In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Ultimate Trinbagonian Stew Chicken.

trini recipes stew chickenIf you’ve been reading the blog or getting the weekly recipes sent to you directly you’ll know that I’ve been tagging some recipes as being “Ultimate” (Ultimate Curry Goat | Ultimate Curry Chicken), so today I’ll like to add another classic dish to the “Ultimate” series.

I think it was about 4 years ago and we were on the French side of St Maarten for the day. We had booked an all-day beach getaway with a brief tour of the island. It was about 11 am and we had already done the island tour and we had a 1 hr break in Marigot at one of the craft markets before heading off to the beach to spend the day. Our daughters were already getting bored (they hate tourist traps) and according to them..STARVING! As we walked around looking for something for them to eat, they noticed one of the restaurants had  a huge sign up with their daily specials and a stew chicken platter was one of the featured items. Yup! They had found their own little shangrila! They were soon very disappointed and mad at me (don’t ask me why), as it turned out that the restaurant was only just serving breakfast and the lunch dinner menu would not be open until another couple hours. If only steupes (kiss teeth) could kill, that poor girl who told them that, would be dead on the spot. You couldn’t even force feed our daughters croissants even if their lives depended on it. Yea, that was a pretty grumpy day after that. I think their taste buds had already made reservations only to be canceled by the talk of breakfast and croissants.

In this “stew” we’ll be trying to  only use fresh ingredients to truly get that “ultimate” taste at the end, so you’ll notice that I didn’t opt to use some of my already prepared green seasoning mix.

You’ll Need…

4-5 lbs chicken  – cubed into serving size pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced or crushed
1 teaspoon fresh  ginger – crushed/sliced
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (one that can withstand high heat)
1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium tomato – chopped
3 tablespoon cilantro (or shado beni) chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 hot pepper (only if you like your food spicy)
1 green onion or chive (scallion) – chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 lime or lemon or 3 tablespoons of vinegar
1 small shallot

* If you can get Spanish Thyme (aka podina), use 1-2 medium leaves finely chopped with the seasoning of the chicken.
* CHICKEN – I used a whole chicken that I divided into servings size pieces. I like the mixture of dark and white meat, but if you prefer you can use chicken parts such as legs and/or thighs and if you only eat chicken breast (or chicken chest as it’s commonly called on the islands) as one of my good friends does.. basically it’s your choice. If using chicken breast, it’s important that you allow the seasoned meat to marinate at least 2hours to really infuse the meat and to help prevent it being overly dry when cooked.

TIP :  Leave the ginger in large pieces if you’d like to fish out when the dish is done.

Since I don’t have a separate cutting board for meat and vegetables I usually prepare my seasonings first before getting the chicken all over the board. This simply means chopping the onion, pepper,thyme, shallot, cilantro, tomato, garlic and scallion.

seasoning for stew chicken

The next step is to cut, wash and season the chicken. If you’re lucky enough to have drum sticks and thighs there’s no need for cutting the meat into serving size pieces. In a future video I’ll show you how to divide and part-off a whole chicken. Put the pieces of  chicken in a large bowl, squeeze the lime or lemon juice (or vinegar) on it , then add a couple cups of water and wash. Try to remove as much fat and skin as you can. Rinse with a new batch of water and drain. * The water used in washing the chicken pieces is NOT mentioned in the ingredients list.

Now season by adding everything except the sugar, oil and water mentioned in the ingredients list. Mix thoroughly and allow to marinate for a couple hours in the fridge. For best results, marinate overnight.

trini stew chicken

As we’ve done with other “stew” recipes, it’s now time to brown the meat and not only give it a rich brown colour, but give it it’s truly unique taste. If you use the search box above (providing you’re not reading this from an rss feed) and search for “stew” you’ll find the other recipes. On a medium to high heat, put the oil in a heavy and deep pan to heat. Then add the sugar.. move it around until it starts going liquid. Please have the seasoned meat very close and I recommend you use a long handle spoon to avoid getting burn by the splattering oil when you add the seasoned meat. This is all about timing…  if the sugar is “burned” it will give it a bit of a bitter taste. What you’re looking for is small bubbles, which will then start going a bit frothy and go from light to golden/dark brown (see pics below). As soon as you see this happens (refer to pic) start adding the seasoned chicken a few pieces at a time. Remember to stir constantly to ensure all the pieces gets coated evenly.

how to stew chicken

trini stew chicken recipe

cooking stew chicken

the ultimate stew chicken recipe

After you’ve added all the seasoned meat to the pot, turn down the heat to medium/low, cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice that it will spring some of it’s own natural juices. While this cooks, add the 1 1/2 cups of water to the bowl you had the chicken marinating in. Swish it around to pick up any of the marinade that may be stuck to the bowl. We’ll be using this shortly. Remember to stir the pot every 5 minutes or so.

After about 15 minutes, remove the lid and turn up the heat as it’s time to cook-off all the liquid in the pot and to give the chicken it’s final “brown” colour. This can take about 5 minutes and it’s important that you stir constantly so it does stick to the bottom of the pot. When all the liquid is gone, add the water we’ve had sitting in the bowl. Stir and cook on medium heat for another 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick your pieces of chicken is).

trinidad recipe for stew chicken

trinidad stew chicken

I like my stew chicken with a bit of gravy to pour over rice, but I hate it being to thin. So if after cooking for 2o minutes I find it a bit too runny, I remove the lid and turn up the heat to get it to the consistency I like (basically you’re reducing the liquid by about 75%). Remember to check for salt at the end, in the event you’d like to add a bit more.

how to cook trinidad stew chicken

trinidad stew chicken recipe

And here it is with some brown rice and the water cress salad I shared with you a few days ago.

trini recipes stew chicken

stew chicken with rice

So there you go, the Ultimate Stew Chicken recipe. Now I’m sure many of you may have your own unique way of preparing this dish, so I’d love for you to share your tips in the comment box below. This serves about 5-6 people as a side dish to rice, macaroni pie, roti, ground provisions, macaroni and cheese and even mashed potatoes. Besides rice, I love my with the prepackaged (white) mac and cheese. Trust me on this one.

happy cooking


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How To Cook Caribbean Style Stew Chicken.
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  1. Diane Sanchez
    November 1, 2021 / 1:37 pm

    Hi Chris who is the one who invented Stewed chicken?
    I know it passed on from any generation ,but I would like to know the year that stew chicken was invented 😍

  2. Valerie
    May 30, 2020 / 4:33 pm

    Mr. Chris I just want to say THANK YOU for this recipe, it tastes just like how my father used to make it. My dad is a true and true Trinidadian who always filled our home with the sweet smell of stew chicken and macaroni pie a couple times a month when I was a child. As he has gotten older it has become more difficult for him to spend so much time in the kitchen, and he has no recipes to give as making stew chicken is as automatic to him as breathing. This recipe you have provided tastes just like my childhood and allows me to bring Trini cooking back to my father. Now I can even teach my in laws what good chicken tastes like!!

    • Annette Swiger
      June 2, 2020 / 7:28 pm

      Valerie, this is such a good comment. Reminded me of my father also, Thanks Chris!

  3. Cass
    April 12, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    This was very good. The only island I am from is Florida (now living in GA).

    It did make a very rich gravy in the end.

    Will make again (needed more seasonings / salt which I did add).

    Keep the recipes coming.

  4. Tanith
    January 12, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    I wish I’d read the comments before cooking! I just ended up with brown, uniformally smelling semi-burnt marinade ingredients 🙁 I added more after cooking, so it smell better, along with some bell peppers. Will leave the marinade ingredients out u till adding with the water next time!

  5. Mary
    December 12, 2015 / 5:40 pm

    I’m Puerto Rican and I love carribean dishes this is on point I love making this recipe thanx so much. I brag about you to my friends and say you guys need to try his recipes. Happy Holidays to you and your family. :0)

  6. andrew
    April 13, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    like ah boss

  7. new to caribbean cooking/ from uk
    March 15, 2015 / 7:44 am

    when you add the chicken to the pot to brown, do you add the fresh seasoning to or is that just left to throw away after marinating in fridge?

    • admin
      March 15, 2015 / 9:35 am

      everything goes into the pot – there’s a lot of flavor there. I usually hold back the remaining marinade and add when I’m adding the water

  8. Melva Morfaw
    February 28, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    Just love the way this cooking stewed chicken make the kitchen smell. the ginger is great, almost can’t wait to eat it.This is the 4th recipe I have tried the first three was enough to convince me that the stew would be good.

  9. January 31, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Now I can make brown stew just the way my sisters would. I tried this recipe and it was on point. Delicious and gives me a piece of home. Love love love love love this recipe. Thanks Chris.

  10. August 12, 2014 / 10:43 am

    Hello. I found your recipe via pinterest. I did it over the weekend. It came out delicious. I am doing it again today since my husband and I both enjoyed the recipe.
    I subscribed to your newsletter. I am looking forward to cooking more from your delicious recipes.

  11. Moya
    June 23, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m going to try it today 🙂

  12. Marjorie
    June 14, 2014 / 6:11 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I am going to try it today!

    April 2, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    I never saw salt only pepper…any salt or other spices add to chicken.

  14. Vida Rignault
    January 5, 2014 / 10:59 am

    I like to add a little pepper sauce or 1/4 of a Scotch Bonnet pepper to mine. Not to make it too hot, but just to give it that island “zing” & flavor. I also add a little chopped potato & carrots to the pot, & sometimes a little sliced onion, as my family is very fond of onions. (I am a born & raised Trini living in the U.S.)

  15. scd
    January 1, 2014 / 10:21 pm

    Performance, real creole style and ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Linda Ferguson
    December 5, 2013 / 7:32 pm

    Hi Chris ,

    Thank you for this recipe, it looks and sounds fantastic. I will be making this very soon God Bless

  17. Peter A. Wong
    July 25, 2013 / 6:50 am

    Good Day Chris,

    How are you? This is my first time posting on your Blog. I just want to say thank you for sending me updated recipes. I have tried many of your recipes and everyone who tried the food complemented me and it's all because of you. Thank you again and I must say that "Every Difference Makes A Difference". Have a great day and keep of the good work.

    Much regards,

  18. Patricia
    July 7, 2013 / 6:29 pm

    Hi Chris, I don’t consider my self a great cook but when ever I try your recipes, in the eyes of every one who eats the meal it appears that I am. This recipe was fantastic. Thank you again.

  19. Angelove
    July 21, 2012 / 9:26 am

    would you suggest doing this in the slow cooker?

  20. Carmelita
    April 25, 2012 / 8:21 am

    Trying this recipe for a potluck lunch tomorrow at work. I’m sure it will be a finger-licking success!

  21. Claudette Aberdeen
    March 20, 2012 / 9:34 am

    Hey Chris I love stew chicken but I must admit that I got distracted by that colourful salad

  22. eva bijvoet
    March 6, 2012 / 7:49 pm

    mmm, great chicken, just like the stewed chicken on the island here, roatan, going to try more recipes soon! eva

  23. Sarah Larrier
    February 11, 2012 / 10:58 pm

    Hi Chris, this is my chicken dinner for tomorrow, I've left the chicken marinating, will let you know how it came out, thank you very much for all the recipe that we grew up with, sad our mom did not teach us about it, not too late to learn.

  24. Simone
    February 6, 2012 / 11:48 am

    Hi Chris, this is my first time posting on the blog….I am going to try your stew chicken recipe, I am jamaican but I remember one of my older cousin had cook stew chicking using the browning sugar method and it was the one of the best stew chicken I ever had not comparable to my grandmother's of course…but the taste is still in my memory..I will definately make this recipe on Wednesday

  25. Nathalie
    February 5, 2012 / 6:01 pm

    OMG Chris,,this recipe was indeed the ULTIMATE !!!

    I like it hot and found the quantity of hot pepper to be too little,,had to add a heaping tsp of Baron West Indian Hot Sauce to my plate.

    On that note,,do you know where we can get this wonderful sauce in the seems that the Hamilton broker has stopped distributing this sauce and retailers who are listed as carrying it, all ran out of it.

    If no one knows were to get it,,,,has someone tried to replicate it ? If so, I would love to have the recipe.


  26. Thelma
    January 31, 2012 / 6:17 am

    love all your recipes

  27. s.r
    December 11, 2011 / 12:17 pm

    what brand of brown rice do you use?

  28. goodjeans
    October 24, 2011 / 7:49 pm

    About to make this for my boyfriend, I'm Bajan he is Trini and has been craving Trini-style stew chicken for weeks. He has been out of town so this will be his surprise when he gets back, about to put it in the fridge to marinate overnight. Thanks for the recipe!

  29. ettisen
    October 13, 2011 / 9:16 pm

    Thank you Chris, I have been trying to bring the "spice" back into my marriage and they always say a way to a mans heart is through his stomach. This taste awesome and I know that hubby will enjoy!

  30. D. Singh
    September 27, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I have a Spanish Thyme in a flower pot and it spreads so much that I often have to trim the branches and throw them out. Last week I trimmed it and throw out a full garbage bag because people where I live never used it and doesn't even want to try it. In a few weeks I'll be trimming again so let me know if you'd like the branches, I don't know if you do have the plant or if you buy it. I can also take out a few roots for you if you would like because the pot is a little too crowded. I love cooking with that and Chardon Bene but Chardon Bene don't seem to like me as I've a plant and it's still small like it doesn't want to grow up. I can also give you some aloes plant if you would like that. Keep up the good work and God bless!

  31. Nish
    August 4, 2011 / 11:39 am

    Mmm. Looks good. How would I go about adding pigeon peas to the stew? Trying to recreate a favorite dish of my boyfriend!

    Thanks in advance, Chris!

  32. cocoa
    June 5, 2011 / 2:48 pm

    I tried this recipe with cut up turkey wings…delicious. Had it with some fried cabbage and pigeon peas and rice on the side.

  33. Andrew Sheere
    January 25, 2011 / 1:39 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe; not a morsel to be had for left-overs!

  34. Macan
    January 24, 2011 / 4:42 pm

    do you think using boneless chicken is acceptable? i have tried to cook this a couple of time but it comes out too watery and the taste is not quite there. the only think i can point at is the boneless chicken…

    • Chris
      January 25, 2011 / 12:12 pm

      Boneless can be a bit tricky. I would "brown" the chicken and then bring it to a boil, then simmer for more than the 15 mins I mentioned in the recipe above. Try to cook it for about 25 minutes. This way we DON'T put additional water for the 2nd round of cooking.

      You will have a much juicer chicken and your gravy should be much thicker. Remember to empty the entire contents of the bowl when you brown (since you won't go back to that), allow it to cook on a very gentle simmer (stir) and if after the 25 mins you have a runny gravy, turn up the heat a bit.

      * If you're using air chilled chicken, you will have to add about 3/4 cup of water to help it cook without burning. As this process (air chill) means the chicken will spring less natural juices.

      Let me know if this helps or not.

  35. Cheryl Fary
    January 8, 2011 / 8:15 pm

    Wonderful recipe and step by step instructions. You are now the go to place when I am cooking West Indian food and I just made your stewed okra dish. It is really delicious. Thank you for making cooking enjoyable again.


  36. dinahnnnnn
    November 24, 2010 / 9:08 pm

    good cooking, i will try it.

  37. liza
    November 14, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    I put coconut milk in my stew chicken because I love sauce on my food.

  38. lucian
    October 6, 2010 / 1:43 pm

    Made this and realized pretty similar to St Lucian stew chicken. Tastes similar.

  39. Afsheen
    July 19, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    I'm Pakistani; marrying a Trini man. Your pictures and videos seem to be the saviour in trying to figure out the basics of Trini cooking, and the recipes in the Naparima book 🙂 Thankyou for all the detailed videos on YouTube too! Curry Goat was going to be the end of me!!

  40. June 17, 2010 / 2:57 am

    so how did it turn out for you.

  41. Stacy
    May 25, 2010 / 3:35 pm

    Going to try this tonight 🙂

  42. April 29, 2010 / 2:11 pm

    Your recipes are very exciting! I have never had this type of cuisine so I feel like I would be traveling at the same time!

    • June 17, 2010 / 2:57 am

      You're so right. When I visit other food blogs it's as if I'm traveling without ever leaving my desk.

  43. April 26, 2010 / 3:13 am

    Looking forward to trying this recipe! Along with the pelau! I really like how you give step by step instructions. Since I’m a new cook… Can’t wait for more recipes

  44. April 24, 2010 / 10:55 pm

    I love chicken, I’ll give your recipe a try. You forgot to write the quantity for hot pepper sauce, it just says 1/4..I thought you should know :)..I like spicy food, I’ll just add hot sauce as much as I can take! Thanks for dropping by my blog, glad to “meet” you 🙂
    .-= Olive´s last blog ..Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies =-.

    • June 17, 2010 / 2:56 am

      it wasn't pepper sauce, but 1/4 of a whole pepper 🙂

  45. Wallace Payne
    April 6, 2010 / 4:02 am

    The Ultimate stew chicken was very good recipe, I dont have alot of space, but by preparing all of the ingredients ahead of time everything went well.

  46. Uma
    April 1, 2010 / 10:50 pm

    Looking forward to trying this recipe! Along with the pelau! I really like how you give step by step instructions. Since I’m a new cook… Can’t wait for more recipes

    • June 17, 2010 / 2:55 am

      do let me know if you have any relating questions and if you're successful.

  47. Ninette
    March 31, 2010 / 10:46 pm

    Thanks for al lthe great recipes. I have tried many , and its also nice to cook some thing you also do in your country , just that you do it the way someone else does and can compare them . Problem is Ilike them all as I tend to like variety .

    • June 17, 2010 / 2:54 am

      thanks for stopping by and trying some of the recipes. happy cooking

  48. natalie
    March 31, 2010 / 2:09 pm

    guyana stew chicken is about the same i love it, have to be very careful when browing that sugar or else it will become bitter.

    • March 31, 2010 / 2:16 pm

      you're so right. if anything can go wrong, it's during this step.

  49. Fiona
    March 30, 2010 / 1:10 am

    I made this tonight for dinner as i was feeling homesick. It definitely did the trick:)

    • March 31, 2010 / 2:15 pm

      yea, food is a great cure for home sickness for sure

      happy cooking


  50. David
    March 29, 2010 / 1:42 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful dish Chris. Look forward to making it. Keep them coming.

    • March 30, 2010 / 12:06 pm

      David, thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. much appreciated.

  51. peter thomas
    March 25, 2010 / 7:20 pm

    another superb dish Chris, thx and keep em coming :))

    • admin
      March 26, 2010 / 10:16 am

      Peter, thanks for the continued support.


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