Oxtail Pelau

Pelau is a traditional dish you can find throughout the Caribbean. It’s a combination of cooked up meat, usually chicken or beef accompanied with aromatics such as thyme, scallion and scotch bonnet pepper. The dish is enhanced with coconut milk, pigeon peas and rice as well as fresh green seasonings making it irresistible.

I’ve made chicken pelau before and it was a winner! So much flavor and is a complete meal in one skillet. I saw London Cookss make oxtail pelau on Instagram and was instantly inspired to try making it myself.

My recipe is flavor packed but it will take you a little time to make. If you’re looking to enjoy the best dish you’ve had of the year, then try this recipe.

Oxtail Pelau

Oxtail Pelau

Pelau is a traditional dish you can find throughout the Caribbean. It's a combination of cooked up meat, usually chicken or beef accompanied with aromatics such as thyme, scallion and scotch bonnet pepper. The dish is enhanced with coconut milk, pigeon peas and rice as well as fresh green seasonings making it irresistible.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

For oxtail:

  • 2 lbs oxtail, pieces that are small to medium
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp granulated beef bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/2 tsp browning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dark mushroom soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp green seasoning
  • 4 cups of hot water, divided
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil for searing

To finish dish:

  • 1 can green pigeon peas, drained
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups parboiled rice
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 stalks scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Season to taste (salt, pepper, bouillon powder, all purpose seasoning, more green seasoning)
  • 4 whole pimento seeds

For green seasoning:

  • To a food processor, combine the below ingredients and pulse well until well combined.
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 stalks scallion
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven 400 degrees 
  2. Season oxtail with powder seasoning, mushroom soy sauce, browning and olive oil 
  3. In an oven safe braising pan, sear oxtail on medium heat in coconut oil until golden brown on all sides 
  4. Once brown, cover the oxtail with a lid for 5-7 minutes to allow the oxtail to release liquid in the pot 
  5. Once there is a thin layer of liquid, add 2 cups of additional hot water to the oxtail
  6. Add 2 tbsp of green seasoning, cover and cook in the oven for one hour
  7. After an hour, add 2 more cups of hot water and cover. Continue to cook for another hour or until fork tender 
  8. Once the oxtail begins to soften, remove the pan from the oven and add coconut milk, green seasoning, scallion, carrots, onion, thyme, scotch bonnet and pimento seeds 
  9. Combine well, cover and cook in the oven for another 45 minutes or until the oxtail is falling off the bone 
  10. Add rice, pigeon peas, butter and additional seasoning to the mixture and stir well
  11. Add remaining 2 cups of water, cover and bake for 30 more minutes 
  12. Dish is done when the liquid has evaporated and the rice is tender and oxtail is falling off the bone easily 
  13. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro & serve warm 

Notes

If you don't have the time to do the dish in the oven you can pressure cook the oxtail for about an hour on high pressure then proceed to adding the rice and peas. That would bring the cook time down to about an hour and 30 minutes.

If you make this recipe hit me up on my Instagram and let me know how you liked it.

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19 Comments

  1. Kiesha McClain
    January 16, 2023 / 5:54 pm

    Made the oxtail pelau. Ridiculously good. I will tell everyone who will listen about your recipes. Sooo good!

    • natasha
      Author
      January 16, 2023 / 5:57 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Kiesha! Glad you liked it

  2. Ery Simmons
    January 24, 2023 / 11:15 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of parboiled rice. Can I use long grain rice instead?

    • natasha
      Author
      February 17, 2023 / 3:22 pm

      Sure thing!

  3. Jennie Chu
    February 15, 2023 / 7:33 pm

    Hi Natasha!

    If I use an Instant Pot, do I use 4 cups of water plus all the ingredients listed in Steps 6-9, then pressure cook for 1 hr? Then do the remaining steps 10-12 in the oven?

    Thanks!

    • natasha
      Author
      February 17, 2023 / 3:22 pm

      Hi Jennie,
      I recommend just pressuring the oxtail until it’s tender (use enough liquid to bring to pressure) then basically combine the remaining ingredients and finish in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Follow rice liquid ration according to package instructions. You could technically do it all in the instant pot but it would take 2 different pressuring sessions which I don’t love for texture.

  4. Michael
    February 17, 2023 / 3:07 pm

    How long will the green seasoning last stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator?

    • natasha
      Author
      February 17, 2023 / 3:20 pm

      Hi! About 2-3 days max.

  5. K
    February 22, 2023 / 7:33 am

    Can i ask a few questions? I tried this last night but i feel like i messed up at some point?

    After searing the meat, when you leave it to sit, is it on the heat or off to collect the liquid?

    The onion that you add in with the rest of the veg, is that the 1 small onion listed under the green seasoning ingredients?

    I feel like the oxtail what overcooking at 400 over the almost 4 hours. It was very tough. Did i get that wrong?

    • natasha
      Author
      August 22, 2023 / 8:41 pm

      After searing, the meat rests off the heat. Yes, you add one small onion in addition to the green seasoning. If you’re oven runs very hot you can reduce the heat to 375. Regardless oxtail is a very tough meat to tenderize, that’s why I recommend adding that hot water every hour. Did you do that? No way it will be tough after 2 hours. Try a dutch oven pot with tight fitting lid as well.You can also cook on the stove, same technique on medium low heat.

  6. Naytasia Cooper
    March 23, 2023 / 3:00 pm

    Is it the same if you cook it on the stove top

  7. J T
    March 23, 2023 / 8:30 pm

    If I have to make this the night before, how would you reheat it to serve?

  8. yanick Strachan
    March 27, 2023 / 4:59 pm

    Is there any substitute or store version off the green sauce? Can I substitute fresh ginger and garlic for the paste?

  9. Antoine
    June 5, 2023 / 1:53 am

    I started with the instant pot and ended in the Dutch oven on the stove top. The oxtails were fall off the bone tender

    • natasha
      Author
      July 18, 2023 / 1:57 pm

      Love that! Great method to lessen the time

  10. Megan D
    October 22, 2023 / 10:01 pm

    Everyone in my family, except me doesn’t like any form of beans or peas! Do I need to adjust the liquid amounts if I’m leaving them out?

    • natasha
      Author
      October 22, 2023 / 11:21 pm

      You can just omit the peas. No need to adjust the liquid

  11. Nia
    November 10, 2023 / 3:45 pm

    Hello! Can we buy the green seasoning instead of making it? Or would this be an absolute no. I have Walkerswood green seasoning in my Amazon cart.

    • natasha
      Author
      November 10, 2023 / 8:27 pm

      Walkerswood would be great!

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