In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Curry Stew Chicken Pelau.

BLISS! When two culinary worlds collide, you get what I refer to as the Ultimate Comfort Food! Curry Stew Chicken and Pelau are two of my fav dishes out of the Caribbean. Anyone close to me will tell you that I can eat either on a daily basis. Such is my love for them. Served with a side/s of Tomato Choka, Coleslaw, Salad, even just sliced Avocado (zabouca) and/or cucumber.

You’ll Need…

3-4 lbs chicken
1 1/2 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
3/4 tablespoon salt (adjust)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
1 med onion (diced)
1 med tomato (diced)
1 1/2 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil (I used olive)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
6-8 cups water
2 1/2 cups long grain par-boiled rice
1 scotch bonnet pepper (sliced)
2 pimento peppers aka seasoning pepper (optional)
2 tablespoon chopped shado beni (culantro)
1 stalk celery (diced)
1 medium carrot (diced)
1 can pigeon peas (1 1/2 cups)

Season the chicken (cut into serving sized pieces) with the Caribbean Green Seasoning, salt, black pepper, curry powder, onion, tomato, Worcestershire Sauce, pimento peppers and scotch bonnet pepper. Allow this to marinate for at least 2 hours. Overnight in the fridge may give best results.

Tips! Wash you hands with soap and water after handling such spicy peppers. Do not use the seeds and white membrane of the pepper if you’re overly concerned about the raw heat. Yes, use you fav spicy pepper if you cannot source Scotch Bonnet. If you’re doing this gluten free pay attention to the ingredient list on the curry powder and Worcestershire Sauce you use. Some curry powder may have flour as a thickener and filler.

Please watch the video below to follow along with this step. Heat the oil on a med/high flame on a deep and heavy pot (one with a lid). Then add the brown sugar and stir (dry spoon). I suggest stirring as some spots in your pot may have HOT spots and the sugar may BURN there. The goal is to NOT BURN the sugar or you’ll end up with “bitter” tasting Pelau.

The sugar will melt, go frothy, then a dark amber color. This is when you’ll add (be careful when adding) the seasoned chicken to the pot. Add about half the seasoned chicken, stir well, then add the rest. The goal is to coat the pieces of curry-seasoned chicken with this lovely caramelized sugar. Do NOT get the sugar black. Should this happen, turn off the stove, cool the pot completely, wash and start over. NO this is NOT a sweet dish.

Now place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, add 6 cups of the water to the same bowl where you marinated the chicken in, to pick up any remaining marinade which may be in there. Set aside for later.

3-4 minutes later and it will come to a boil and start sprouting it’s own natural juices. Now it’s time to develop that rich color. Remove the lid and allow that liquid to burn off. Here’s where I like adding my grated ginger and stir well.

As the liquid burns off, add the pigeon peas (rinse and drain), followed by the celery and carrot. Stir to coat with the ‘stew’ niceness and continue cooking on high to burn off that liquid. Takes about 5-6 mins in total.

Add the coconut milk (stir), followed the water we reserved in the bowl earlier and bring to a boil.

Wash the rice (see the video below), drain and add to the pot (as it comes to a boil), stir well and bring back to a boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and allow the rice to fully cook, go plump and soak in all the stew/coconut goodness. BTW my lid was on but slightly ajar. Add more water should the rice not fully cook at this point. In the ingredient list I mentioned we’ll need 6-8 cups of water.

Couple things, should you want a more wet and creamy pelau I’d suggest stirring the pot a few times. This will brake down the rice and it will release more starch. Should you want a more grainy pelau (team dry), don’t stir too much.

25 minutes later and it’s time to personalize things. 1. Taste and adjust the salt to your liking. 2. You need to decide if you want a ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ pelau. For a more wet (creamy) pelau you may need to add a bit more water and cook longer. For team dry, burn off that liquid, cover the pot completely (after you turn off the stove) and let it sit in it’s own residual heat to dry-up. Flake/fluff with a fork after about 20 minutes and serve.

Top with finely chopped shado beni (culantro), should you not have access to culantro, you may use cilantro or parsley.

SERVE PIPING HOT! No, but I do enjoy a massive plate as soon as its off the stove. One of those things you got to suck air in as you eat, to help cool it down or you risk 2nd degree burns in your mouth. (smile.. I’m just a greedy) Add a little kuchela on the side if you want a little extra heat or spice flavor.

Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @

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1 Comment

  1. Michell Lowry
    July 16, 2023 / 5:19 pm

    yum, yum, yummy! I’ve made this a few times and it is delicious. Sometimes I put in a little extra like greens, or change the peas for channa/ chick pea. Today I made it with leftover Jerk Chicken and leftover rice. I simmered the veg and peas in the brown sauce and curry slury. Add in the cut up chicken and rice.

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