Place chicken in a large bowl, along with 1 sprig of thyme (reserve the other 3 for cooking), garlic salt, and black pepper. Stir to coat the chicken with the seasonings, cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes (or overnight).
Add oil to a large heavy bottom pot, and place over medium-high heat.
Once oil is hot (but not smoking) pour the sugar into the pot in an even layer and allow to caramelize. The sugar will melt and bubble as it caramelizes. Do not stir the sugar, but do watch it carefully to look for the change in colour.Wait until the sugar just starts to turn dark brown in colour (not black!), then carefully add chicken to the pot and stir to coat with the "burnt" sugar. Use caution - hot sugar can burn you quite badly!
Add onion, carrots and pigeon peas to the pot and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add rice, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes. Then add Add cilantro, green onion, reserved sprigs of thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and stir to combine.
Add coconut milk and hot water to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot and gently simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is cooked through.
Stir in margarine, if using. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Feel free to use Caribbean green seasoning if you have, it in place of the thyme, when seasoning the chicken. See blog post for full list of optional ingredients for this dish.Please note that the nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate, and has been calculated using a plugin.