A class that Cooks? Sounds interesting.... These were my sentiments last semester when I visited this class. I had no idea if I would be interested in going through it. This semester though, it was a different story. I actually pleaded with Dr. Wandia to add me to the class two weeks after registration.
The first assignment was to sample Haitian culture, including the cuisine. Everyone was to pick a meal they would make and come with to class on the material day.
I would pick the simplest, pocket friendly recipe. I went online in search of my cheap yet interesting pick. What do I see? Rice "Madondo", that is very simple, that even in Kenyan Kiosks it is a common delicacy. That is the folly of being too familiar with something.
Apparently, rice and beans are a staple
in the carribean. A meal is not a meal unless there is a side of rice
and beans. Haitian rice and beans can be made with a variety of beans,
but the most pouplar are Pinto, red kidney beans, and black beans.
After settling on the recipe, I went on an ingredient search. First stop was at Nakumatt Moi Avenue with my print out to act as a checklist and indicate the prices against ingredients. The exercise was an eye opener since I had no idea what spices like thyme and scotch bonnet pepper were. I even thought that scotch bonnet was the normal capsicums "pilipili hoho".
To be safe, I decided not to use it altogether, because I realized that it was hot.
Next step after window shopping was the actual shopping. I found a wholesale Indian shop along Biashara street that sold spices. I have to confess that I took a shortcut on the olive oil. I used normal cooking oil.
One mistake I made was buying canned coconut milk, only to go to the supermarket and find whole coconuts at 45 shillings each. Anyway, enough of the cheap talk. I don't want you to lose your appetite thinking that I made a cheap meal. (Not the case)
I went for a sleepover at my friend Judy's house, armed with all my ingredients. Whisper (I didn't have a blender, so I needed to use Judy's blender). It was also a good time to bond with my friend over cooking. We realized that the process for making Diri ak Pwa was similar to kenyan pilau. The only difference was that it was bean pilau.
We decided to make the Sos Pwa as an experiment. We discovered a new way of making beans, and could never have enough of it. You should try it and add coconut milk.