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Trinidad and Tobago can cook!

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dumplings from the twin islands.
Trinidadian pelau. - Contributed photos
Fried bake and fish.

The Trinidad and Tobago community in Jamaica, converged on Cuddyz Sports Bar & Restaurant in New Kingston late last month for 'Trinidad and Tobago Can Cook'. The event was hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Jamaica Association, the high commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Students' Association (University of the West Indies and University of Technology).

The culinary feast featured authentic Trinidad and Tobago cuisine. It was some of the favourites of the twin islands, which included crab and callaloo with dumplings and ground provisions, curried crab, pelau, macaroni pie, curried goat and chicken with roti; pastelles, coconut bake and sweetbread. Here is one of the recipes for you to try and enjoy a dish from one of our neighbours.


This Trinidadian stew can be made with virtually any meat. The distinct flavour comes out in the process of searing the meat in caramelising sugar. The process gives the pelau its dark brown color—a sure sign of a good pelau.

The brown layer that forms on the bottom of the pot is called 'bun-bun', and for some people, it's their favourite part of this meal.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


3tbsp vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar (white or brown)

1 chicken, cut up (about 21/2 to 3 pounds), or substitute goat meat or beef

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

11/2 cup pigeon peas, soaked overnight, or substitute with black-eyed peas

2 cups rice (do not use instant rice)

3 cups water

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups cubed fresh hubbard squash

2 carrots, chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1tsp dried thyme

1 bunch scallions or green onion, chopped including the greens

1/4 cup ketchup

3tbsp butter


1. Heat the oil in a heavy pot or skillet. With the heat on high, add the sugar and let it caramelise until it is almost burned, stirring constantly.

2. Add the chicken (or whatever meat you choose) and stir until all the pieces are covered with the sugar.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly for one minute.

4. Drain the pigeon peas and add them to the pot along with the rice, water, and coconut milk.

5. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

6. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. The pelau should be moist.

Recipes by Dave DeWitt and Mary Jane WilanWebsite: http://www.fiery-foods.com/dave/