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