Trinidad Chicken Pelau

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Last Updated on May 20, 2020 by Chef Mireille

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Pelau is one of the Caribbean dishes that has its roots from the Indians who came to the Caribbean, as indentured servants.  Like most Indian dishes from the Caribbean, it has adapted and changed because of the ingredients we have in the Caribbean, that are not necessarily used in India.

Specialty Ingredients

While there are different versions, the most common pelau is Chicken Pelau.  This recipe includes some ingredients unique to the Caribbean (now available in New York and any major city that has Caribbean populations).

  • Green Seasoning

Green Seasoning is a mix of green herbs, usually chives, parsley, thyme, scallion, cilantro, culantro as well as garlic and onion.  It is mixed with a preserving acidic liquid like lime juice or vinegar.  This is a very common ingredient and is an all-purpose seasoning used in most Caribbean cooking.

  • Browning

Browning is made by frying brown sugar slow and long, until it is black.  This is used in many meat dishes, as well as our black cake (Caribbean fruit cake) to give the food color and a little sweetness.  This is why our stew dishes always taste a little sweet.

  • Shadoe Beny

Shadoe Beny aka culantro is a green herb, similar to the flavor of cilantro.  It has a very strong flavor and aroma, even more potent that cilantro.

  • Hot Sauce

Caribbean hot sauce is not as acidic as most American or Asian hot sauces, like Sriracha.  It is milder and has a more fluid taste.  Usually the hot peppers are blended with onion, garlic, herbs and a fruit like mango or papaya.  The fruit has a balancing effect so the sauce is not so acerbic.

Ingredients for Chicken Pelau

  • chicken thighs
  • lime juice
  • Green Seasoning
  • Caribbean Hot Sauce
  • oil
  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • pigeon peas
  • rice
  • coconut milk
  • mixed frozen vegetables
  • Scotch Bonnet pepper
  • thyme
  • shadoe beny
  • salt

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How to make Trinidadian Chicken Pelau.

  • Marinate chicken with green seasoning and lime juice.
  • Saute onions, ginger, bell pepper and garlic.
  • Brown the chicken.
  • Add browning, thyme, pigeon peas and Scotch Bonnet.
  • Add coconut milk, water, salt and vegetables.
  • Cook for about 40 minutes, until rice is cooked.
  • Add shadoe beny.
  • Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.  

The perfect one pot meal!

As many of my readers know, I used to work at a nursery school and this was the kids’ absolute favorite meal.  Of course, for them I made it without the hot sauce and the hot pepper.  On the days I made this, even the pickiest kids’ plates always came back clean.  It is a nutritious, balanced meal that is an absolute kid pleaser!

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Trinidadian Chicken Pelau

Caribbean Chicken Pelau is the perfect one pot dish of chicken, rice and vegetables, with a spicy kick. Sweet, Spicy and herbaceous!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 542kcal


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Green Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Caribbean Hot Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pigeon peas canned or frozen can also be used
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb. package of mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1/2 Scotch Bonnet pepper
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bunch shadoe beny finely chopped
  • salt to taste


  • Combine chicken, lime juice, Green Seasoning and Hot Sauce in a bowl and toss to combine.
  • Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and saute onions, ginger, bell pepper and garlic.
  • Add the other tablespoon of the oil. Add chicken and brown a little. Add browning, thyme, pigeon peas and Scotch Bonnet and stir to combine.
  • Add coconut milk, water, salt and vegetables. Bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce to a simmer.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes, until rice is cooked.
  • Remove thyme branch and Scotch Bonnet before serving. Add shadoe beny and stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.


Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!

Now I know you want to try some more Caribbean food! Check out my collection with over 100 Caribbean Recipes from the Caribbean diaspora!

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