Published on February 18, 2014
2014 Written by : Eloivene Blake [FOOD ARTICLES] A sample of an ongoing project, working for a US-based food website.
Contents The legendary Jamaican Stew Peas ......................................................................................................................3 Traditional Jamaican Sunday Dinner ..................................................................................................................4 Callaloo the underrated super food .....................................................................................................................6 Jamaican Goat Meat .....................................................................................................................................................7 Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding ............................................................................................................................8 Page 2 of 9
The legendary Jamaican Stew Peas Not many meals can boast quite the infamy and the prominence of Jamaican stew peas. While the meal itself is undeniably delectable, many Jamaicans will tell you, stew peas has powers to be feared. Just like the Sunday Dinner, Stew Peas can supposedly lead to spontaneous and everlasting love. As the saying goes, when your girlfriend starts making stew peas, be afraid, she is getting serious about the relationship. As a child it was my very favorite meal and it was guaranteed whenever I was being rewarded for doing something good. A delicious rich meaty stew with white rice is truly the ultimate gravy lover’s dream. The versatility of stew peas means that it can be made with a range of meats but a traditional stew peas contains salt and fresh beef with pig’s tail – just the way my mother use to make it. Stew Peas with Pig’s Tail Ingredients: 1/2 pound of salted beef 1/2 pound stew/fresh beef 1/2 pound pig’s tail 2 sprigs of escallion 1 onion, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, chopped 3 sprigs of thyme 1 scotch bonnet pepper 1 tin of red peas or soak two cups of red peas in water for about 8 hour 1 tin of coconut milk or 1 large coconut blended/grated and strained 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper 1/2 teaspoon of salt 5 pimento seeds 2 cups of flour Method: Boil salt beef and pig’s tail for 30 minutes then drain off the salty water. Boil for another 30 minutes then drain off the salty water again. Cut stew/fresh beef into cubes, gently fry to ensure beef doesn’t fall apart in the stew. Place the peas, meat and three cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil then let simmer for one hour. Make dough by mixing 2 cups of flour with water. Break off small pieces of dough and roll them into "spinners" or small tubular dumplings. After the peas and meat have simmered for 1 hour, add the coconut milk, onion, escallion, spinners, garlic, thyme, salt, black pepper, pimento and scotch bonnet (put in scotch bonnet whole, try not to burst the pepper while stirring the pot). Cook for another hour then remove the scotch bonnet pepper. Serve with white rice. Page 3 of 9
Traditional Jamaican Sunday Dinner Jamaican Sunday Dinner, that salivatory beacon at the start of each week, that one great making-it-all-worthwhile meal. Especially for the Jamaican man who’s heart it is said can be reached through his stomach. Let’s just say that many a woman has gotten that all important ring from a Jamaican man because of their culinary skills preparing Sunday Dinner. Jamaican Sunday Dinner is very serious business and is a quintessential part of Jamaican culture dating back to the days on the plantation. It is said that this tradition was inherited from the British plantation owners who would prepare grand feasts on Sundays. It is also important to note that much like the no fuss Jamaican attitude appetizers are no big deal and the emphasis is generally on the main course, drink and dessert. For those of us who need a little help making that meal to impress, here is a fool proof menu of Oxtail and Broad Beans Stew with traditional Rice and Peas, a side of fried ripe plantations and blended Carrot Juice. Add a fresh salad of seasonal vegetables and trust me you will have a finger licking delicious meal. Rice and Peas The Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans (short cut - 1 can of kidney beans) 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk Water (enough to make 2 1/4 cups combined liquid) 1 cup rice 2 green onions, crushed 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme and escallion 1 scotch bonnet pepper Salt to taste The Method: Cook red kidney beans under tender or use pre-cooked canned beans. Put cooked beans into a large saucepan or pot. Add chopped garlic. Measure all liquids, including reserved bean liquid, coconut milk and water enough to make 2 1/4 cups. Add the 2 1/4 cups of liquid to the beans and garlic in the pot. Add rice, crushed green onion, thyme, escallion, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Oxtail and Board Beans Stew The Ingredients: 2 lb (1 kg) oxtail, jointed 1/4 cup oil 5 cups water Page 4 of 9
2 tomatoes, chopped 2 onions, chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 sprig thyme 1 sprig escallion 3 slices hot pepper salt and black pepper 1/2 lb. cooked broad beans or 1 can of broad beans The Method: Wash and season the pieces of oxtail with salt and black pepper, then satay them in oil. Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the oxtail is tender, adding more water if necessary. Reduce the sauce to a thick gravy by increasing the heat, and then add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, escallion, and hot pepper. Stir for a few minutes then add the remaining water and the broad beans. Mix together, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the water evaporates leaving a thick gravy. Serve with rice and peas. Enough for 4 servings. Fried Ripe Plantains The Ingredients: 1 ripe plantain Salt The Method: Peel plantain by making 2 incisions on opposite sides of the plantain skin and then peel. Slice the plantains into 2 in the middle. Cut up both pieces of plantains into 1/4 inch slices lengthwise. Heat skillet filled with just enough oil to cover the 1/4 inch slices. Fry plantain slices until golden brown on each side. Cook each slice for about 35 seconds. Place cooked plantain in a dish layered with napkins so as to drain/soak up the oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Blended Carrot Juice The Ingredients: 1lb Carrots, Chopped Milk/Water Sugar /condensed milk for sweetening Optional – Jamaican Red Label Wine or Dragon Stout Optional – Lime Juice The Method: Wash and chop carrots. Blend for a few minutes and strain the juice. Add milk or water. Sweeten with sugar or condensed milk. Add Red Label Wine or Dragon Stout to taste. Add ice and enjoy. Note – if sweetening with water and sugar, add lime juice to taste for an added kick. Page 5 of 9
Callaloo the underrated super food Callaloo (aramanth) is recommended for iron deficiency anemia the most common nutritional deficiency in approximately 20% of women of African descent. Of course growing up in the Caribbean we have always know that callaloo is pretty awesome, it’s part of Trinidad and Tobago’s national dish after all and a constant staple at breakfast in every Jamaican household. Callaloo is a green leafy vegetable nicknamed the Caribbean spinach. This super food changes nutrient value based on the method of preparation. It is said that cooked callaloo actually provides the most nutrients since when cooked it shrinks by approximately half so to get half-cup of cooked callaloo, one cup of raw callaloo should be used. Half-cup cooked callaloo provides: 45 kilocalories 3.45 milligrams of iron 537 milligrams of potassium 301 milligrams of calcium 6.5 milligrams of fibre 242 milligrams of sodium 3.6 grams of protein Now callaloo is not just for breakfast and can be a part of every meal including snack time. Callaloo juice is now a delicious snack, on its own or as an ingredient of the trendy green juice. There is also nutritious callaloo rice at dinner time, callaloo and cheddar quiche for brunch and yummy Pepperpot soup at lunch. Now with every supermarket boasting prepackaged shredded callaloo it’s easier than ever to gain all its nutrients. Let’s start with the basics of cooking callaloo and the easiest way to do this is by steaming the vegetable. Callaloo can also be flavored with other meats, some of the most popular in Jamaican cuisine being corned pork, bacon and of course saltfish (codfish). Ingredients: Steamed Callaloo and Saltfish 1 lb/bundle callaloo or 1 regular package of callaloo 1/2 lb saltfish (codfish), flaked 1/2 lb carrot chopped 1 sprig thyme 1 crushed garlic or 2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon margarine or vegetable oil 1 scotch bonnet pepper seeds removed 1 medium onion chopped 1 sprig escallion chopped Page 6 of 9
Black pepper Salt to taste 1/4 cup water Method: If using whole callaloo leaves, wash then cut up leaves into pieces. Sauté (boiled and desalted) saltfish, onion, carrot, garlic, and thyme in margarine or oil. Add cut up callaloo leaves or package of callaloo, water and stir. Add whole scotch bonnet pepper and sprinkle with black pepper and salt. Cover saucepan and let simmer until callalloo is tender. Serve with boiled banana, boiled yam, and boiled or fried dumplings. Jamaican Goat Meat As many Jamaicans prepare for the looming Christmas holiday season, there is always a lot of contemplation about where to get that special goat meat (that go-to other red meat). No major or celebratory event in Jamaica is ever commenced without goat meat, anything from birthdays, to funerals and even weddings – not to mention the big ‘dance’ parties. Now to get the most authentic goat meat, means ordering it from a country butcher, who has selected the ‘smelliest’ of ram goats for slaughter. The smelly goat is particularly important for those persons who are making mannish water soup. As Ram Goats pee on themselves to attract their females and there is a very literal meaning to the term “horny old goat” as male goats are notorious for their very high libido. Mannish water is also said to be able to increase stamina or sexual virility in human males when consumed. Therefore, the smelliest ‘renkin’ goat is best. For now, let’s stick to the more popular curry goat, as mannish water preparation can be a little overwhelming for the uninitiated. As a Jamaican I have never been to a birthday party, Christmas dinner or funeral that did not serve curry goat. This should tell you just how important it is in Jamaican culture. Ingredients: 3 lbs goat meat (cut up into bite size pieces) ½ oz Vinegar 1 oz vegetable oil 4 oz Jamaican curry powder 1 large onion (chopped) 2 cloves garlic (chopped) 1 scotch bonnet pepper (chopped and deseeded) 1 oz black pepper 4 sprigs of thyme 6 pimento seeds ½ lb carrots (optional) Page 7 of 9
½ Irish potatoes (optional) Salt to taste Method: Wash goat meat with vinegar and water. Rub all the seasonings into the goat meat and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and then remove the seasoning from the goat meat. In a saucepan, heat the oil on high until it smells. Add 1 oz of curry powder to the hot oil. Stir curry powder in oil until the color starts to change. Put the goat meat in the saucepan now. Stir the meat in the hot oil for two minutes; be careful not to burn the meat. Add 1 oz water to the pot, keep stirring until the meat looks like the muscles are tightening up. Now turn down the heat to medium and add 2 cups of water to the meat in the saucepan. Cover the pot and let this stew simmer for 20 minutes. Check on the meat in the pot, stir again and add water to cover the meat. Simmer for another 20 minutes, and then check to see if the meat is medium soft. (This 20 minutes plus an additional 20 minutes simmer time can be augmented by using a pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes). When meat is medium soft, add the seasoning you removed earlier to the pot, along with the optional carrots and Irish potatoes if used. Let the stew simmer for another 15 minutes on a slightly lower heat (between medium and low), until gravy has thicken and meat is fully cooked. Can serve 6-8 persons; accompanied by boiled green bananas, white rice or rice and peas. *An optional seasoning that is often used in this dish is ginger. Use it to flavor the oil, by placing it into the oil at the same time that you put in the curry powder. Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding If a Jamaican comes to you and says “Riddle me this and riddle me that – what is hell a top, hell a bottom and hallelujah in the middle. The correct answer is of course Sweet Potato Pudding. This refers to the original way that the pudding was made; it was baked in an iron dutch pot or dutch oven with live coals in the bottom of the coal stove and also on top of the dutch pot. Very few things remind me of my grandmother more than a slice of sweet potato pudding especially with the ‘sof pon top’. Referring to the gooey softness on top of the pudding or when the top of the pudding is much softer than the rest. Not to worry if you don’t get that soft top though as only experts know the right technique to achieve it. This pudding is often served by itself, with whipped cream or even with vanilla ice-cream. Recommendation – add the sweet potato pudding to your yuletide meal. Ingredients: 2 pounds sweet potato 1 cup flour Page 8 of 9
2 cups coconut milk or 1 packet of coconut milk powder 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder 1 teaspoon mixed spice 1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon margarine ½ cup dried fruits (optional) ¼ cup of rum (optional) Method: Wash and peel potatoes, then grate or instead of grating the sweet potatoes, you can use a food processor with the fine shredding blade attached. Grate or blend coconut, add water and squeeze juice through a strainer or use 1 packet of coconut milk powder. Blend flour, mixed spice (raisins etc), salt, and nutmeg. Combine this mixture with the grated potatoes and mix well. Add sugar, fruits and coconut milk. Mix well. Grease pan, pour in batter, bake at 350 degrees F for 40-60 minutes or until done. Optional: For a more adult Sweet Potato Pudding, soak dried fruits in rum for at least 4 hours or overnight. Page 9 of 9
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