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The Caribbean Kitchen - Recipe 023

023 - Carnival Chicken Pelau

By Michael Smith
added 29 April 2003




Caribbean Chicken Pelau and Cole Slaw

Courtesy of: Chef At Large,
Episode: Toronto Carnival
Host: Michael Smith

© Chef Michael Smith

Chef Sheila Joseph of Separate Tables Catering and her family really know how have great times while they cook together! After we spent a few days cooking for Toronto’s International Carnival, Caribana, we celebrated with a back yard party at the Joseph’s house.

Sheila made this authentic Trinidadian Pelau with her favourite Cole Slaw, says “Just like Trinidad and Tobago are two separate islands but make one great country, Caribbean Pelau and Cole Slaw make one great dish…”

She was so right!

Preparation: 30 minutes
Marinate: Overnight (or about 6 hours)
Cooking: 30 to 45 minutes
To serve: 6 West Indians (or 10 - 12 north americans!!)
Timing Hints: The meats will need to marinate overnight. The Pelau only takes half an hour to make once you get started. The cole slaw can be made a day in advance.

Equipment Hints: This is a classic one-pot dish from a cuisine where many families only have one pot. Use your heaviest, thickest bottom pot or skillet for best results.


For the Pelau

2 stalks green onion
3 x cloves of garlic
1 x knob ginger, peeled and chopped
1 lb. boneless chicken cut into bite size pieces
1 lb. stewing beef cut into bite size pieces
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups rice
2 cups frozen green peas
4 cups chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 cup finely diced onions
2 tbsp dark soy sauce

1/4 cup diced carrots
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

For the Cole Slaw

1 cup whipped salad dressing
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
4 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits
1/2 firm ripe mango, julienned
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley


For the Pelau

Process the green onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor, high speed blender, or with an immersion blender until pureed. Mix with the beef and chicken and let rest for at least six hours (or overnight).

Remove the meat from the marinade and brown with the vegetable oil in the pot. Its best to do small batches of meat and oil so the pot isn’t overwhelmed. Reserve each batch as you go along and when all the meat is done pour off the oil. Return all the meat to the pot for the next step…

Add the rice, green peas, carrots, thyme and onions to the pot and sauté over a medium heat for several minutes. Add the chicken stock and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for twenty minutes until the rice is done. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately!

For the Cole Slaw

In a large bowl whisk the salad dressing, sugar, salt and pepper together until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

SplatterFlinger's suggestions:

Using chicken pieces with bones left in will add flavour, but tends to make it finger food.

Chicken pieces pre-cleaned of bones and cartilage add convenience for that more "sophisticated" setting where ladies may be involved.

Health-conscious individuals may also want to remove the skin from the chicken before cooking - another decision about whether to enhance the flavour or to remove the cholesterol.

This is an excellent all-in-one dish for making in quantity, portioning out and freezing for the convenience of future snacks or meals.


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