drain. Add 3 cups of water to saucepan, bring to boil add soaked beans or peas and boil until beans are almost cooked. Drain (reserving any liquid if you would like to use) and set aside.
 
Make Green Seasoning---In a food processor or blender, finely chop garlic, scallion, thyme, onion and pimento or scotch bonnet pepper. The important question to ponder here is---do you like it HOT or NOT??
To the chicken add half of the green seasoning(reserving the other half), ketchup, salt and pepper to taste.
 
 Mix well to coat the chicken with the seasonings. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight. (The skin on the chicken adds extra flavor but you can definitely remove before or after cooking.)
Wash rice several times until water runs clear. Drain.
Note:-I used Jasmin rice for a more fragrant, softer, less grainy result 'cause I like it so :-).
White or Jasmin rice will require less cooking liquid or the result will be mushy, brown rice may require more.
Start with 2 1/2 to 3 cups and increase liquid as necessary.
 In a dry large deep heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, cook the sugar over moderately high heat, stirring constantly with a fork, until it is melted completely and starts to froth, bubble and darken (but not black and smoking--if black and smoking start over :-( ).
Memorize these three words, FROTH, BUBBLE, DARKEN. Very important stuff....
 Immediately add the seasoned chicken...
 ...turning frequently to coat..cook for about 5 minutes.
 Add the rice to the chicken, cook for 3 minutes; continue to stir frequently to prevent sticking to the pot.
Add beans or peas, diced sweet red pepper, carrot, celery and the remainder of the green seasoning.
Mix well. Cook for 1 minute.
 Pour in coconut milk and water or other cooking liquid.
 Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
 Cover pot and bring to a boil.
When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat to low or simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until rice is cooked and all the liquid has evaporated.
(My mother, who is also one of my biggest fans, will surely cringe and complain when she sees that I posted a pic of my ugly pot! BTW she gave me this pot about 16 years ago when I first came to this country...not pretty looking but well seasoned....)
 Serve this delicious, mouth-watering Trini Pelau hot or room temperature (with a generous dose of hot-sauce) and enjoy!!!
If you don't know how to make fresh-home made-coconut milk....
....have no fear
.....do not despair
 ........Ria is here..
(ok, no more lame poetry...I will stick to cooking..)
Instructions coming soon....!!!!

Thank you for stopping by....
Cooking with Love,
Ria......

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your food and your blog and your cakes mommy!! you are the best mommy in the world. your pictures are amazing and I am proud of you. you work so hard!!!!

love,lana.

Cooking with Ria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cooking with Ria said...

Thank you my darling, I do know how proud you are of your mummy..I see your excitement when you visit my blog and when we cook together! I know you will be an even better cook than your mom!! This blog is my labor of love and my gift to you and your sister. I love you both always. Hopefully we can eventually convince your sister to love cooking as much as we do...with love, your mom..xoxoxo

Kia said...

I love love love Pelau. Thanks for this amazing recipe!!!

Cooking with Ria said...

Hi Kia..Me too! Pelau is a delicious dish..I am glad you love my recipe! Hope you try more!

Pet said...

Hi Ria, I love reading your blog and wanted to try this recipe today. I grew up eating pelau on a reg basis but sadly my mother never taught my how. I'm a disgrace to trinis...lol
I'm a lil confused about "diluting the coconut milk with water". I will be using can, so how much water to coconut ratio?
Thanks.

sophieb6916 said...

Hi Petra: Thanks so much! Add enough water to make 2 cups of coconut milk, however, you will need an additional 1-2 cups to barely cover rice and other ingredients. Let me know if you have additional questions. Good luck!

Petra said...

Riaaaaaa!!!!! I finally made this yesterday and ohhh mmmy!!!! this is delish!!!! it is now a family staple. thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Petra said...

Making this for the 2nd time this week. Hubby has been traveling for work and since it was soooo goood the 1st time, im going to have a nice hot plate waiting for him when he comes home this evening.

Cooking with Ria said...

Love your work great skills, thank you

Cooking with Ria said...

Thank you so much! :-)

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