By Fran Lane

Good eats in The Nite Lite Kitchen this week! Check out this tasty Trinidad pelau dish. Yummo!
I love the food of Trinidad. My husband adapted this recipe from “Sweet Hands~ Island Cooking From Trinidad &Tobago” by Ramin Ganeshram. This pelau with chicken recipe draws from Indian, English, and African traditions and can be made with beef or lamb just as well. Enjoy.

1rp1 The Nite Lite Kitchen~

1 (12-ounce) can pigeon peas, pinto beans, or black-eyed peas / 2 cups long-grain rice / 3 tablespoons canola oil / 3/4 cup sugar (white or brown) / 1 (3-pound ) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed / 1 small onion, chopped / 1 clove garlic, minced / 1 cup coconut milk / 1 bay leaf / 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro and chives / 1/2 cup chopped parsley / 1 sprig thyme / 2 carrots, peeled and chopped / 5 scallions, chopped (white and green parts) / 2 cups cubed calabaza or butternut squash / 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper / 1/2 cup ketchup / 1 tablespoon butter

Drain can of pigeon peas, pinto beans, or black eyed peas, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside. Wash the rice by placing in a colander or fine-mesh sieve and running cold water over it until the water runs clear. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy, deep pot. Add the sugar and swirl in the pot, stirring constantly; allow it to caramelize to a dark brown color. Add the chicken and stir well to coat. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 2 cups of water, the coconut milk, bay leaf, cilantro and chives, parsley, thyme, carrots, and scallions. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Stir the rice, squash, peas, hot pepper, ketchup, and butter into the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the peas and vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and fluff the rice. The rice should be moist but not sticky. Serves 6


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