In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Pelau, the first guest invited to every beach lime.

how to make chicken pealu

I can still recall sitting in our “gallery” (porch) shelling peas as the first crop of pigeon peas was reaped (btw, shelling is the term used to describe removing the peas from the pod). My parents always planted corn and peas every rainy season so we enjoyed fresh peas cooked in many different forms. Stewed, curried, in pelau and as a thickener for some of the amazing soups my mom would make. But my absolute favourite dish with pigeon peas (even to this day) is that wonderful meal-in-a-pot, called pelau.

It was the norm that every trip we made to the beach or any family outing, my mom would cook up a pot of pelau (BTW, “cook up” is also another word for pelau) to take for lunch. Nothing beats taking a swim in the ocean and making your “hungry” way back to the trunk of the car where your mom is getting ready to serve you a plate of still-hot, chicken pelau with a fresh green salad on the side. And how could I forget the hot sauce we would drizzle all over the mound of pelau?

Can you imagine writing a post and your mouth waters from nothing but a memory? Let’s hope I don’t drool all over this keyboard.

I still can’t believe that it took me this long to share this dynamite pelau recipe with you. A special thanks to Caron for reminding me to do so.

You’ll need…

4-5lbs chicken, cut into pieces and washed with lime/lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced or crushed
1 teaspoon fresh/bottled ginger – crushed. (use 1/2 if it’s ginger powder)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (one that can withstand high heat)
1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium tomato – chopped
2-3 tablespoon cilantro (or 2 tbs Trinidad green meat seasoning)
2 tablespoon brown sugar
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 hot pepper (only if you like your food spicy)
1 green onion or chive – chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 large carrot sliced into “coins”
1 can coconut milk (about a cup)
1 can pigeon peas (also known as congo peas)
3 cups of long grain brown rice (washed)
1 teaspoon golden ray salt butter (optional)

Couple things before we proceed.

* If you can get fresh “shelled” pigeon peas, jump at the chance to use that instead of the canned stuff. nothing beats ‘fresh’.

* The pigeon peas comes as 2 types in the can. You have the green pigeons peas and the congo peas. The congo is the just the same green ones that were left to dry in its pod (while still on the tree), then canned. In the pictures below, you’ll notice that I used the congo variety of peas as it what I had on hand.

Cut and wash the chicken pieces, then season with all the ingredients mentioned above except, the oil, sugar, coconut milk, carrot, rice, water, golden ray and the can of pigeon peas.

seasoning chicken for pelau

Allow the seasoned chicken to marinate for at least 1 hr before you continue. You’re probably shocked by the amount of salt we used during the seasoning process, don’t fear. When we add the other ingredients, the saltiness will balance off nicely.

In a large pot on med to high heat, pour the oil and wait for it to become hot. Then add the brown sugar (same as the stewing process we discussed before), keeping an eye on things (see pictures below) until the sugar goes to a dark frothy brown. Have the bowl of seasoned chicken ready to go.

browning sugar for pelau

pelau recipe

cook pelau

When the sugar gets to this point, quickly start adding the pieces of chicken. Move each piece around so it gets coated in the caramel that you just made. After adding all the chicken, cover the pot and allow to cook on med heat for about 10 minutes. We’re trying to “brown” the meat and also create a nice brown colour so when we add the rice, everything will look and taste amazing. Remember, that a pelau is judged by not only it’s taste, but by it’s appearance as well. Don’t worry, this recipe is fool proof!

brown chicken for pelau

stew chicken for pelau

While everything cooks, open the can of peas and place it in a strainer to wash out the sort of sryup-like liquid  it’s packaged in the can with. You’ll also get rid of all that additional sodium that’s included in everything that’s canned. Wash and peel the carrot, then slice into coins. Put both the peas and carrot pieces into the same bowl you seasoned the chicken. Hopefully it will pick up any remaining seasonings that were left back. As the water starts to dry-up (see pic above) add, the peas and carrots to the pot. NOTE: You may have to turn up the heat and remove the lid for the natural juices that were released to cook down.

pigeon peas

ingredients pelau

caribbean pelau

Cover the lid and turn down the heat as you wash the rice. For those of you not familiar with cooking with brown rice as we do in the Caribbean, you may not realize that you must first wash the rice before cooking, to get rid of the gritty taste. Many of you are probably accustomed to using that fast cooking (can’t screw up) Uncle Ben’s version. Not today! It’s a very simple process. Pour the rice into a large bowl and pour water to cover it. Then as if you’re giving the rice a massage, work it with your hand and fingers. Pour out that water (you’ll see how cloudy the water will be) and repeat this process for another couple times.

brown rice

Time to kick back into action. Pour the rice into the pot, then the coconut milk and the three cups of water. Stir everything around and quickly bring back to a boil. Then cover the pot and allow to simmer for about 35 minutes or until all the liquid is gone and the grains of rice is tender and plump. There are 2 ways people like their finished product. Wet or dry and grainy. I love a nice grainy pelau, but I do know my sister makes hers gets my mom to make her’s a bit wet. Test both ways to see how best you like it.

pelau ingredients


island pelau recipe

trini pelau

Added Flavour!

To add an additional layer of flavor to the dish (not as if it need any more) add a teaspoon of Goldenray salted butter as you turn off the stove. Then mix around and cover the pot for about 5 minutes.

Special Note. My great aunt had this trick where she would get a branch of celery (fresh stuff from her garden – only the leafy part) and chop it really fines and top her pelau with it. STUNNING is the only word I can use to describe this added zing. Though I’ve tried over the years I’m still to recreate that unique taste … maybe it’s because I don’t have that unique celery from the Caribbean.

trinidad pelau

Do let me know your thoughts on this and the many other recipes posted on in the comment box below. If doing this according to a gluten free diet, do go through all the ingredients to verify they meet with your gluten free dietary needs.

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  1. Jacqueline A Emerand
    March 12, 2023 / 10:45 am

    Hi Chris. I am Jamaican, had Trini neighbors as a child, and have made your Pelau several times. It is absolutely delicious. Your videos are excellent and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us.

  2. Harper EU
    April 14, 2021 / 12:17 pm

    Yeah, Man…You know the “Golden Ray! I Don’t do WI cookin’ without it…I keep a few bricks in the freezer!

  3. Adele
    May 12, 2020 / 7:16 pm

    Hoping to make this soon, and wondering if the chicken is bone “in” or “out”. I assume in but want to double check. Thanks!

  4. Stephen Tindle
    July 14, 2019 / 7:14 am

    Re your Aunt’s celery leave garnish, which you can’t duplicate, are you sure it was celery? It could have been lovage, which has a similar taste to celery and whose leaves and stalks even look similar to celery. Lovage has been described as having a flavour similar to a a mix of celery and parsley, but with a higher intensity of both of those flavors. I’ve also seen it described as celery with a hint of anise.

  5. Barbara
    February 20, 2019 / 10:54 pm

    I made this tonight and the flavor was off the hook. Thank you for another delicious family-friendly recipe. U never disappoint whether it is curry chicken or poulori shrimp.

    Thanks again,

  6. Lisa
    October 31, 2018 / 5:15 am

    Cook-up is a whole other entity made in Guyana. Taste is completely different. Great pelau recipe! I also miss the celery from home.

  7. Kim
    October 2, 2018 / 11:18 pm

    Ur awesome Chria

    Can i use beef or chicken broth instead of water?

  8. Kim
    October 2, 2018 / 11:17 pm

    Hi chris ur awesome….

    Quuck quration
    ..can i use beef or chicken broth instead if water?

  9. Mable
    August 23, 2018 / 4:07 am

    I decided to make this pelau today. Thank you so much Cris for your recipes.

  10. Anne Torrens
    August 12, 2018 / 11:50 am

    I decided to make this Pelau today. I remember my grandmother used to make it in St Vincent. The last time I had it was in Florid a, when my Uncle’s wife made it. My portion was never enough. I can eat as much as I like today and have some left over. Thank you so much for your recipes Chris. Your food is always tasty and moreish.

  11. Tamara
    August 7, 2018 / 4:03 pm

    I was looking on this recipe yesterday and I’m gonna try it today it looks delicious

  12. Andrea
    July 4, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe it reminds me of home. Your steps were clear and easy to follow. The pictures were quite helpful as well. Well, I’m just about to dig in!! Mmmm

  13. llawrence
    May 25, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    this recipie reminds of the way my mom used to cook pelau. i am sure that yours came out great.

  14. Patricia
    February 3, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    I always asked my sister from T & T to make it when she visited us. So good!!!

  15. Mimi
    February 2, 2018 / 11:19 pm

    I am going to cook this tomorrow, along with one of your stewed turkey wings recipe. My mom was a Chinese Trini (a Chinnie?) and she had her own delicious version. As for that special celery taste, try Chinese celery. It’s a lot longer and slenderer than regular celery. And I find that the taste is stronger than regular celery. THANKS for also making me drool!

  16. January 11, 2018 / 11:32 am

    I wish we were neighboors, to offer me a plate of food each day. LOL!! You are AWESOME!!

  17. Cicily
    August 26, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    Just tried the recipe. It was easy! Great taste.

  18. Essence
    August 8, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    My husband is Trini, I’m Canadian born – Jamaican background and this was my first time making a Trini dish. It was so easy and tasty! my husband liked it and I’m making it again tonight!

  19. L'shanda
    August 1, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    I just made Pelau for the first time and used this recipe.. It came out great and tastes delicious.. Thank you! 🙂

  20. Gary
    July 28, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    Great recipe that I have used time and time again. However I am Planning a big lime (party) and want to make pelau to feed 50 people. How do I scale up the ingredients. I know some aromatics are stronger in numbers. Not worried about the rice, carrots etc but would love your advice on the sugar etc and how to approach this task

  21. BRittany
    July 16, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    Wow this was absolutely amazing! My mother use to make pelau on special occasions and when we went to the beach. It’s has always held a fond place in my heart but now that I live in San Diego it’s impossible to find a good pelau but this recipe was exactly like my mom use to make it. I made this for my African boyfriend who loves flavorful stuff and it is officially his favorite food. He even got made at me for not making it sooner and more often!! He had 4 massive bowls in two days! Finished the whole pot in less than 24 hours just the two of us!

  22. Jessica
    July 10, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    The picture above that shows when you added the coconut, makes it look very thick, what in the states we call a coconut cream. How thick is the coconut milk you use? Would you guess it would be closer to what our coconut cream is? My can of coconut milk is as thick as a cows or goats milk. Thanks so much!!

  23. jg
    June 24, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    so just tried this for the second time but i left out the cilantro, tomato and peas as i dont wish those in it and i like mine a lil darker so i added some browning in the sugar browning process and it came out delish i used 2 cups of rice to 3 cups of homemade chicken stock water made it extra yum.
    thanks c,bean pot from Barbados

  24. Patrick
    June 5, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Love that dish. Been cooking it regularly for about a year now. My wife’s family are from Guadeloupe and are usually very picky about food from other islands but they love it too. Great blog.

  25. Phylicia
    April 10, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    I’m definitely trying this recipe. Just wondering if it’s ok to use
    The brown gravy for stewing up the kitchen instead of making it? I’m not very good with browning

  26. TriniBoy
    February 15, 2017 / 5:51 pm

    Didn’t realize Barbados and Guyana have versions of Pelau. I’ve had cookup rice and hot pot and they are not really that similar to Pelau. Pretty awesome if they do I need to try them !!!

    Any way I’m about to try your water to rice proportions to cook my pelau. I have my own recipe that’s generally close to your’s but I always forget how much water to rice you need to not destroy the chicken when you cook it down. Hope its works !!! Thanks in advance

    Wanted to let you know the “Celery” you’re looking for is Bandanya also known as Shado Beni. In North America or non Tropical areas you can generally find Cilantro in groceries that is a good but not the greatest replacement. Bandanya is much more pungent a flavor. But yea you can probably look for Cilantro and try it !!! (the plants come from the same family of plants)

    Thanks again hope this helped.

  27. shelton
    January 1, 2017 / 10:00 am

    Hey very nice recipe tried it and I love it….big up from Barbados

  28. Ranee
    November 13, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Hey Chris,
    I was wondering if you ever tried the herb LOVAGE to get that missing flavour. It looks like celery, but has that something extra that to me is totally Caribbean. It’s great in stir-fry too.

    • admin
      November 13, 2016 / 8:38 pm

      sorry, no I’ve never tried it.. honestly never heard of it

  29. Letizia
    April 2, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    it looks delicious, I will definetely make it for dinner this week

  30. C
    November 22, 2015 / 9:59 am

    Chris, Thanks for this recipe I try to make my own version(can’t beat mom and grand-mother version) I really appreciate this one, well all of them.

    Trini to the bone …. NY, NY

  31. Amy
    October 3, 2015 / 9:46 am

    I’m making this for our international dinner tomorrow at church. Can’t wait to taste it. I love Caribbean food! You’re an excellent teacher.

  32. Lynda
    April 9, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    What a fantastic recipe. Sooooooo good! My guests loved it too. Now all we need is the beach. Unfortunately no warm beaches this time of year in Canada. I can just imagine swimming in the sea until you are hungry and then a big plate of this little bit of heaven. Thanks Chris.

  33. John Dixon
    March 8, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    This is one of my most-cooked recipes from the site (along with the awesome fish broff). My dad in law (Jamaican) and wife still can’t believe I’m not buying it in from a restaurant!

  34. Ruthie Roseau
    February 16, 2015 / 6:46 pm

    My Pelau was amazing! Still not quite like Grandmom use to make it but delicious anyway. 🙂

  35. Renata
    February 7, 2015 / 9:01 am

    weird question- a friend of mine wants me to make this for her but she’s a vegetarian. any thoughts on leaving out the meat? a vegetarian pelau. i wonder if people in trinidad made vegetarian pelau when they fasting… anyways, thanks.

    • admin
      February 7, 2015 / 11:57 am

      if you go to the youtube channel @ I have a vegetarian version posted. I’ll try to add it to the website next recipe I add.

  36. January 31, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Ha ha ha the joy that comes when I think of your Pelau recipe. My my my I can make Pelau when my mom visits me in Georiga. Mom is in for a treat when she comes to visit. She always made Pelau for me growing up in Tobago but boy oh boy. The only thing missing is the Beach. I would love to make a little Picnic Basket and take my kids out with drinks and chips and just make it a special memory. We love the Pelau at home but my picnic idea will be put in effect. Thanks for this Perfect Pelau recipe.

  37. carolyn
    December 19, 2014 / 9:33 am


  38. kristina
    November 10, 2014 / 3:52 pm

    So yummy. Enjoy it everytime. My favorite dish. Makes me feel at home! 🙂

  39. Kristina
    October 27, 2014 / 8:08 pm

    I’ve cooked this recipe THREE times already and it turns out delicious every time! Thanks so mu ch for posting!

  40. Thalia
    October 25, 2014 / 8:19 pm

    Thanks so much for your posted videos, I tried this dish tonight and it was a hit with the family! Next week, will be the ital soup…keep up the good work! And thank you 😉

  41. Shantel
    September 2, 2014 / 9:26 pm

    I did this recipe the first time sugar and I didn’t like it. It taste a little sweet for me. I did it the second time around without the sugar and I like it that way, I use a little oil and brown my chicken and it turn out good

  42. Ilyana
    July 31, 2014 / 2:30 pm

    This was an excellent recipe!! I switched out carrots for pumpkin and enjoyed it alot. I agree with adding a little more sugar for the stew process based on some of the comments but i am so happy i can finally make a good pelau!

  43. carrie
    July 17, 2014 / 2:32 pm

    Agree that more sugar is needed but a very good recipe!

  44. jg
    April 24, 2014 / 9:51 pm

    hi there tried this recipe tonight came out so yummy think only thing i would change is add more sugar in the beginning so the chicken gets more carmalized i added pig tail along with the chicken. oh and i could not find cilantro so i used a little corriander instead gave it a nice flavor and it really turned out great.
    thanks a mil:)

  45. Sherri
    February 13, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    How long to cook after adding rice to achieve a grainy texture?

  46. Carol
    February 12, 2014 / 8:51 pm

    If I can get frozen pigeon peas, I will use it instead of canned . All I do is pre cook the frozen peas half way through. You may be able to purchase the frozen peas from the international frozen section of the grocery store or even the Spanish grocery store

  47. Tara
    February 5, 2014 / 4:25 pm

    Hey Chris,this is the exact recipe I use,except I usually add some cubed butternut squash almost at the end so it cooks but remain in pieces~Thanks for all the lovely recipes!!!

  48. linda
    February 1, 2014 / 7:15 am

    I normally add scalded pig tail small bits of beef and sometimes even lamb. Great mix of meats is wonderful

  49. Lorrie
    December 5, 2013 / 2:43 pm

    Definitely going to try this out!

  50. Gigi
    November 13, 2013 / 6:07 am

    I’m making this for my darling husband who grew up in Trinidad. The pictures were a big plus as I was not sure what it should look like. My chicken did not brown up as nicely as yours because I did not raise the heat high enough as I added the chicken. Now I know for next time. Of all the sites I went on, yours was the easiest to follow. A picture is worth a 100 words. I will explore your other recipes.

  51. Cory Thomas
    September 14, 2013 / 1:39 pm

    I tried this recipe today and it came out tasting just like the pelau I tasted went I visited Trinidad & Tobago…delicious and authentic. Thanks a whole lot!

    • Lorrie
      December 5, 2013 / 2:43 pm

      Hi Cory…are you the Cory that I know?

  52. Krystal
    July 16, 2013 / 7:12 pm

    I just cooked chicken pelau for my family! Your recipe is fool-proof, I was so proud to serve this meal to my family. This was a wonderful surprise to my Antiguan husband. Your step by step instructions on youtube also helped guide me along! Thanks Chris

  53. queend3992
    July 14, 2013 / 5:41 pm

    I just made the pelau ,the only thing i forgot was the golden ray at the end. But i used a cast iron pot n the juice didnt boil out till dry.I still followed the directions taste so good. Thanks Chris.

  54. tash
    June 28, 2013 / 10:20 am

    been getting these recipes for a couple of years and shame to say that I have now started going through them. lol. Anyway just have to say, pelau is my favourite, favourite food. I love it, but I can’t cook it (yeh one of those, lol) I could eat this everyday. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  55. StJohnian
    March 26, 2013 / 12:09 pm

    My mom just turned me on to you because I just moved from next door of her and she is afraid I won't feed her granddaughter. My daughter asked for Pelau so I came directly here. Cant wait to try this. I am from St John USVI and we don't have a traditional Pelau that I know of, so Trini was the way to go!

  56. Yve
    March 24, 2013 / 5:26 pm

    One of my favorites for the beach and the Grand Stand. It as delicious! Bon Appetit.

  57. Kajmere
    February 28, 2013 / 2:23 pm

    Hello Chris!

    Do you have a method of making pelau in a slow cooker? I would love to know!!

  58. Damnfool
    December 13, 2012 / 7:24 am

    Pics seem to have gone missing – used 2 different browsers too. Shame.

  59. sandra subero
    November 23, 2012 / 9:20 am

    Hi Chris, this is one of my favorite dish the way you describe it real make my mouth water and i feel for a beach bath
    right now , continue doing a great job,God bless you.

  60. hotpeppasauce
    November 4, 2012 / 11:06 pm

    I am curious as to the relation between pelau and paella although paella uses seafood it is a similar one pot meal. Looking for historical info as well as other island relations since so many island use the same staples just spice it up different!

  61. Trinigal
    October 17, 2012 / 1:15 pm


    You may want to try an oriental grocery store for the celery. It is called Chinese celery here is the Washington DC area.

  62. Drew
    October 13, 2012 / 1:19 pm

    Chris – Your account of going to the beach, taking a dip, and heading to the car trunk for some pelau, salad and pepper sauce, took me right back home to my childhood days some 30+ years ago. Not only did it remind me of how I used to struggle to stop salivating on the family wknd trip to Manzanilla or Mayaro as the aroma from my mom's delicious pelau wafted from the trunk to the back seat where I sat, but your gem of an intro, had me feeling the sand between my toes. I could smell not just the pelau but the salty sea breezes, and I think I even heard a coconut drop from one of the nearby coconut trees where the car might have been parked next to. And yes, "yuh have meh dribblin here"! Fantastic recipe and anecdote…once again!

  63. jerson
    September 28, 2012 / 7:05 pm

    Hi Chris, do you have an affiliate program for your cooking books? I'm interested to advertise and sell

  64. Johnny
    September 9, 2012 / 9:25 pm

    My burning of the sugar came out bitter, why

  65. anica
    August 30, 2012 / 1:37 pm

    I am from Beautiful Barbados and I am doing a gizzard pelau……

  66. Joe
    August 27, 2012 / 8:13 pm

    Hey Chris,
    We in Louisiana call a porch a gallery too. I discovered there were strong ties between New Orleans Creole cuisine and Caribbean cuisine when I was in Jamaica and Trinidad a few more years ago then I'd like to admit.
    Thanks for the great recipes!

  67. Maya
    August 26, 2012 / 11:18 pm

    2nd time I've made this. Perfection once again. I spent 5years in Trinidad and this brings back sweet memories. Even my bajan husband loves it.

  68. August 11, 2012 / 8:32 pm

    Thank you so much! We just made it for the first time and the whole crew agrees that this dish is a keeper! It had us ready to find a beach and hang out! LOL

  69. celia
    August 9, 2012 / 8:56 am

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for bringing a bit of sunshine here in london! I am going to try this recipe tomorrow night, cant believe the first comment was163 weeks ago! I always feel hungry when I receive your emails, keep 'em coming.

  70. tds
    July 27, 2012 / 3:02 pm

    I used this recipe last night bcuz we had restaurant bought pelau the night before. I will never buy restaurant pelau thanks to this recipe. It came out great! People couldn’t believe. I made it bcuz I’m more of the baker type even thought I can cook American and Spanish dishes well also. Thinking about making it again tonight bcuz it wasn’t enough for all the people I served. I didn’t have quite 3 cups of rice (parboiled) had about 2 1/4 cups. Reduced the coconut milk to about 1/4-3/4 cups & the parboiled ricr I still rinsed it even though its not necessary and it was still a hit! Thank you so much! Look forward to using more of your recipes in the very near future! Peace and love 🙂

  71. Ruby Cox
    July 26, 2012 / 7:03 pm

    Hi. CHRIS, my favorite thing to grill is smoked brisket, next any other meat then vegetables. Just being able to grill keeps my family and friends relaxing and enjoy the day. Thanks for all your recipes I'm working on your currychicken.first try ok, second try way better third try is the winner!

  72. Danielle
    July 16, 2012 / 8:21 am

    @Jinsette….sounds like madamme jeannette peppers or adjuma? The small yellow ones?

  73. jinsette
    July 15, 2012 / 7:46 pm

    My favourite dish. The only food I always over-indulge in! I add some pumpkin, sweet pepper and I find you cannot beat pimentos to give it that beautiful peppery aroma and flavour without the burn. Also just like callaloo put in a whole hot pepper. I recall many years ago there was a hot pepper that was used and it used to give off this wonderful aroma that infused the pot. Alas, I have not been able to find that particular pepper in recent years.

  74. Nadine
    July 15, 2012 / 4:53 pm

    Hi Chris, love your recipes always look forward to receiving them in my inbox. My mother is from Guyana and they have something smilar to this it's called cook up rice. LOVE it. Will try this recipe.
    Keep the recipes coming, love and thanks.

  75. Juliemango2012
    July 13, 2012 / 5:06 am

    Hi Chris,
    Finally I was able to successfully brown chicken using your truly fool proof instructions. This has been a great source of shame for me as a trini woman – not being able to make that 'pshaw!' sound! 🙂
    The best part of this recipe is the seasoning. I didn't have to season the pot at all – the seasoning from the chicken flavored the pot well. I used brown rice and it took a really long time to cook (over an hour) and was a little sticky but it was worth the wait. I think I'll try it with white rice next time. I served it with a broccoli slaw.
    Thanks again for these easy to follow recipes..

  76. Yvonne
    July 2, 2012 / 3:08 pm

    As a southern Americian, I can tell from your recipes how closely we are all connected. My family made pelau, but with rice and meat only, chicken, sausage, etc., no peas. I can't wait to try this with pigeon peas, my favorite. I am a vegetarian, and I love finding creative ways to make these recipes work for me so I can still enjoy the dish. Thank you, and as we say in the south, "y'enna kep it up hea, holla at ya latar"

  77. Hilda
    July 2, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    My favourite Pelau, nothing beat a sweet Pelau. A little coconut milk, and u ready to go.

    Thanks Chris.

  78. May 25, 2012 / 11:15 am

    Hi Chris
    In SVG, some people use browning, but my family always use curry in pelau. Either way, it tastes great. It was always our beach picnic food too.

  79. May 20, 2012 / 9:06 pm

    I made this recipe a few times and always delicious. Thanks

  80. Tonya
    May 16, 2012 / 4:01 pm

    Thanks again Chris for your wonderful recipes and taking the time to take the pictures!!! I have my chicken marinating now and after reading the other posts, I decided to add a couple pieces of turkey necks…ummm…I can't wait to see how it turns out. I've made pelau a number of times..sometimes good…sometimes not so good. : ( I'm sure this will turn out good. I'm going to use the browning sauce as I have messed up burning sugar and do not want to waste my meat with that bitter taste. Thanks a bunch, Chris!!!!

  81. Lexie
    May 7, 2012 / 8:49 am

    I made this yesterday and it was mushy, plus the chicken shredded as I continuously stirred the pelau to distribute the remaining liquid evenly throughout the pot. It tastes good but I really wanted a drier chicken pelau. I'm assuming to minimize the liquids used – I may try again.

    • Bert
      February 13, 2013 / 1:54 am

      Hi Lexie, try this… Brown chicken, add rice and other ingredients as per recipe etc in heavy cast iron pot with cover, if you do not have a cover for the pot, use foil. Allow ingredients to come to a slow boil, then place covered pot in pre heated oven @ 350 deg. for about 40 mins. Remove from oven check same, add golden ray salt butter and fluff up, do not stir. Have fun and enjoy. Good luck.

  82. cici
    April 26, 2012 / 7:34 pm

    Wow!! Thank you for this!! Made it tonite in "the big pot" with a big chicken, 4 cups rice, 2 can peas and 3 1/2 cups water and was perfect. The flavor is just mouthwatering. I added a spoon full of your green pepper sauce in my bowl to finish it off as I like spice. I look forward to cooking through many more of your really make them great!! Thanks Again =)

  83. donna farfan
    February 27, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    love dis dish a lot,u can also use beef or any other peas u prefer

  84. Austin
    February 25, 2012 / 8:10 pm

    Caribbean Pot thanks for the original Pelau boy…it's boss

  85. Joshy
    February 1, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    I'm ashamed to say that I grew up in Tobago and up until today, I have not been successful with pelau. I just now finished following your receipe to the T, and it came out perfectly!!!! (I like mine dry so I'll use a lil less water next time). But just wanted to say thanks for this wonderful resource. Can't wait to try some of your other recepies!!

  86. scscsc
    January 27, 2012 / 8:35 am

    where does the ketchup come in?

  87. Ms. MJS
    December 28, 2011 / 10:53 am

    Hi Chris! Thanks so much for the recipe. My boyfriend is Trinidadian and makes this dish quite often for our family. However, he requested that I make it for him this time around. He's a subscriber to your YouTube channel and showed me your recipe. I made it and it tasted just like his! I was so ecstatic! He gave it a thumbs up. His sister did as well. When she entered our house she stated that it smelled like "home".

    Thanks again,
    Ms. MJS

  88. karla
    December 1, 2011 / 11:58 am

    Hi Chris,

    I was wondering if you could recommend a substitution for the congo peas. I'm thinking they might be hard to find in my area. I'm going to try Whole Foods, but they may not have them. Would field peas or crowder peas work? Thanks!

    • karla
      December 15, 2011 / 2:20 pm

      That's okay. I found some in my cabinet!! :-). Don't recall where I got those from! Must give this dish a try

  89. Lisa
    November 17, 2011 / 2:42 pm

    i jus made my first one for my hubby who is trinidadian..the only thing i didnt do was wash the rice…it will still turn out right??

  90. leleswagger
    October 11, 2011 / 4:50 pm

    pelau is the best thing to cook

  91. August 25, 2011 / 1:14 pm

    My mama thought me to make it this way too. I did and it tasted great. Have you ever tried putting a whole pepper in while it is cooking? It gives a nice aroma and taste to this recipe.

    • Austin
      February 25, 2012 / 8:49 pm

      I put the whole pepper too…wanted it to buss but it didn't …It was awesome…used chicken broth instead of water though 🙂

  92. Jen
    August 6, 2011 / 10:27 am

    hi chris, ive tried the dish today and man it is finger licking good! thank you for the recipe i will treasure this one. God Bless

  93. Linda McComie
    May 16, 2011 / 5:43 pm

    Here is a really quick pelau I make in my rice cooker for those days when time runs out and the kids have a music lesson in an hour.

    1 lb skinless, boneless chicken cut into bite sized pieces
    1 medium onion chopped
    2 cloves garlic crushed
    1 tablespoon green seasonong
    1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon rum
    1/2 tablespoon sugar
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 chicken stock cube
    1 x 15oz tin pigeon peas
    3 measures of rice (rice cooker measuring cup)

    Season the chicken with onions, garlic, green seasoning, worcestershire sauce and rum. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes if possible. Just before starting the meat put the rice, stock cube and water in the rice cooker and set it going. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and caramelise the sugar. Add the chicken and stir quickly. Cook on high heat until the chicken is cooked through and all liquid is reduced right down. Open and drain the peas and add to the cooking chicken. Add half cup of boiling water if necessary and boil for 1-2 minutes. The rice should have started to boil but there should still be lots of water in the rice cooker. Add the chicken and peas to the rice and stir well. You can add pepper if you like it spicy. When the rice cooker switches to warm, the dish is ready to eat. Stir to ensure that the chicken and rice is evenly distributed. The stock cube should have added sufficient salt but adjust to taste. I serve this with sliced cucumber 9dressed with lime juice, sugar, salt, spring onions and olive oil,) sliced tomatoes and shredded iceberg lettuce in an oil and vinegar dressing.

  94. Arlene
    April 13, 2011 / 4:36 pm

    I love to eat my pelau with kuchela ………. Chris I love your website Thanks for posting all these wonderful recipes. It brings back lots of memories.

  95. Andy
    February 14, 2011 / 8:20 am

    Hi Chris, I am looking for a buffalo wings recipe.

  96. Tricia
    December 8, 2010 / 12:02 pm

    Hi Chris, do you have a vegetarian pelau recipe?

  97. Krystal
    October 29, 2010 / 3:07 pm

    this looks absolutely yummy…………:)

  98. Debbie Marshall
    October 22, 2010 / 3:45 pm

    Hi Chris, I am from the deep south – Alabama to be exact ! LOL ! I have tried several times to make rice and peas … and it always come out to soggy. Could you please post/or send a recipe for rice and peas. Thanks sooo much !

  99. KikiBeckles
    September 20, 2010 / 6:29 pm

    Oh yes! PS. Next up: Buss-up-shut!

  100. KikiBeckles
    September 20, 2010 / 6:28 pm

    Hey Chris, my pelau came out absolutely PERFECT!!! Thank u soooooo much for the easy to follow instructions and the photos. I also made the green seasoning and WOW did it give this dish flavor, as well as the Golden Ray. It feels so good to cook something that is a part of my culture so perfectly. Just so everyone knows, I finished it with a side of fried sweet plantains and carrot salad (grated carrots, lil mayo, raisin, very small pinch of sea salt).

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:34 pm

      loving the idea of that carrot salad… I have a weakness for raisins. will have to give it a try.

  101. Tlackran
    August 27, 2010 / 9:55 pm

    Chris something went wrong with my pelau. It turned out mushy. Do you think i used too much water or coconut milk?

  102. Brendon
    August 6, 2010 / 9:34 am

    Chris Boss, yuh had meh real thinking bout this Pelau! LOL i recall my mother using so many varieties to this recipe! Here are some of them:

    Oh lawd she's a meat mouth!LOL so watch meh nah! She added chicken, smoked bones, pigtail, turkey wing, pork and some beef! it had more meat than rice!!! and ah used to be vex wid her yuh kno! i used to say mommy gyul it ha more meat than rice!!! Regal twas in truth!

    I enjoy the variations of the peas as well red beans, pigeon peas, black eye- you name it. And your so right the fresh pigeon peas is the greatest! Fortunately for moms, she enjoyed shelling the peas! She said it was relaxing! HAHA

    When i moved for school here at York, I would invite over the Trini posse and boi we would real enjoy the thing man! Though at times, meh good fren would say it look a lil white!!! HAAHA!Reason being though my fear of caramelizing the sugar. I've had bad occasions where i burnt the sugar and it became bitter-NOT GOOD!

    But yeah man thanks for posting!!!


    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:33 pm

      MOMS is my kind of cook.. love the variety, especially all the meats.

  103. Jeanne
    July 30, 2010 / 5:42 pm

    Do I have to use brown rice? What do you mean when you say the results are grainer, is the rice grainer?

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:32 pm

      yes, I use brown (long grain) rice as if you use white rice, it will be rather sticky. Providing you time it right, then you'll have no problems. I'm not accustomed to cooking with white rice so I can never time it right or estimate how much liquid I need to get it grainy like I like.

  104. sara
    July 21, 2010 / 4:17 pm

    If you like chicken pelau.. you have to try a goat pelau.. the goat will take a little longer than the chicken but it is worth it…. try adding a can of corn(kernel) to you pelau.. it is awesome;

    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:30 pm

      wait, is goat you say dey? now there's one I've not had before.

  105. Debbi
    July 19, 2010 / 6:34 pm

    Oh Chris, you're going to make me a wonderfully competant Caribbean cookstress at home!



    • jumbieg
      September 27, 2010 / 9:30 pm

      nice 🙂

  106. Nigel
    May 18, 2010 / 8:18 pm

    you can try browning the sugar without oil, lessen down on the grease in the food. but i do love this recipe. wil try it

    • June 17, 2010 / 3:12 am

      I see my aunt doing so (no oil), but I still can;t get it to work for me.. I've grown accustomed to the traditional (fat) way I guess.

  107. Marcia
    May 3, 2010 / 2:43 pm

    I finish cooking mine in the oven all the time for all of the reasons Viv's aunt does hers. It also comes out grainer. I usually (small) cube my carrots and add a cubed medium sweet peppers and about a half tin of sweet corn. Apart from the celery at the end of cooking and before serving, put in also some finely chopped pimento peppers. It just brings out the flavours.

    • June 17, 2010 / 3:11 am

      Oh boy.. yours sound amazing. will have to give that a shot.

  108. Viv
    April 18, 2010 / 8:01 pm

    My aunt allows her pelau to finish cooking in the oven after adding the rice and bringing it to a boil. She does it like this to prevent the rice from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. Have you ever heard of doing it this way?

    • June 17, 2010 / 3:10 am

      Love the tip.. I'll have to give that a try.

  109. sher
    April 9, 2010 / 7:25 pm

    that pelau looks great we also cook this when we go out on beaches with a big family o friends here in venezuela

    • April 18, 2010 / 12:12 am

      Imagine that, our neighbors in Venezuela makes this as well. How I wish I could hit the beach right now.

      great to have you here Sher.

  110. Chantal
    March 22, 2010 / 2:20 am

    I have never tried this dish with pigeon peas, I have always used lentils but I will experiment with pigion peas

    • admin
      March 26, 2010 / 10:24 am

      To be quite honest Chantal, I’ve never had it with lentils. IS it made the same as I documented here?

      happy cooking


      • Antonette Simpson
        February 17, 2011 / 10:32 pm

        Hi Chris, when I leave comments on the recipe site like this, it always telling me that I have to be approved first. If you are the one to do the approving can you plz do so, many thanks. Chris. I hope that things are improving for you and the girls. Love Antonette.

      • Devika
        February 3, 2013 / 6:08 pm

        Pelau is a meal that can be made with any meats and peas or bean you have. Growing up in Trinidad I have had it with pigeon peas, blackeye, and yellow lentils, pigs tails, pig foot, beef, chicken, shrimp, and even vegetarian. Some people like to put coconut water in their recipes and some don't. Put what you like in it.

  111. snowflakes
    March 14, 2010 / 1:49 pm

    hi, thank you so much for this recipe….what i like about your food blog is that i can try out west indian cooking and know it would come out the way it looks on your blog. i tried the pelau today and it was amazing (i didn’t have brown rice so i used basmati)…my hubby and kids just loved it. i also tried the oxtail stew. excellent. we are east indians and are begining to enjoy west indian food. 🙂

    • admin
      March 14, 2010 / 8:46 pm

      Snowflakes, we owe part of our culinary culture to the Indians that came to the islands as indentured laborers. So you may find many similarities in our dishes. Nice to have you here, trying the recipes and commenting.

      happy cooking


  112. Gemma
    March 4, 2010 / 2:41 pm

    I usually add hot water to my pelau it start the boiling process faster and the rice is not too soggy…but just right.

  113. Jacqui
    February 20, 2010 / 6:05 am

    Re: Pork instead of chicken.
    A good addition when using pork, is a few pieces of pig tail. I was introduced to this by a friend, and tried it. The pig tail gave an added flavor that I found quite tasty.
    Also, having a Chinese father, I find that I use soy sauce (the good dark chinese soy, not Kikoman) in my seasoning. This allows me to eliminate the sugar burning step as the sugar in the soy gives the meat a nice color.

    • admin
      February 21, 2010 / 3:01 pm

      Jacqui, thanks for the wonderful tips. I do remember my mom making pig tail pelau as well. I mainly use chicken or beef, since our daughters will not touch pig tail. I think I love the flavour of the caramelized sugar too much to go the soy way. However I know my aunt used to go that route since my little cousin is diabetic.

  114. Jan
    December 20, 2009 / 10:50 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    I had to make a few changes to accommodate for my limited cupboard supplies and my lack of time to go to the store. So, I replaced fresh tomatoes with 1/2 can of chopped ones, chopped celery instead of cilantro. And, since neither ketchup nor Goldenrod live in our kitchen, I added some extra worcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of soy sauce. I didn’t have any on hand this time, but frozen pigeon peas are a better replacement for the fresh ones than the canned goods I had to settle for.

    Even so, the result was delicious enough for everyone to return for seconds. Imagine the relief on their faces when they noticed there was enough for tomorrow 😉

    Can’t wait to try this recipe with goat, and even with conch, as suggested by Abigail.

    • Student
      December 19, 2013 / 10:12 pm

      Chris, my pot not big like yours! LOL I found out the hard way, but it still tasted great… I was cooking very cautiously to keep water from bubbling over.

  115. October 8, 2009 / 4:22 am

    Re: Petra, funny enough, our daughters call the pigeon peas "beenies" and after they've done eating you can see a pile of "beenies" at the side of their plates. I've also seen my friends mom use the peas and carrots as you mentioned.

    re: Squeezle, yes, fresh chadon beni is a must, but sadly it's difficult to come by where we live. I also recall my great aunt adding some finely chopped "Trini" celery at the very end of cooking. More like a topping and allowing the pot to remain close for a few minutes after she added it. You won't beleive what a great flavour this adds to the dish.

    happy cooking

    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..New Pictures from the Twilight Saga: New Moon, released. =-.

    • Triniboo
      October 17, 2012 / 1:22 pm

      Check the oriental grocery stores for chinese celery. that is the same kind we have in Trinidad. You can also buy the seeds at your local garden store.

  116. October 3, 2009 / 7:50 pm

    I have made pelau dozens of times over the years, experimenting with different recipes and browning methods (white sugar, honey, ketchup, Coca-Cola) and thanks to this recipe, I have finally arrived at pelau Nirvana.

    I’m so ashamed that I never once thought to use light brown sugar, even though that was what my grandmother used. That was just the extra touch I needed to make this dish shine. I added my own little tweaks to the marinade, a bit of fresh chadon beni and a tablespoon of barbecue sauce, but otherwise stayed true to the recipe.

    I can now add pelau to my ‘sweet hand’ file!
    .-= squeezle´s last blog ..Friday Night Wine Down : Vinho Verde =-.

  117. petra
    October 3, 2009 / 6:04 pm

    i don’t like pigeon peas, so whenever i make pelau i only use rice with frozen vegetables and plenty of meat, it goes down well with a cool glass of lime juice sweetened with brown sugar

  118. September 30, 2009 / 6:40 am

    My sincere apologies for the delay in responding Elizabeth..we’re on vacation and I’m only checking sporadically. Happy to know that you figured it out and it turned out well.

    Happy cooking.
    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..How to make green Mango Chutney. =-.

  119. Elizabeth
    September 26, 2009 / 11:20 am

    Nevermind i figured it out. My Pelau came out good :- )

  120. Elizabeth
    September 23, 2009 / 11:42 am

    This may be a dumb question, but when im bringing it back to a boil then covering the pot and allowing it to simmer…should it still be on boil, or is that when i turn the stove off?

  121. Niki
    September 20, 2009 / 5:31 pm

    Hi Chris! I tried your pelau recipe and my pelau came out perfectly! My boyfriend is already asking me when I’m going to make it again. Never in my life did i think that I would be able to make pelau. I am looking forward to trying your other recipes!!
    Thank you!

    • Janetha
      December 29, 2010 / 9:13 pm

      that is a relief to hear that

  122. September 18, 2009 / 8:04 pm


    re: Pork. If you like your pork as tender as I do, allow it to cook for about 40 minutes (slow heat) before adding the rice etc. This way by the time the rice is done cooking, the pork will be tender.

    For a grainy pelau, use a little less water, but cook on a low heat (covered) to ensure that rice cooks through. If you find that you’ve achieve the grainy texture you like, and there’s still liquid remove the lid and the liquid should evaporate.

    Happy Cooking.
    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..Profile of the Fiery Scotch Bonnet Pepper. =-.

  123. jp7464
    September 18, 2009 / 5:04 pm

    Just wondering, if i use pork instead of chicken, how long will it take to cook?
    Plus i like my pelau grainy…how do i achieve this? u can email me at [email protected]. Any help would be greatly appreciated. thank you for ur very informative receipe and the pics definately help alot.

  124. September 2, 2009 / 7:51 am

    Re: Kimberly. When I first moved to Canada I too used white sugar, but I soon found that the colour and taste was not as rich as I was used to. As for the pot, you may be on to something. I use both a heavy “seasoned” pot and a stainless steel one and I do agree that the “seasoned” one does give a better final product.

    BTW, make sure you get the golden brown and not the dark brown sugar.

    Re: Cynthia, Sounds delicious. Lately when I visit my mom She’s been making tomato choka as a side for her pelau. The heat, garlic and rich tomato flavour works great to increase your appetite.

    Happy cooking

    .-= Chris´s last blog ..How to write a letter asking for Corporate Sponsorship. =-.

  125. Kimberly
    August 31, 2009 / 12:01 pm

    I am loving these recipes and its so true how everyone has their own twist to the same recipe. I am used to using white sugar when I’m browning but I do find that it can burn really quick if you are not watching it. I’ve never tried brown sugar, do you find that it makes a darker color or more flavor when you use brown sugar? Also, I have learned that you need a nice seasoned steel pot to really accomplished this. I cannot wait to try it this way with brown sugar.

  126. August 28, 2009 / 9:30 pm

    You make me so hungry with these posts!

    Tomorrow I am making Guyanese cook-up rice with beef, tripe, salted pig-tail with split peas. On the side, I am frying some ripe plantains and steaming some okra. A little cucumber and tomato chow and I am in heaven. Of course some boiled scotch bonnets will be in de pot! (lol)
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..In Love & Mahi Mahi =-.

    • Gillian
      July 2, 2010 / 2:43 pm

      Oh Lord Cynthia, what are you trying to do to me. I want some, Please! My mouth is watering.

  127. August 21, 2009 / 7:09 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful comments to date. @Kimberly.. great to hear that you were successful. Do try some other recipes and leave your thoughts.

    @E’sSential Catering. Start off by using 2/3 the water the recipe calls for. Then add more accordingly if the rice is not fully cooked. The idea is to use only as much water needed to get to the texture you like.

    @Beverley we too in TnT love off on the mauby!..and sorrel when in season.

    Keep commenting people 🙂
    .-= Chris De La Rosa´s last blog ..The Burlington Ribfest, Dubbed Canada’s Largest Ribfest =-.

  128. E'sSential Catering
    August 21, 2009 / 3:19 pm

    I made this dish once (not your recipe) and although it was flavorful and delicious, I was unhappy with how mushy the rice came out. I’ve been afraid to tackle this recipe ever since. Maybe I’ll try it one more time 🙂

    • yasmin grant
      July 17, 2011 / 8:34 pm

      hi how about this i dont eat meat ,but i still make a good this of pelau….

  129. Kimberly
    August 16, 2009 / 5:32 pm

    I made this today. My sisters husband is from Trinidad and she is always talking about the great food. Especially this one. This recipe was crazy easy and soooo good!! Thanks!!

  130. Beverley
    July 18, 2009 / 12:08 pm

    For us in Barbados it is pelau with coleslaw and lettuce. And mauby. That is the thing. Bring it on!!

  131. July 2, 2009 / 3:42 am

    Let me tell you something. What I truly love about pelau is that no two people make it the same. A great compliment to a nice pot of pelau is a water crest salad with an ice cold glass of mauby (or carib if it’s your day off)!

    I’m going to start testing your recipes man!
    [rq=106813,0,blog][/rq]Project: Internet Safety Tips

  132. June 21, 2009 / 9:13 pm

    Very interesting. I’ve only recently heard of the bottled browning and wondered if it was more widely used. Apparently not. The cruise ships do come here quite often now so let me know if you’re stopping. We could cook a pelau on the beach together.

  133. Chris De La Rosa
    June 21, 2009 / 8:56 pm

    Abigail, the only time I’ve ever use it is when the browning process was not successful and I add some of the bottled stuff to give the dish a that nice dark (golden) colour.

    I (and my mom) only use the bottled stuff to add as a last resort. But I’m sure there are many people who will opt for this method to cut back on cooking and prep time.

    I’ve been to many of the wonderful Caribbean islands, but I’ve never had the opportunity to visit BVI. Maybe our next cruise?

  134. June 21, 2009 / 5:15 pm

    I LOVE pelau…and we eat it on the beach here in the BVI too. Pelau with chicken is most common but it’s great with conch too. Do you ever use the ready-made browning in a bottle from Trinidad for this instead of the sugar?

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