Trini Pelau Chicken Recipe: Quick and Easy Caribbean Recipes

trini pelau


Trini Pealu is one of those quick and easy Caribbean recipes that brings forth the flavor of the Caribbean.  Trini Pelau is an iconic Caribbean dish, from Trinidad, and is made with pigeon peas (gandules), meat and coconut milk.   It has been described as a Trinidadan version of Pilaf, but it is much more than that. It is a one-pot dish, so perfect for those busy weekday nights!  Or prepare over the weekend, and serve through the week!


  • 3 lbs. of chicken thighs and or drumsticks, cut up into large pieces
  • 2 Tbsp green seasoning
  • 2 tsp grated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp cane sugar (substitute with brown sugar)
  • 2 cups rice, washed and drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers
  • 1 cup diced carrots (optional)
  • 2 cups pigeon peas canned
  • 2 cups fresh coconut milk (dilute milk with water if using canned coconut milk)
  • 2 cups cooking liquid (stock, water or reserved cooking liquid from peas)
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (white and green parts)


  1. Create a marinade from the green seasoning, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and kitchen and soak the chicken in it.  Allow to marinate for at least one hour (overnight is good).
  2. Pour oil into a large pot and place on medium high heat. Let oil heat until hot but not smoking.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar into the oil in an even layer.  When the sugar begins to froth and bubble add the chicken and stir so that the burnt sugar coats the chicken.  ** This is key to the success of this dish.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pot, stir to mix and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add peas, pepper and carrots (if using) and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Pour in coconut milk and other cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add peppers if you are using. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  8. When the pot comes to a boil, remove lid partially and let boil until you can see the surface of the dish – the rice, peas and chicken (about 7 – 8 minutes). Cover pot fully, reduce heat to low or simmer and let cook for 25 – 30 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.

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