Chicken Rice is the Trinidad and Tobago version of rice pilau that Indian indenture workers brought with them to the islands. The special Caribbean touch creates a livelier dish than its chicken and rice cousins like Mexico’s arroz con pollo or Singapore’s Hainanese chicken and rice.
Chicken Pelau – Trinidad and Tobago Chicken and Rice
- Large Dutch oven with cover or large heavy pot
- 6 Chicken thighs, skinless and boneless. Cut into 1-inch chunks.
- 1 tbsp Garlic, minced and divided
- ½ tsp Ginger, grated
- 2 tsp Creole or cajun spice mix
- 1½ tsp Dried thyme
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ tsp Chicken bouillon, cube or powder
- 2 tsp Parsley and or basil, minced
- ½ cup Brown sugar
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 2 tsp Garlic, minced
- ¼ cup Olive or vegetable oil
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tbsp Ketchup
- 2 cups Long grain rice, rinsed until water run clear
- 1 cup Peas, frozen until use
- 3 cups Butternut squash, large cubes
- 14 oz Can of coconut milk
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 3½ cups Chicken broth
- 1 Scotch bonnet or Habanero pepper, whole
- Marinate Chicken – Place chicken in a large plastic freezer bag. Add ¼ tsp creole seasoning or salt, 1 tsp minced garlic, ginger, thyme, pepper, and minced basil. Seal bag and massage spices into chicken pieces. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
- Cook Pelau – Remove chicken from refrigerator and shake off any loose bits. Heat Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat and add sugar. Keep stirring until it caramelizes and turns a deep brown but isn't burned. Immediately add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly to caramelize chicken. Transfer to a bowl, reserving 4 chunks to loosely dice garnish.Stir in onions, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp thyme, oil, bay leaves, and ketchup. Cook for 1 minute. Add rice, squash and peas and stir for another 3 minutes. Add in chicken broth, coconut milk, 2 tsp creole spice (or salt), paprika, and whole peppercorns. Mix everything together, bring to a boil, and then cover and reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves and peppercorns. Transfer to a serving bowl, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle reserved chopped chicken pieces on top. Serve.