Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (2024)

Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (1)

Pelau is considered one of our most authentic traditional dishes in Dominica. It consists of rice, peas or beans, some vegetables, and various parts of the chicken. Some people use the back and the neck, others use the wings, drumstick, and thighs. I prefer to use the thigh cut into pieces, as it offers a tender and meaty texture.

During my childhood, pelau was one of those meals that would always bring a smile on my face. It was often used during community events like koolmen

Traditional Dominican pelau often includes lentils, but I also like to add pigeon peas and kidney/red beans. A variety of beans add a wonderful flavor and helps create a very healthy colorful dish.

This one-pot dish is usually eaten with coleslaw and washed down with a cold glass of juice, preferably lime squash (lemonade).
Today, I’ll share with you my pelau recipe that I inherited from my late mother.

Dominica pelau recipe

Easy Pelau recipe: how to prepare Dominican pelau

5 from 3 votes

Print Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 50 minutes mins


  • Pot or skillet


  • 3 lbs chicken thighs chopped into pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups Rice I use Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Lemon/lime
  • 1 tbsp Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 3 tbsp Turmeric
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 5 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/4 cups Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 3 bunch Parsley chopped
  • 6 Sprig Thyme
  • 5 cups Water
  • 2 Seasoning peppers chopped
  • 1/4 Small cabbage chopped
  • 2 cups Kidney beans cooked You can use canned kidney beans
  • 2 cups Lentils cooked You can use canned lentils it should be grainy
  • 1 Large carrot sliced into large chunks
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Butter


  • Wash chicken with lemon or lime.

  • Then season with the garlic, paprika, turmeric, salt, black pepper.

  • Heat a medium to large sized pot over medium heat.

  • Once heated, then add oil.

  • When the oil gets very hot, then you add sugar to the pot.

  • Use a wooden spoon to stir sugar for even heat. When all the sugar turns dark brown and starts the caramelizing process, then pour the seasoned chicken into the pot.

  • Stir the chicken continuously to create a uniform coverage.

  • Cover and let it simmer for a few minutes.

  • Once the chicken is brown and have simmered, you can mix all the other ingredients.

  • Cover the pot and let it simmer under very low heat, for 50 minutes or until it comes to the preferred reduction level and the right consistency.

  • Enjoy with your favorite salad.



  • If you don’t want to burn sugar, you can use browning.
  • Also, tomato paste is a better option than ketchup, as the sugar content in the ketchup may cause it to burn if it’s placed on high heat.
  • Use canned beans if you don’t mind canned foods. I use organic beans since cooking beans usually take a while.
  • You can substitute butter for cream of coconut or coconut milk.
  • It’s very important that you use low heat to cook your pelau so that it doesn’t burn or dry up too quickly. You want it to take it all the moisture and cook through steam.

Keyword back and neck, Pelau, rice

Reader Interactions

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  1. Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (6)Stewart Raphael says

    Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (7)
    I had the fantastic opportunity to enjoy this dish, prepared according to the recipe.


  2. Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (8)Rosman White-Rossi says

    Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (9)
    I’ve tried the Pelau but added coconut milk to the mix and used canned beans as you suggested and it turned out so good.


    • Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (10)admin says

      Rosman, yes, it does taste good. It also makes it very moist as well. 🙂


  3. Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (11)Lila says

    Do you use boneless thighs then cut then in half?


    • Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (12)admin says

      Hi Lila, I use all dark parts of the chicken. The boneless thighs are easier to use, but if you’re up to it, you can use the thighs and drumsticks with the bones all cut in half. The most authentic Dominican way to create pelau is to use back and neck 🙂


      • Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (13)Chelsi says

        Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (14)
        That’s exactly what I’ll be cooking today. Back and neck in addition to chopped thigh pieces. Nothing compares to the flavor of the famous back and neck. Thank you for sharing!


        • Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (15)admin says

          Hi Chelsi!

          Thanks for your feedback. You’re right, nothing compares to the flavor.



  1. […] some of the many foods that help define us and our creole culture: callaloo, souse, titiwi accra, pelau, bakes, pumpkin soup, cassava, dumbway pois and vwan coushon, braff, tonton roasted breadfruit, […]


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Dominican Pelau Recipe - Dominica Gourmet (2024)


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