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MISC Pelau.jpg
Chicken pelau
Type Rice dish
Course Main
Place of origin Trinidad and Tobago
Associated national cuisine Trinidad and Tobago cuisine
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Rice
Ingredients generally used Meat
Cookbook: Pelau  Media: Pelau

Pelau is a traditional rice dish of the Trinidadian cuisine.

Main ingredients are meat (usually chicken, beef or goat, on Tobago crab meat is common as well),[1] rice, pigeon peas or cowpeas, coconut milk and sugar; various vegetables and spices are optional ingredients. Spices used in the dish include cardamom, cloves, cumin and coriander.[2] The meat is caramelised and the other ingredients are then added one by one, resulting in a dark brown stew. An alternative preparation method is to sauté the meat, precook the rice, prepare the dish and bake it in the oven.[3] Side dishes are optional; kuchela is a typical one.

Pelau shares its origins with pilaf, a rice dish from Central Asia and the Middle east. The preparation method was brought to Trinidad by Indian indentured workers after the abolishment of slavery in 1834. The caramelisation of the meat goes back to African preparation traditions.[4] Over the course of time, the basic method of preparing pilaf, the caramelisation of meat and influences of the Trinidadian cuisine (especially with regards to available ingredients) mingled into today's pelau.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ganeshram, Ramin (2012). Sweet Hands. Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago. New York: Hippocrene Books. p. 134. ISBN 0-7818-1125-2. 
  2. ^ Dainty Dishes for Indian Tables ... W. Newman & Company. 1881. pp. 159–161. Retrieved 2017-08-09. 
  3. ^ The Multi-Cultural Cuisine of Trinidad & Tobago. Naparima Girls' High School Cookbook. San Fernando: Naparima Girls' High School. 2002. p. 150. ISBN 976-8173-65-3. 
  4. ^ DeWitt, Dave and Wilan, Mary Jane (1993). Callaloo, Calypso & Carnival. The Cuisines of Trinidad & Tobago. Freedom: Crossing Press. p. 60. ISBN 0895946394. 

Further reading[edit]

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