On Curry Tabanca and making Trini Tomato Choka
Every once in a while I miss my Trini curry. I experience serious curry tabanca*. If you know me, my weakness is a good curry chicken dhalpuri roti, or GOAT, yeah curry goat too! Anyway, hubby and I got our hands on some Mauritian dhal puri roti skins. The Mauritian dhalpuri roti skins are much smaller than the Trini ones. Mauritians tend to have roti with a tomato sauce similar to Trini Tomato Chola (also known as choka) called Rougaille, as well as Indian curries, pickles, butter or plain. Recently, while on the school run I spotted some gorgeous ripe tomatoes at my local grocers.
I was inspired to make Trini Tomato Choka. There are slightly different ways of making a Tomato Choka. Some recipes start with roasting the tomatoes and a scotch bonnet pepper, usually on an open flame. We have an electric cooker and taking the little ones into consideration adding a hot pepper was not an option. I realise I’ve not posted a food blog in ages, so here’s my how I made my Trini Tomato Choka:
5 large tomatoes
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt 1 pinch black pepper
1 tsp fresh finely chopped coriander
Boil tomatoes until skin softens and begins to peel. Remove from water and peel off skin. Crush tomatoes into smooth paste On medium heat add oil, garlic and onions to pot, then, stir frequently.
When the onions are soft and clear add crushed tomatoes stir well then add the salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat 15-20 minutes if the sauce is too dry add water slowly.
You want consistency between a soup and relish. Add half the coriander just before turning off heat and the other half for garnish. Serve warm with the dhalpuri roti. You can add chilli sauce when serving to suit individual taste (NB the salt and pepper can be adjusted to personal taste)
* Trini expression for love-sick and longing.
|Photo via Pinterest from the website Belly in Hand|
there can be a hidden message found in the song if you read between the lines.’ On that note, I leave you with sound of Sundar Popo one of our well known chutney singers to set the mood for this lovely mouth-watering moreish dish.
If you want to try making this snack from scratch you can the visit the following websites of Trini Gourmet or Simply Trini Cooking and for more on Trini street food do visit Belly in Hand.
|Image from Pinterest via JTA|
heavy breakfasts in the West Indies, but then as the most important meal of the
day such a start would really set you up. One of my favourites as a child was fried
breadfruit and salt fish buljol. My personal preference is fried ripe
breadfruit, as I have a bit of a sweet tooth. So what is breadfruit and how is
the chip made?
from the New Guinea area. Apparently some 3,500 years ago the ancestors of the
Polynesians found the trees growing in
the northwest New Guinea area. They gave
up the rice cultivation they had brought with them from Taiwan and cultivated
the breadfruit instead. It was brought to the West Indies
by the English Captain, Bligh, in the
late 1700’s from Tahiti, as a cheap food for slave labourers (click link to
read more on his mission). The plants were delivered first to St. Vincent
then finally to Jamaica.
maternal side of my family comes from St. Vincent. Some of the dishes I eat as
a child would surly have been influenced by my grandmother’s Vincentian
heritage. So, some time ago I was wandering through Tooting Market and I saw
breadfruit on sale. I decided to try my hand at making the chips I used to love
as a child. I bought half of one breadfruit and as I have no patience for long
cooking processes I boiled it instead of roasting. My mum assured that once
boiled for the correct time the result would be as good as it had be roasted. She was right! I’d bought a ripe piece as I
knew it would be sweet. The starch converts to sugar as the breadfruit ripens,
and that’s how I like it. However, you can select it half ripe or green to suit
- 1 medium breadfruit halved and boiled for 30 mins
- Peel skin and slice to thin
but not too thin, to avoid breakage during frying process
- Fry both sides until crisp
and golden brown, and leave to drain on kitchen towel
|Angelo’s portion unfried accompanied with buljol|
- Serve with salt fish buljol
or tomato salsa or eat on this own.
I’ve grown up knowing ‘saltfish fritters’ (as Jamaicans call it) as Accra. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Ghanaian city, Accra, though. I enjoyed it
for dinner as a child, whenever my grandmother made it.
house-guests and Angelo, of course. Here’s my take on the Salt
thyme (leaves only)
chopped spring onions
preferable an oil that does not have strong flavour to over-power the Accra’s
- Soak saltfish in hot water for 30 mins to 1 hour, change the water twice
- After soaking time has passed, shred saltfish in cool water and drain
flour and baking powder
vegetable oil on a medium/high heat and start adding heaping teaspoon full
amounts into the pan (I was pressed for time with Angelo clinging to my ankles, so, I used a tablespoon, hence the size).
space between the Accras in the frying pan, in order that they don’t stick together
occasions serve with a sweet chilli sauce, tamarind sauce or whatever you and your guests fancy.
when you have the same thing too often. It’s times like those when I revert to cooking
something I remember from my West Indian childhood. Today I made Angelo banana fritters
for breakfast, as we had had toast one morning too many.
prepare is authentically West Indian or if it’s been influenced by our
former European colonisers. However, I occasionally prepare meals that I’ve had as a child in Trinidad.
frying pan. When the oil is hot; use a table spoon to drop dollops of batter
into oil. Cook until both sides are cooked and golden brown. You can serve with
any topping or dip you would usually use with pancakes. We had ours with cream
Love and comfort in a dish: Macaroni Pie
travels but nothing is as near and dear to my heart as good ole macaroni and cheese. The
macaroni pie is just a step above mac and cheese for me, and when I think of
comfort, love and home; out comes the pots, pans and dishes to make my pie.
Easter holidays. As you can imagine that is a traumatic life event for anyone. Hubby
wasn’t really eating properly and I was feeling nauseous (due Baby #2) so, out came my pots and pans. I whipped up my family
a nice Sunday lunch. We had red beans and rice (rice and
peas), brown stew chicken AND macaroni pie.
macaroni pie dish but I am aware that there is a version of it in America and
England too. However, the version I know is the recipe that my grandmother and
mother made. Here’s my take on the recipe:
- Boil macaroni in salted water until tender, then drain
- Stir in one knob of butter into macaroni
- Stir some of the grated cheese into macaroni
- Beat eggs into evaporated milk with black pepper and some of
- Use one knob of butter to butter a baking dish, then pour macaroni
into some of macaroni into the buttered dish, then sprinkle some grated cheese and
green seasoning, pour more macaroni, sprinkle more cheese and green seasoning repeat until all the macaroni,
cheese and seasoning has be used up
- Pour milk mixture over the macaroni
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the macaroni mixture
- Bake at gas mark 7 (220 degrees) for 45 mins or until totally
Nothing in the world sweeter than Saltfish’
While I was born in Trinidad both my maternal grandmother and my mum were both born in St. Vincent, West Indies. Therefore, I can’t claim that all the food I know how to prepare is ‘authentically’ Trini. I reckon the best way to describe it is perhaps, Caribbean fusion. I never spoke to either women about the origin of the dishes they prepared because when I still lived at, home cooking and being a wife was the last thing on my agenda. However, from my regular Sunday chore of cutting up and assisting the preparation of the ingredients for the dishes I knew what went into most dishes, even if I didn’t know how to cook them. I learnt to cook when in I came to England, trying to re-create the dishes I knew and loved. Now I share my love for food with my son, Angelo.
- Soak saltfish for ½ hour, then flake the fish.
- Fry ochroes with all the herbs for 2 minutes in the butter
- Add carrots and pumpkin stir and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Add rice and stir together to mix all ingredients together properly
- Add saltfish, pig tail, water and coconut milk, then bring to a boil
- Cover, lower heat and allow to simmer for 20 – 25mins or until rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Serve and enjoy!
NB no need to add salt as the saltfish would still have some salt in it and pig tail is cured in salt. However you can add chilli to your taste.
* My title is a homage to the Mighty Sparrow’s song Saltfish
The Callalloo Lime
Strip stalk and midrib from the callaloo leaves, wash and chop into pieces.
I’m currently working on a logo for this page as well as sourcing ingredients for the first dish to be featured. In the interim, I’ve placed a video below what shows the creativity and ingenuity of one of my country’s most celebrated mas men, Peter Minshall. In 1984 the theme of his mass was Callaloo which was continuation of his River Trilogy band.
Callaloo is not just a dish we have in the Trinidad (usually on Sundays) its a metaphor that best describes how we are racially and/or culturally mixed. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my son’s diverse heritage.