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Pam's Chicken Pelau

Pelau is a form of West Indian comfort food. It is most often made with chicken and rice, and is the PERFECT one pot meal.

Each island has its own version. Here in Antigua we call it “seasoned rice”. This particular recipe is my mother’s version of Pelau. My mother’s name is Pam, thus the reason for the name of the recipe.

This version of Pelau has influences from Trinidad where my mother and father lived when my father was attending University. Later, when I was growing up in Monstserrat, my mother would make pelau every Sunday morning along with homemade cole slaw and chocolate cake. This was our Sunday lunch at the beach. What a life! I was definitely spoiled.


  • 3 Lbs chicken thighs, bone in cut in half

  • ¼ Cup green seasoning

  • A pinch of Salt

  • A touch of Black pepper

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (enough to coat the bottom of your skillet)

  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 Cups rice, washed

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • ½ Cup minced season pepper (bell pepper will do)

  • 2 Sprigs of thyme

  • 1 ½ Cups kidney beans, cooked

  • 2 Cups coconut milk

  • 2 Cups chicken broth or water


Generously season the chicken with green seasoning, salt and pepper.  Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil, add the sugar and allow it to bubble and froth, but not burn.  We want the sugar to caramelize.  This should take about 2-3 minutes.  In batches, brown the chicken in the caramelized sugar, making sure the chicken is well coated by the browned sugar.  Reserve the marinade for later.

After all the chicken pieces have been browned, return all the pieces to the pot, cover and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat.  Add the reserved marinade, onions and season peppers and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the rice, stir the rice into the chicken mixture, making sure everything is coated, and nothing is stuck.  Next, add the beans, thyme and coconut milk.  Again, stir the pot making sure everything is coated and nothing gets stuck.

Finally, add the water or chicken stock (your choice).  Bring everything to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.  This should take about 25 minutes.

When everything is done, sit down and enjoy (or package it up and take it the beach!).

Makes about 4-6 servings.

Tell Us What You Think!

We like feedback. Let us know what you think about my mother’s Chicken Pelau recipe. And, if you’re really adventurous, please post photos on our Facebook Page or on Instagram. Finally, if you want a little extra fun, try a few of these recipes with the Pelau: West Indian Pumpkin Soup, Festival, Montserrat Mini Lime Tarts, and, of course, my Old Fashioned Rum Punch.

If this recipe really makes your mouth water, why don’t you come for cooking classes in Antigua. Come for one class or a series of classes and you can even stay in our BnB.


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