Monthly Archives: March 2014

Vegetarian Super Foods Of the Caribbean 2

Cassava

File:Manihot esculenta - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-090.jpg

Cassava (Manihot esculenta), is also called manioc, yuca, balinghoy, mogo, mandioca, kamoteng kahoy, tapioca-root (predominantly in India) and manioc root, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. It differs from the similarly spelled yucca, an unrelated fruit-bearing shrub in the Asparagaceae family. Cassava, when dried to a powdery (or pearly) extract, is called tapioca; its fermented, flaky version is named garri.

File:Manihot esculenta 001.jpg

Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize.[1][2] Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people.[3] It is one of the most drought tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporting country of dried cassava.

Cassava root is a good source of carbohydrates, but a poor source of protein. A diet consisting predominantly of cassava root can cause protein-energy malnutrition.[4]

Cassava is classified as sweet or bitter. Like other roots and tubers, cassava contains antinutritional factors and toxins.[5] It must be properly prepared before consumption. Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia or partial paralysis.[6] Nevertheless, farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves.[7] The more toxic varieties of cassava are a fall-back resource (a “food security crop”) in times of famine in some places. (WIKI)

trinidad-cassava-recipe-1  Cassava and Saltfish Pie

Above two photos of the traditional cassava and salt-fish buljol and cassava and salt-fish pie. Cassava is a melt in your mouth experience with a sweet, nutty flavour, and despite it’s “dark-side”, remains a safe carbohydrate source in many cultures. Traditionally prepared with fried salted cod or in a buljol which is a salted cod salad. It is also excellent in soups and can be served with meat and fish stews, however personally eaten hot with a knob of butter, is just heavenly! Cassava is also used in sweet dishes in the Caribbean, and similar dishes I have found in the Phillipines and Vietnam. In the Caribbean they are called pone, which is a cassava cake and pamee, a steamed cassava paste in a banana leaf.

cassava-pone-12  cassava-suman-recipe

Here are some wonderful new ways of serving cassava from Conde Nast:

http://parade.condenast.com/156299/ericadinho/10-sweet-and-savory-yuca-recipes/

Caribbeanpot provides two lovely recipes for you to enjoy!

Have a read:

http://caribbeanpot.com/tag/caribbean-cassava-recipes/

Next Yams and Eddoes….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegetarian Super Foods of the Caribbean 1

One of the best places in the world to be a vegetarian is in the Caribbean. The creole and indian kitchen has always been one of the primary sources of delicious tasting and healthy Caribbean food that is vegetarian, with fish or totally vegan. In recent times the Ital or Rastafarian cuisine has added new and refreshing ways to enjoy vegetarian food with the emphasis on power punches (drinks :-)) and meals rich in energy and flavour.

Provisions11

Ground provisions or “blue foods” as they are called on some islands are one of the most important components of a good creole plate. Here is a photo of some of them in their raw state, along with traditional accompaniments like green banana, plantains. These foods traditionally the staple of slaves is accredited with longevity and strength. They are high in fibre and are slow-releasing carbohydrates, very low in fat. Prepared traditionally in soups they are also served with rice, lentils, beans or callaloo and other vegetables as well as salted-fish (salt-cod), fish and meat.

cassava  GPPlate with Prawns

Ground provisions is the term used in West Indian nations to describe a number of traditional vegetable and fruit staples that are planted in the ground, such as yams and cassava. They are often cooked and served as a side dish in local cuisine. Caribbean recipes will often simply call for ground provisions rather than specify specific vegetables. (Wiki)

Here is some basic information on tubular/ root vegetables found in most caribbean and South American countries:

http://latinfood.about.com/od/latincaribbeancuisine101/a/Ground-Provisions.htm

The most well known of the ground provision is sweet potatoes, and possibly yam in some cultures. They are easily found today in many groceries and markets in UK, Canada and America, where large West Indian populations live.

As you can see below there are various kinds of sweet potato:

Sweet potato

http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/16-Shades-of-Sweet

Roasted, boiled, mashed, fried, the sweet potato is a wonderful staple dish that is a good alternative to rice and pasta.

Here is a beautiful winter warmer, or just a hearty lunch soup from Caribbeanpot:

Check out for more ideas:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/sweet-potato

 

NEXT: CASSAVA

 

 

 

 

Carnival!

Today Monday and Tuesday, the two days before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent  is Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago.

In Trinidad & Tobago, Carnival is a festival season that lasts months and culminates in large celebrations in Port of Spain which is the capital of Trinidad, on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with Dimanche Gras, J’ouvert, and Mas (masquerade). Tobago’s celebrations also culminates on Monday and Tuesday but on a much smaller scale in its capital Scarborough. Many people from various other Caribbean islands visit Trinbago (combination of Trinidad and Tobago) at this time to participate in the festivities as either reveler or spectator.

Trinidad & Tobago                  trinidad-carnival_Hart's ladies

Carnival is a festive time of costumes, dance, music, competitions, rum, and partying (also referred to as fete-ing). Music styles associated with Carnival include Soca, Calypso and Rapso (mixture of Rap and Calypso) and more recently Chutney-soca (Chutney and Soca combined).

The winners of Panorama Finals 2014 -Phase II Pan Groove:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152285122800610&set=vb.377693645609&type=2&theater

The annual Carnival Steel Pan competition known as the National Panorama competition is held in the weeks preceding Carnival with the finals held on the Saturday before the main event. Pan players compete in various categories such as “Conventional Steel Band” or “Single Pan Band” by performing renditions of the current year’s calypsos. Preliminary judging of this event for “Conventional Steel Bands” has been recently moved to the individual pan yards where steel bands practice their selections for the competition.

“Dimanche Gras” takes place on the Sunday night before Ash Wednesday. Here the Calypso Monarch is chosen (after competition) and prize money and a vehicle bestowed. Also the King and Queen of the bands are crowned, where each band to parade costumes for the next two days submits a king and queen, from which an overall winner is chosen. These usually involve huge, complex, beautiful well-crafted costumes, that includes ‘wire-bending’.

Dimache Gras

J’ouvert, or “Dirty Mas”, takes place before dawn on the Monday (known as Carnival Monday) before Ash Wednesday. It means “”opening of the day”. Here revelers dress in mainly character costumes that make use of puns on current affairs, especially political and social. “Clean Mud” (clay mud), oil paint and body paint are usually familiar sights on one’s body during J’ouvert. A common character to be seen at this time is “Jab-jabs” (devils, blue, black or red) complete with pitchfork, pointed horns and tails. Here also, a King and Queen of J’ouvert are chosen, based on their representation of current political/social events/issues.

Carnival Monday involves the parade of the mas bands, but on a casual or relaxed scale. Usually revelers wear only parts of their costumes, and the purpose of the day is more one of fun than display or competition. Also on Carnival Monday, Monday Night Mas is popular in most towns and especially the capital, where smaller bands participate in competition. There is also the “Bomb Competition” which is a smaller-scaled judging of steel bands held on Ariapita Avenue (a popular “liming” area in the environs of Port-of-Spain).

Carnival Tuesday is when the main events of the Carnival take place. On this day full costume is worn, complete with make-up and body paint/adornment and other accessories. Usually “Mas Boots” that complement the costumes are worn and are also more comfortable for the feet on the long parade routes. Each band has their costume presentation based on a particular theme, and contain various sections (some consisting of thousands of revelers) thar reflect these themes. Here, the street parade and eventual crowning of the best designed band costumes take place.

Port-of-Spain-carnival-Trinidad-and-Tobago.Beautiful

After following a route where various judging points are located, the mas bands eventually converge on the Queen’s Park Savannah to pass on “The Stage” to be judged once and for all – this is usually the climax for revelers because the stage is literally their own to portray their costumes to the onlooking audience in the North and Grand Stands and also the video-photographers and other camera persons. Also taking place on this day is the crowning of the Road March King or Queen, where the singer of the most played song at judging sites over the two days of the Carnival is crowned winner, complete with prize money and usually a vehicle.

This parading and revelry goes on into the night of the Tuesday until midnight. Ash Wednesday itself, while not an official holiday, is marked by most by visiting the beaches that abound both in Trinidad and Tobago, the most populated being Maracas Beach and Manzanilla Beach, where huge beach parties take place every Ash Wednesday. These provide a cool down from the previous five days of hectic partying, parades and competitions, and are usually attended by the whole family.

Carnival West Indian Street Food at it’s best: Check out around the Queen’s Park Savannah: