Photo by David I Muir

There is no greater joy than a bellyful of Caribbean food. Now readers can indulge in with even more recipes with new cookbook, “Taste the Islands: Culinary Adventures in a Caribbean Kitchen.” Based on the popular PBS cooking show Taste the Islands TV, this  cookbook is a collaboration between hosts Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair and Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna, and show producer Calibe Thompson. Due for release April 20, the new Caribbean cookbook features traditional and gourmet Caribbean recipes, plus interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the making of the Taste the Islands TV show.

Ahead of its release, check out a few delicious recipe samples from the new book.


Pate Kode

In Haiti many people in the rural areas, especially students, buy this deep-fried, meat-filled pie from street vendors. It’s a complete meal in one pocket. Pate kode was thought of only as street food in the past, but in recent years, Haitian chefs have been changing that perception by focusing on foods from our roots and celebrating them with updated approaches. My version has a light, thin crust and a flavorful creole-style shredded chicken filling. The patty is golden and crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.

Traditional pate kode has boiled eggs mixed in, but I’ve left them out. Add them if you like, and feel free to experiment with ground beef, codfish, or herring fillings instead of chicken.

Makes 4 to 6 patties

For the Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 teaspoons Chef Thia’s spice*
  • 11/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the Dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup to sprinkle on sticky dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Chef Thia’s Spice*
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Make the filling:
  1. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the tomato paste, salt, evaporated milk, bell peppers, and onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in the red pepper flakes and Chef Thia’s Spice, followed by the chicken. Sprinkle the black pepper over the top and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until heated through.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sautéed mixture to cool.
Make the dough:
  1. Put the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and stir well. Make a small well in the center of the mixture and add the butter, Chef Thia’s Spice, and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir until a smooth and elastic dough is formed, adding up to 1/4 cup more cold water by the tablespoon if it’s too dry. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  2. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut out rectangles that are 4 by 3 inches.
  3. For each dough rectangle, place a little of the sautéed mixture in the center, fold, and pinch the sides closed.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or deep-fryer to 350°F. Fry the patties until golden and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes per side, carefully spooning the hot oil over them as they cook.

5.Remove the patties from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Serve hot.

Breadfruit Pumpkin Salad

I grew up eating breadfruit boiled, mashed, roasted, or fried. I always heard people talking about breadfruit salad and so wanted to make something similar. Here, I pair it with pumpkin for contrasting color and texture. Both flavors play nicely with the selection of spices and seasonings I’ve used.

The texture of both must be soft, but still firm. It’s easy to overcook the pumpkin, so be careful. It needs to be firm enough to not fall apart when you start stirring it together with the other ingredients.

You can substitute butternut squash if you can’t find calabaza, but there is no substitute for breadfruit. You could use white sweet potato for a similar color and texture, but the flavor will be different, sweeter. Serves 4.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped breadfruit (1/2-inch cubes)
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped calabaza pumpkin (1/2-inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup julienned red onion
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, julienned
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
Directions:
  1. Heat the coconut milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low. Allow the coconut milk to simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until it has thickened and reduced by about half. Allow to cool, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely.
  2. In two separate pots, bring salted water to a boil. Add the breadfruit to one and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, just until tender. Add the calabaza to the other and boil for 10 to 15 minutes, just until tender. Be careful not to overcook. Drain and allow to cool.
  3. To the chilled coconut milk, add the oil, honey, mustard, salt, black pepper, Cajun seasoning, and garlic powder and whisk to combine.
  4. In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked breadfruit and pumpkin, cilantro, scallions, red onion, and Scotch bonnet pepper. Add the coconut dressing and the lime juice, and gently toss the salad to coat. Serve chilled.

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