Try this Caribbean chicken stew, then check out our Dijon chicken casserole, chicken chasseur, chicken stroganoff and vegetarian stew.

This Caribbean chicken stew recipe comes from Trinidadian recipe writer, Shivi Ramoutar. Shivi says: "Ma’s stew chicken with rice and peas, and macaroni pie, was our family’s steadfast Sunday comfort lunch from our childhood in Trinidad to now, and it always takes me back to a happy place. The browning of the sugar (which is where the stunning flavour of this dish comes from) is really crucial. The second you take your eyes off that pot is the second your sugar burns and you have to start over. So relish the meditative element to watching the sugar darken, embrace the fear as you become braver every time you make this and wait longer and longer for that perfect brown!"


  • 8-12 whole chicken thighs and drumsticks (skin on)
  • 5 tbsp caster sugar


  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • coriander leaves, chopped to make 2 tbsp
  • flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped to make 1 tbsp
  • chopped to make 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • a small glug vegetable oil
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • a generous dash Angostura bitters
  • a couple of dashes scotch bonnet pepper sauce


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 500g basmati rice, rinsed
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained


  • STEP 1

    To make the green seasoning, pulse all the ingredients with a little salt and pepper in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Put the chicken into a bowl, add the green seasoning, mix well and leave to marinade for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.

  • STEP 2

    When you are ready to cook, brush any excess marinade from the chicken back into the bowl and keep. Evenly spread the sugar in a large, wide, heavy-based pan and melt over a medium heat – don’t take your eyes off the pot, give it a stir and wait for the sugar to change from golden to dark brown. As soon as it does, the sugar should be bubbling and just smoking – immediately add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, allowing the chicken to darken and caramelise on all sides.

  • STEP 3

    Reduce the heat, pour any remaining marinade into the pan, along with a little seasoning, give it a stir, put the lid on and leave to stew for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and again, until the chicken is cooked through. Add a splash of water if it gets a little dry.

  • STEP 4

    To make the rice, heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat and soften the onion with a little salt for 2-5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic, thyme and allspice, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously, until the aromas are released. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, followed by the coconut milk, stock, scotch bonnet, kidney beans and a good pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the liquid is absorbed – you may need to add a little extra just-boiled water to ensure the rice is fully cooked.

  • STEP 5

    Remove the thyme sprig and the scotch bonnet from the rice, fluff it up with a fork, trying to gently fold through the kidney beans, and season to taste.

  • STEP 6

    Serve the chicken with the rice and peas, with a drizzle of the gravy over everything and some drops of scotch bonnet pepper sauce.

Shivi Ramoutar is a cook, presenter, supper club host and author of Caribbean Modern: Recipes from the Rum Islands and The Ice Kitchen. Follow her on Instagram @shiviramoutar.

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