Crab Pelau

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Like most Trinidadian crab dishes, this recipe traditionally calls for whole cleaned crabs. My version makes use of lump crabmeat, which is widely available in cans in the seafood section of the supermarket, and makes this recipe much less time-consuming.


  • cups long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Trinidad curry powder
  • 1 cup lump crabmeat
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 small whole Scotch bonnet pepper or other hot red chili pepper


  1. Wash the rice by placing it in a deep bowl and adding enough cold water to cover. Swirl the rice with your hand until the water is cloudy and then pour off the water, taking care not to pour out the rice. Repeat 3 to 4 times or until the water stays clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and carrots and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are soft. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 1 minute. Mix in the curry powder and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the crabmeat, mix well to coat, then add the coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Add the chives, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and chili pepper and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover loosely and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft but not sticky. Fluff with a fork. Remove bay leaf, thyme sprig, and chili pepper and serve.