Trinbagoian Favourite Every Friday Meal – Pelau

Since the discovery of Trinidad and Tobago, and every creed and race born, breed and raised in this sweet land of my birth, called Trinidad and Tobago. Every Friday, your know that the meal is pelau, whether you are vegetarian or meat lover. You can have pelau without the meat.

Pelau

1½ lb chicken, seasoned
1 onion
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 and parsley. Pour oil into a large pot and place on medium high heat. Let oil heat until hot but not smoking. Sprinkle sugar into heated oil in an even layer. Let the sugar melt until it starts to froth and bubble. As soon as the edges of the froth/bubbles starts to get a slight shade darker, immediately add the seasoned chicken and stir to mix and coat with the burnt sugar. Let cook for 7 – 10 minutes.Add the rice to the pot, stir to mix and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the other ingredients to the mix cook for 2 minutes. When the pot comes to a boil, remove lid partially and let boil until you can see the surface of the dish – the rice, peas and chicken (about 7 – 8 minutes). Cover pot fully, reduce heat to low or simmer and let cook for 25 – 30 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle the green onion on top and fold into Pelau. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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