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Barbados Week: TriniBajan Pelau (West Indian Pelau, Coconut Chutney)- Recipes

November 24, 2010

 

 

Today we will have no fun facts because  I am really tired but tomorrow and Friday they will be some more Barbados facts. Not sure what my camera is doing today but something is up with my photos…you win some you lose some! Today I am being very very kind I never do the kind thing but I will share 2 recipes fro Caribbean Vegan.

 

Trini Bajan Pelau

West Indian Pelau Copyright Taymer Mason

So I was talking to a popular Trini blogger a few days ago and I told her I was told by another Trinidadian that  pelau does “pull good” meaning it taste good with Trinidadian Coconut Chutney. She was unaware of  adding this smoky pepper nutty chutney onto one the best  rice dishes  in the Caribbean and I was surprised she did not know about this mix. Anyways, the reason why I called this dish TriniBajan Pelau is that today I added some pigeon peas to my Pelau which is not Barbadian at all and I served my pelau with coconut chutney which is a Trinidadian condiment. Pelau is very flavourful and is not a side but a one pot main course.

 

Here is the recipe for Coconut Chutney which is fire roasted coconut pieces grated finely and mixed with cilantro,hot peppers and garlic into one of the most tasty condiments…If you do not have a gas stove or something like a fire place or bbq grill with a direct flame it is pointless to try this. The coconut flesh has to be charred to bring our a flavour that is nutty, rich and smoky and if you do not do this step it will not taste like coconut chutney. Here is MY VERSION..COUGH…Taymer’s Version of Coconut Chutney!

Coconut Chutney Copyright Taymer Mason from Caribbean Vegan Nov 1 2010

Flesh of ½ coconut, in large pieces
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
5 large garlic cloves
1½ cups (375 ml) water
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1¼ teaspoons salt
Using tongs, roast the coconut over an open flame until black and charred. Cool the
coconut.
Once the coconut is cool enough to handle, scrape off a bit the charred outer layer.
Finely grate the coconut, then put it in a food processor. Add the cilantro, Scotch bonnet,
garlic, water, lime juice, and salt and process until fairly smooth.
Transfer the chutney to a clean jar, seal, and refrigerate. It will keep for as long as 2
weeks in the fridge.
Island Tip
The coconut absorbs a lot of water, so if you store the chutney
for a while, you may need to add a little water. You can leave
on the thin brown skin on the coconut for this recipe. It won’t
affect the taste or the texture.

Pelau

West Indian Pelau with Coconut Chutney and Pepper Sauce Copyright Taymer Mason

This is a popular Caribbean one pot meal.Trindadians  make an excellent version of this using  peas,coconut milk and one or several protein sources.In Barbados we make it with many different vegetables and never  with peas. The colour preference of this dish is something that always sparks convo. Some like their pelau very dark almost black and some like it very pale light brown. I like  mine in between. How do I get this dark colour? Colouring or browning gives this dish its dark appearance.Browning can be easily made at home. Here is how you do it.

Browning Making

Browning is a natural colouring agent that is used in West Indian cuisine. We use it to colour of stews and protein  and some rice dishes as you can see here and, also to add more colour and depth to things like chocolate cakes or fruit cakes called black cakes. It is not anything to taste.!!!! It is not a dessert its a food colour made by the burning of sugar and that is it.

browning comp

Here is a recipe from my book Caribbean Vegan to make your own browning at home. Feel free to bottle it and store at room temperature. It last for a very long time

Caribbean Caramel (Browning) Copyright Taymer Mason from Caribbean Vegan Nov 1  2010

2 cups (400 g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
¾ cup (188 ml) cold water
2 tablespoons hot water
Put the sugar and the 1 tablespoon of water in a heavy skillet and spread out the
sugar. Cook over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sugar goes from
light brown to dark brown. Immediately add the ¾ cup cold water and cook, stirring
constantly, for about five to seven minutes, or until the mixture gets thick and dark
brown. Turn off the heat and stir in the hot water.
Cool to room temperature, then store in a glass bottle or jar with a lid. Store at room
temperature. This should keep up to 6 months
° Island Tip
A little goes a long way. Be sure not to use too much, as it can
give foods a bitter flavor.

Using Browning to Colour Protein

Turn on your extractor fan and probably put a towel on your fire alarm. Heat up aa heavy bottom saucepan. Add two tbs of brown sugar to the dry pot and heat it until the colour goes from light brown to dark brown almost black. Immediately add your protein or rice to this black sticky matter and make sure the colour coats whatever you want coloured.Do not touch the browning even if it looks harmless it would stick to your fingers and give you a burn you will always remember. I used browning to colour my sweet potatoes in the pudding post brown.You must be careful with Browning as if too much of it is used it will make your dish bitter so when I post recipes with browning I will say how much of it to use. I also like to add colour with molasses.I spoke about browning in a previous post but there are some commercial brownings available in Barbados and the Caribbean. Make use of your West Indian groceries if you have them around and ask questions. I know in NY there are a gazillion West Indian grocery stores. They usually have Caribbean flags displayed on the outside of the store. Here is how a store bought browning looks.

Commercial Browning

So what pelau is a one pot cooked up seasoned rice with vegetables and a protein source, a balanced meal. Something you can just make a big ole pot of and serve salad on the side. I guess you are starting to realise that rice is just not some tasteless side that you take a few bites of. Rice sometimes is the star of the meal. The pelau tends not to be as dry as the other rice dishes I have done. It is slightly sticky from the sauce that the rice is cooked in.

Until tomorrow…as usually the post will be late due to me having more of a life this week!

Tay

 

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2010 3:07 pm

    Your pelau colour just rings as perfection to me :D Can’t wait to try the Coconut Chutney recipe as well :) Wonder if the combo originated as an Indo-African Trini fusion regional thing and spread :) I grew up in mountain bush lol!

  2. November 24, 2010 3:25 pm

    this looks awesome and THANK YOU for sharing the browning sauce. when i lived in the united states I couldn’t find it anywhere—I can find it in the bottles here in St. Maarten–but I am glad that when I return to the US in a year that I will be able to make it myself!!

  3. November 24, 2010 3:30 pm

    ah, the coconut chutney and pelau :-) which I fully endorse! The one my mother makes is a little drier and not as blended, so in texture it can be a bit more like kuchela (another natural pelau accompaniment) and provides a nice contrast to soft pelau.
    as for the pelau, I like dark – yours looks delicious!

    • Taymer permalink*
      November 24, 2010 3:41 pm

      ok I will make mine drier next time I usually do but I thought I was doing it wrong for some reason since when I went to TNT they did not have any example to show me. Thanks for the correction I will go back to making it drier.

      • November 24, 2010 5:53 pm

        the chutney you made is great – don’t worry – and would go perfectly with doubles for example and curries. I just think it’s a matter of personal preference, you might end up prefering yours this way :)

  4. November 24, 2010 3:47 pm

    That chutney sounds delicious! I saw your book in Borders the other day, and it’s definitely on my “to buy very soon” list!

  5. November 24, 2010 5:07 pm

    Looks So good, Taymer! I cannot wait until MoFo is over so I can start cooking from your book :D

  6. November 24, 2010 5:46 pm

    I’m a fan of anything involving coconut. I bet that chutney is crazy awesome!!

  7. November 25, 2010 12:55 pm

    These look so good. I think your book will be put on my Christmas wishlist! ;)

  8. Val permalink
    December 26, 2010 9:35 am

    I disagree with your comment that Bajans do NOT put pigeon peas in Pelau…. I do not know where you have eaten Pelau in Bim, but I was born and raised there… and YES, we DO most certainly put pigeon peas in Pelau! However, we have ANOTHER dish called “Chicken Down In Rice” that we make, which does not have the peas…. maybe you are confusing that dish with what you thought was Pelau!

    • Taymer permalink*
      December 26, 2010 10:45 am

      Dear Val I have never seen pigeon peas in Pelau and that is my experience and I lived in Barbados for 26 years ” I was born and raised there as you were!!!!. There is room to disagree and it stimulates conversation and exchanging of ideas and I welcome this on my blog. I have eaten pelau all my life and while I think that some people can put peas in it it is not common and I have not seen in. This is a vegan blog and therefore I am making extra provisions for protein and there is cut up chicken in the rice but vegan. The recipe was not printed an you do not know the execution so please dont jump to conclusions. I assume you just landed on this post and did not even look at the overall site or you would not be professing that you are Bajan and I am something else which angered me. There are chicken strips in my pelau and I added the peas from extra nutritional value.The Trini pelau is made with pigeon peas, meat and coconut milk but I am postive that in Barbados we do not use coconut milk as the boiling liquid.After your little rant I asked 20 people. Eating around Barbados for all my life I have yet to see pigeon peas in the dish your fellow Bajans call pelau. Please educate yourself like I did before you come spewing your thoughts on this blog I fact check before I say things I may not be familiar with.

  9. Val permalink
    December 26, 2010 9:37 am

    Oh, and the ‘regular’ Pelau also has cut up chicken in it (I realize this is a vegan version).

  10. February 14, 2014 10:46 am

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