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MISC Pelau.jpg
Chicken pelau
TypeRice dish
Place of originFrench West Indies
Associated national cuisineCaribbean
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsRice
Ingredients generally usedMeat

Pelau is a traditional rice dish of the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Lucia) and popularized in other islands such as Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Main ingredients are meat (usually chicken or beef,[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; Coleslaw is a typical one.

Pelau shares its origins with pilaf, a rice dish from Central Asia and the Middle east and Spain, with their original version of their dish, Paella. Pelau is a Creole dish. When the island was under Spanish colonial rule, their version of Paella was passed down to the slaves who transformed the dish. 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.

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