Friday, June 1, 2012

Pelau with Coconut Stewed Chicken

Our baby nurse, Merle, is from Trinidad, and has been talking about how flavorful and delicious the dishes from her home country are from the minute she got here. She's a very picky eater and will only eat food that meets her high standards. Most of the time she ends up eating just fruit - and complains that it's not as fresh as home the whole time anyways!

She is leaving us in the next week, so this week she decided to show me how to cook one of her favorite dishes, Pelau with stewed chicken in coconut milk. It was amazing! The flavors were very layered, but there were just a handful of ingredients and a very simple preperation. Brad liked it so much he asked me to make it myself while she is here just so that I can be sure I have the recipe down just right. It had the homey feel of comfort food, but the flavor complexity of a stellar restaurant dish. This one is going straight into my go-to recipe folder and I would definitely recommend you try it.

One of the key ingredients is fresh coconut milk. Merle is an expert coconut cracker and I will show you how she does it in a following post. Stay tuned!

Pelau (coconut rice and pigeon peas)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
12 oz. frozen pigeon peas, rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups rice
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
  • In a large pot heat olive oil and sugar over medium heat, allow sugar to carmelize to medium brown in color.
  • Add peas and stir. 
  • Add garlic, 2 cups coconut milk and 2 cups water. Partially cover and bring to a slow boil, cook for 25 minutes. 
  • Smash garlic with the back of a spoon and incorporate into peas.
  • Add 2 cups of rice, 1/2 tsp salt. 1 tsp parsley, and an additional 2-3 cups of water.
  • Cook until rice is done (about 30 minutes, longer for brown rice).
  • Add salt to taste.
Coconut Stewed Chicken
2 lbs bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1/2 lemon
A couple sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pink pepper (or a scant amount of black pepper)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, miced
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1/2 - 1 cup coconut milk
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1-2 pimento peppers, finely chopped
1 T ketchup
  • Wash chicken in water with juice from lemon.
  • Marinate the chicken with the thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger for at least an hour, but longer is preferred. 
  • In a large pot heat olive oil and sugar over medium heat. Stir.
  • Once hot and sugar has begun to darken add chicken and turn to coat. Cook for about 8 minutes, turning periodically.
  • Add 1/2 cup coconut milk or enough to cover.
  • Lower heat to medium low and partially cover, bring to a boil and cook 30 minutes.
  • Add carrots and peppers and bring to a boil again. Add ketchup.
  • Cook until carrots soften.
  • Add salt to sauce if desired.
  • Serve with sauce and alongside Pelau.


  1. YAY! I am so glad you are back:)

  2. I've never heard of this dish! The flavor combinations sound wonderful.