MMM…Pelau! One of my favorite dishes ever. It’s so simple yet so flavorful. It’s the perfect dish to make when you’re in a rush because you’re literally dumping everything into one pot, clean up is easy and nothing beats a hot, sappy pelau!
Pelau reminds me of when I was younger and my family would go to the beach every single Sunday. Yes, EVERY Sunday. My uncle would load up his space wagon and it was a grand affair. We had our little green folding table with the chairs and when we came out of the water with our belly in our hands, a hot plate of pelau would be waiting on us. How they managed to keep it that hot is still a mystery to me.
Oh gosh, the hot pelau with the cold cole slaw and potato salad and a cold Apple J. That’s it right there. Life was complete. Pelau has many happy memories for me.
I’ve had the luxury of trying many different people’s pelau. I’ve had some not so good ones, some average ones and some amazing ones! What baffles me is that most people’s recipe is the same yet the taste is so vastly different. You know how they say ‘iz the hand that cook it’? I totally believe this is true for pelau. I’ve asked some of my aunts how they each make pelau and I’ve asked my mom.
After experimenting, I think I’ve come up with my own version.
I know self praise is no praise, but give me one second to toot my own horn… IZ LASH!
- 1 lb of chicken, I use the pelau pack from the grocery
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (that’s a hard word to spell)
- 1Tbsp soya sauce
- 1 head of garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 bundle chive, minced
- 1 bundle shadon beni, minced
- 2 leaves Spanish Thyme, minced
- 1 leaf Pudina, minced
- 5 sprigs fine leaf thyme
- 1 celery, minced
- 2 pimentos
- 1/2 cup pumpkin, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 tin green pigeon peas
- 1 tin whole kernel corn, optional
- 2 cups rice
- 1 packet coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 2 Tbsp Golden Ray margarine
- 2 cups water
- 1 hot pepper
- salt to taste
- Clean and wash chicken. Season chicken using green seasoning (Post on seasoning chicken to come)
- Add 1Tbsp ketchup, soya sauce and Worcestershire sauce to chicken and let marinate for one hour.
- Prepare all ingredients. If you have a food processor, this comes in handy here.
- Heat oil and add brown sugar. Stir continuously to prevent sugar from sticking.
- Wait for sugar to caramelize. The sugar becomes clumpy before it turns into liquid.
- Add chicken and coat with caramelized sugar. Allow to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. I like to add the hot pepper at this point.
- Add onion, garlic, shadon beni, chive, Spanish thyme, fine thyme, pimento, pudina, celery and pumpkin.
- Stir well.
- Add rice, carrots, pigeon peas, corn, coconut milk powder and 1Tbsp ketchup.
- Add 2 cups of water and cover.
- Allow to simmer until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally.
- On low heat, add salt and golden ray when rice is cooked.
- Allow to dry down to your heart’s content, if you like sappy pelau like me, remove pot from heat before mixture is completely dry.
Note: If your pelau is ‘white’ when the rice has boiled, add 1 Tbsp soya sauce.
And voila! You now have yourself some piping hot delicious pelau! Serve with cole slaw or potato salad, or BOTH!