Green Fig Salad

 

 

It was only during my first trip to Trinidad as a teenager that I realised the sheer variety of bananas that existed. Most of us are familiar with the Chiquito variety of medium sized bananas and a few more with yellow plantain and even green banana. But Trinidad introduced to me red skin banana, sour tasting banana, short fig and cooking fig. I think I’ll work with the 3 I know for now.

This recipe is a typical alternative to potato salad in Trinidad. The firm starchy texture of the green banana makes it a usual candidate for  Metemgee; but it works really well in this salad as it resembles the waxy texture of new potatoes.  It’s also packed with vitamin C, B6 and Potassium, so don’t feel guilty serving yourself a larger portion.

Green Fig Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

3 Green bananas

3 tbsp Garlic Mayonnaise

1/2 carrot cut into cubes

2 tbsp frozen peas

1 tsp English Mustard (optional)

 

Method:

Cut the banana into thirds with skin still on and boil in a pot of salted water for 15 minute or until firm. Remove from the stove, drain the water, replace with cold water to help it to cool down.

In the meantime take the carrot and boil in some water in a pot until tender. Drain water.

Take each of the banana pieces, remove the skin, slice down the middle then into chunks (1″ pieces). Place in a bowl with the carrots, peas and mayonnaise. Mix well, season to taste and serve.

 

One Pot Series: Guyanese Metemgee

 

The One Pot Series: If you want to spend less time washing dishes and more time enjoying tasty food and company, then read on!

Coming from a family of six hungry bellies with large appetites, The One Pot was essential for our survival. I really don’t know how my parents managed without it. From Cook-up Rice to Metemgee, it just made economic sense; It settled many an argument, it brought order out of chaos, it quieted the storm. “You don’t like Cassava? Well there’s sweet potato..” The way Mum would organise the provision before my brother could stab me in the hand with his fork, his true target being the last piece of dumpling, was genius.  And then there’s the sauce…my word. My word. It can only be compared to liquid gold: the pot would be clean and gleaming when we were done.

Metemgee  is a Guyanese Creole stew of sorts made with dumplings, cassava, yam, plantains, okra and a hot peppery coconut milk sauce. It’s normally served with salt fish or crispy fried fish of your choice. The immense amount of sauce that the Metem provides means you really don’t need to prepare a separate gravy with the fish.

You can add any number of root vegetables to it: potatoes, edoes, white or yellow yam. It’s up to you. Just be sure you maintain a thick rich sauce throughout, the dumplings once added will help with that.

It’s always best to cook this dish in stages as some things cook quicker than others; the Okra and Plantain for example should be cooked last and separately as they soften quickly and you want it to keep its shape.

And finally don’t judge a book by its cover. When this dish begins to cool down, it may look like a hot mess, but the smell from the stew is so rich, you won’t be turning your nose up for too long! As it’s coconut milk the dish won’t last beyond 2 days before turning sour, so be sure to only cook want you know you will eat over the weekend!

Guyanese: Metemgee

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

2 Sweet Potatoes

1 whole Cassava (or 5 frozen pieces)

2 Ripe Plantain

6 Okra Fingers

2 Corn on Cob

1 Medium Onion – chopped finely

3 Garlic – crushed

3-4 Fresh Thyme sprigs or good pinch of dried Thyme

1 Whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper

2 spring onions, sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp tomato paste

1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger

1 1/2 cups Coconut Milk

Dash of Maggi all-purpose liquid seasoning

1 tsp Garam Masala

1 Vegetable Stock cube

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Corns

1 1/2 cup Water

Oil (to fry)

 

For the Dumplings

2 cups of plain flour

1 pinch of salt

1 tbsp butter/ margarine

1 cup milk

 

Method:

1. Peel all the root vegetables and slice length ways into 7″ long chunks. Try not to slice them too thinly as they may disintegrate whilst cooking. Place the vegetables in a large bowl filled with cold water.

Make the dumpling by mixing all the ingredients listed under ‘dumplings’ together. Shape the dumplings as you wish and refrigerate for later.

2. Cut the ripe plantain into 3 chunks (with the skin on) and place in a separate pot of water to boil.

3. Trim the Okra ‘top and tail’ and set aside.

4. Fry the onions, garlic and spring onions in a large, deep pot for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste and ginger. Allow it to fry until the onions have softened.

5. Add Garam masala and stir for 1 minute before adding the coconut milk. Allow to simmer for 1 minute before adding the thyme.

6. Add the water and scotch bonnet pepper to the pot. Then place the root vegetables in the pot. Allow pot to simmer for 10 minutes before removing the pepper.

7. Add the vegetable stock cube and season further to taste.

8. In the meantime, in another pot, boil the plantain. This should take no more than 15 minutes. strain the water and allow it to cool.

9. Allow the pot to simmer until the potatoes start to soften. Then add the dumpling pieces and okra, placing them gently at the top of the stew, be careful not to stir the pot too much.

10. Season to taste.