Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2014 Contents A33
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Carnival is just under a
month away and visitors
and family are arriving
from many different countries to
One common thread for visitors
is food---local and lots of it. We all
know the minute they touch down
at Piarco, they go in search of doubles.
It s like a religion. Then they get corn
soup after feting. Some early morning
pilgrimages are made to Debe to
indulge in Indian delicacies, now they
are serving saheena with channa.
On hot, balmy days, they head to
Maracas, sans food, because it s really
the shark and bake they get up there
for as the sun, sea and sand are sec-
ondary. This goes on like a ritual until
Then it s on the road Monday and
Tuesday. For the non-masqueraders,
it s still a great party; the car trunks
are packed with food and drink as
they head to various spots around
the country to camp out for the day.
Meeting old friends and family, taking
a walk to see the bands passing. At
lunchtime, the car trunks become a
buffet table, with the ubiquitous pelau
and salad to accompany with pepper
sauce to garnish.
But all pelaus are not created equal.
A good pelau should be moist without
being soggy, richly coloured without
being bitter and over-populated with
tender pigeon peas. There must be
a good flavor dimension coming from
an appropriate use of fresh herbs and
A well-cooked, non-soggy pelau
not only comes from using parboiled
rice but from using the right pot.
A deep saucepan will result in a
soggy pelau, so use a wider pot with
curved sides and a tight fitting lid.
Frozen pigeon peas are my choice if
fresh are not available, they taste
great and become tender and deli-
cious when cooked.
Fresh garlic and minced fresh herbs
are the foundation for your marinade
for the meat. Chicken is a good
choice, as it cooks faster and is
enjoyed by most. A little chopped
pumpkin will bring moistness to your
dish and a subtle flavour as well.
Fresh coconut milk or a good quality
coconut milk powder will give your
pelau amazing flavor and add a
delightful texture to your rice. To
boost the overall flavour of the dish,
some chopped fresh French thyme
is the trick.
Hot pepper is not always necessary,
as you will always find your guests
reaching for the bottle of pepper
sauce to garnish their pelau anyway.
So wipe out your pot, sharpen your
knives and get cooking! This carnival
if nothing else is impressive your
pelau certainly will be.
1 3 1/2 lb chicken, cut into
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
2 pimento peppers, seeded and
2 tbsps green seasoning paste
1 tbsp chopped celery leaves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh french thyme
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps veg oil
2 tbsps brown sugar
2 cups pigeon peas
1/2 cup chopped pumpkin
2 cups parboiled rice
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
Wash chicken well with lime,
Rub on garlic, herb marinade,
add fresh herbs, sliced onion
and pepper, vinegar, black
pepper and some salt, and
ketchup cover and marinate for
about two hours in the
If using frozen peas, cover with
water and boil for 10 minutes
Heat oil in a sauté pan, add
sugar and caramelise to a dark
brown colour, once foamy and
dark brown, add chicken pieces
one at a time turning well to
colour each piece, add the rest
Cook uncovered until chicken
starts to release its juices,
about five minutes.
Add pigeon peas and pumpkin,
stir. Lower heat and cook for
about 10 minutes, covered.
Add rice and stir well. Add
coconut milk and water.
Cover and simmer until cooked,
about 20 to 30 minutes turning
Adjust salt and serve.
A good pelau should be moist without being
soggy, richly coloured without being bitter
and over-populated with tender pigeon peas.
Six members of Russian
punk rock collective Pussy Riot
have signed an open letter
insisting Maria Alyokhina and
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova not
be billed as members.
It said the two had forgotten
about the "aspirations and ideals
of our group."
The pair performed alongside
Madonna at a concert in New
York on Wednesday.
They were jailed for two years
after singing a protest song in
a Moscow cathedral in 2012 but
were freed in December.
Known as Masha and Nadia,
Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova
spent 16 months in prison.
The six members of the col-
lective who signed the letter -
Garadja, Fara, Shaiba, Cat,
Seraphima and Schumacher -
say they wish to remain anony-
They said that their group
belonged to a "leftist anti-cap-
italist ideology" but that the pair
had become "institutionalised
advocates of prisoners rights."
"Our performances are always
illegal , staged only in unpre-
dictable locations and public
places not designed for tradi-
tional entertainment," the group
Russia's Pussy Riot disowns freed pair
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