When I thought of Haiti before I took this class, I could hardly predict the Haitian culture was rich in terms of its cuisine. The inherent African tendencies in their music are also evident in how they cook they food. There was a lot of indigenous food to choose from. Seeing also that I had little experience in the kitchen with spices and other food elements, I sought a simple recipe that a novice chef like me could handle. God truly was gracious and I finally found my choice dishes. For a start, I tried to make:
Fried Green Plantains (Bannann Peze)
This was a real adventure for me because, for starters, I had never heard of Plantains ever in my life! Thank God for Google; whose search results to my surprise gave me images of green bananas!
For a while thought I had finally had my Eureka moment only to find out from a friend that Plantains are not the normal green bananas we have in the markets here in Kenya, not to mention where I was in school, Daystar Athi River Campus, Mavoko County.
With limited time to prepare the dish, and the realization that the key ingredient I needed was a rare one in my area. I opted to look for the closest this I could find to plantains. The recipe was a simple one; Plantains are a staple in pretty much every Haitian meal. The most common method of cooking plantains is frying them which can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. Fried plantains are usually served with other fried meats such as pork, chicken and goat. Here is a basic recipe if you are looking to learn how to cook Haitian food:
- 3 Green Plantains
- 1 tablespoon(s) Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon(s) Salt
- 1 teaspoon(s) Garlic Powder
- 1 cup(s) Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tostonera (Plantain Press)
- 1 cup(s) Hot Water
Heat Oil on medium high heat in a deep fryer or frying pan.
Peel plantains and angle cut each one into 5 equal pieces.
In a bowl add the hot water, vinegar, salt and set aside.
Lightly brown the plantains in the oil (Approximately 5 min).
Remove the plantains from the oil and flatten each plantain using the Tostonera.
Soak the flattened plantains in the hot water and carefully back in the oil for an additional 5 min.
Remove plantains from oil and place them on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
The journey to the market itself was another adventure; at least I had some help from my sister since I have never had to shop for so many Ingredients and I had no idea were to get them other than the malls in Athi River. I also learned of a new tool I’ve never heard of before called the Tostonera (Plantain Press).
Seeing that I could not find one to use I opted just to slice them into thin discs. This wonderful dish would not be complete without a salad to go with it. So I chose a delicious salad that has all the makings of Guacamole.
Haitian Avocado Salad (Salad Zaboka)
A Haitian Avocado Salad is a simple salad similar to guacamole. This dish can be served as a side or an appetizer when paired with fried plantains. Other ingredients such as shrimp, tomatoes or lobster can be added to create a unique dinning experience.
- 2 Avocados Peeled and cut in squares
- 1 Onion chopped
- 1/2 Lime juiced
- 1 Tsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
Cube the avocados and place them in a medium size bowl.
Chop the onions and place them in the same bowl.
Add the lime juice, olive oil, pepper, salt and lightly mix.
Serve as a side dish or with plantains as an appetizer.
All in all, Haitian Cuisine Rocks! I wouldn’t mind going there just for the cuisine and at least get to feel the full Haitian cultural experience, not to mention the beach.