Best of the best Carnival foods

Corn soup - Photo courtesy Wendy Rahamut
Corn soup - Photo courtesy Wendy Rahamut

It’s Carnival weekend and it won’t be Carnival without my favourite foods, pelau, corn soup and shark and bake. Easy-to-make recipes that can be done ahead of time.

Wherever you are and whatever you do please be safe, be happy and enjoy our wonderful festival. Happy Carnival!

Trini corn soup with dumplings

  • 8 cups beef stock or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup yellow split peas, washed and picked over
  • 1lb English potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ⅓ cup fresh thyme, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • 1 harbanero pepper or hot pepper
  • 4 pimento peppers, chopped and seeded
  • 6 ears corn, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • ½ cup chopped chadon beni or cilantro
  • ½ cup coconut milk (optional)

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat stock, add split peas, potatoes, onions and garlic, carrots, thyme, celery, chives, and peppers, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about one hour until peas are soft.

Puree soup to a thick and creamy consistency, return to pot.

Add corn and dumplings and coconut milk if using,

Continue to cook for a further 20 minutes until cooked and dumplings float to the surface.

Add chadon beni, remove from heat, taste and adjust seasonings.

If soup seems too thick you can add a little water.

Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and rub butter into flour until mixture is grainy, slowly all water and knead to a stiff dough. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Divide dumpling dough into 2 pieces; roll each piece into a long rope like shape about 12 inches in length, cut into 2-inch lengths and drop into boiling soup.

For stiffer dumplings, use one tsp baking powder and less water when kneading dough.

Serves 6 to 8

Chicken Pelau

  • 1 3½ lb chicken, cut into pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbs green seasoning paste
  • 1 tbs chopped celery leaves
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup French thyme
  • 4 tbs tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs veg oil
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 cups pigeon peas
  • ½ cup chopped pumpkin
  • 2 cups parboiled rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups water

Wash chicken well with lime, drain.

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 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat oil add sugar and caramelise to a dark brown colour, add chicken pieces one at a time turning well to colour each piece, add the rest of seasonings.

Cook uncovered until chicken starts to release its juices, about 5 minutes.

Add pigeon peas and pumpkin, stir. Lower heat and cook for about 10 minutes, covered.

Add rice and stir well.

Cover and simmer until cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes turning occasionally.

Adjust salt and serve .

Serves 4

Shark and bake with chadon beni pesto

Bake and shark - Photo courtesy Wendy Rahamut

  • Breaded shark
  • 1 lb shark fillets,
  • 1 tsp ground chives
  • 1 tbs minced chadon beni
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • flour to dredge fish
  • vegetable oil for frying fish

Wash shark in flour, cut into 4-oz portions, season with herbs garlic and lime juice.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in frying pan, dredge fish in flour and fry until golden.

Drain and serve with floats.


  • 4 cups all -purpose flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs shortening
  • water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Combine flour with salt, sugar and shortening. Rub in shortening until mixture resembled fine crumbs; add enough warm water to make a soft dough.

Knead for five minutes, form into a smooth ball, cover and rest for 30 minutes until doubled in size.

Form dough into 8 balls. Let rise again for 15 minutes.

Flatten balls into 4-inch rounds.

Heat oil in a deep skillet and deep fry floats until they actually float to the top of the oil. Turn and fry until golden. Drain and serve hot

Makes 8

Chadon Beni Pesto

  • 20 shadow beni leaves
  • 2 large Spanish thyme leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
  • juice of one large lime
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • salt to taste

Puree all the ingredient except the oil; Then add the oil to make a thick emulsion.



"Best of the best Carnival foods"

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