So today we ventured back to Marabella market to pick up a few essentials. It’s a bit unusual for us to go during the week since we typically go on Sundays, but I had a craving for some fresh citrus and some sweet, ripe plantains.
I’m sure there is a lot of information out there about plantains and indeed I’ve come across many people from Europe and the US who enjoy their unique taste especially when fried as many islanders do. Plantains can really jazz up the most boring dishes by adding that touch of sweetness to counter the savory dishes we prepare, providing a sort of ‘dessert’ like feel to any dish. It’s particularly good when fried in a small bit of oil and eaten with plain white bread or sada roti. When we lived abroad and couldn’t always get access to the sweetest kinds I’d have to settle for half ripe ones or try to artificially ‘ripe’ them by leaving them in black plastic bags-sometimes it worked! But preparation for the ripe vs the green plantains are a bit different. The ripe ones are easily fried (with or without a batter) while the green ones are preferable when making salted plantain chips – similar to potato chips. It really just depends on what you’d like to try and what you’re feeling for. Also, one thing to note about plantains is that of the color of their skin: the ripe ones are yellow with black marks- the riper the plantain the darker and more abundant the marks- the green ones are well, just that, green.
The other item in my market haul that may be unfamiliar to non-west Indians is the portugal (puttigal). It belongs to the citrus family and is eaten in a similar way to oranges and grapefruits- the skin is exceedingly easy to remove and the pegs are removed and enjoyed. I’m sure at some point I’ll have to do a ‘spotlight’ on the portugal or as we say here in Trinidad- the puttigal. It’s sweetness and distinct scent and flavor makes it easy to differentiate from grapefruits and oranges and in the US/Europe can be likened to mandarins and tangerines. We use it to make ‘saga boy’ mojitos down here in Trinidad and believe me when I tell you, it makes the best tasting mojito you will ever have!
I also purchased some lemons today since I’m planning on making some more fish this week. The lemons here are roughed skin and not that typical ‘lemon-y’ color associated with lemons in the US say. Likewise, oranges in the Caribbean aren’t orange! Their color is very similar to that of a portugal or even a white grapefruit, but their sweetness isn’t dependent on the color of their skins.
The mango is large- as you can see from the photos! It’s called a ‘red mango’ (not to be confused with one of Trinidad’s many roadside snacks ‘red mango preserve’. This mango is so sweet and tasty, I myself was a bit skeptical since it was quite firm to the touch. I paid $TT20 for 3 of them- that’s actually a lot in terms of mangos considering half of us on the island have mango trees in our back yards! But I wanted to try it, especially in my smoothies. I don’t regret it!
Of course, my kymit (cayemite) and pawpaw are starring as usual- two of my favorite fruits!
So with some of the market goods I made another detoxifying smoothie- this time with cilantro, parsley, pineapples and chia seeds. It was really refreshing and I must say I really enjoy the taste of these herbs in a drink form! I find them fresh and clean and the smoothies are always so satisfying- which surprises me!
I hope this market haul serves to inform about some of the delicious fruits and vegetables we have here in Trinidad and that when you come to the islands you wouldn’t be hesitant to try any or all of them
Ok so this is the story- in Trinidad and Tobago we speak our own English language and many of our words are derivatives of other words from other country’s languages- French, Spanish, British English, Portuguese, Chinese, Hindi languages etc- hence sometimes we really don’t know the true pronunciation of a word. It’s really difficult to explain this to people who aren’t Trini/Caribbean but I’m sure if you’re a Trini and reading this you would understand!
So, today I’m talking about a Trinidadian fruit called kymit (cayemite). I found some information regarding cayemite which is quite popular and widely eaten in Haiti. The fruit is also referred to as the ‘milk fruit’ in Asia and is grown in Cambodia and Vietnam. I don’t know how other Trinis would spell kymit, but I’m spelling it exactly the way we say it down here in Trinidad.
If you read one of my entries entitled ‘baked fish platter‘ I spoke about persimmon fruit and it’s similarity to kymit. For those who have never tasted persimmon fruit (also called Kaki, Sharon fruit or Caqui- native in Japan, China and Burma) I will attempt to describe the taste of kymit without comparing it to persimmon fruit.
The fruit is usually purple or green in its ripened state. They are grown on large trees and found in various areas throughout Trinidad. The edible portion on the inside is usually composed of alternating layers of a clear gelatinous flesh with a milky cream/white flesh(in the green variety) or purple flesh(purple variety). Both types taste exactly the same. The gelatinous portions taste very similar to sweet coconut jelly- the ‘younger’ coconuts. The fleshy opaque portions taste sweet and creamy and the fruit itself contains a sort of ‘milk’ that gets stuck to the sides of your mouth and tongue making it feel a bit tangled! The seeds aren’t edible and are usually found in the fleshy opaque parts of the fruit. When cut in cross section the gelatinous internal aspect of the fruit forms the shape of a 9 pointed star. The fruit is about the size of an average orange and when not fully ripened can be squeezed or rolled on a hard surface to ‘loosen’ the milky juices(similar to how you might roll a lemon on the kitchen counter so that most of it’s juice could be more easily extracted when cut and squeezed).
The best way to eat a kymit is to use a spoon to scoop out the insides since the skin is thick and the areas closer to the skin aren’t particularly tasty or edible. If you do get the ‘milk’ stuck to your mouth a quick rub with baby oil does the trick of removing it. The fruit is best eaten when soft, (easily squeezed) ripe and chilled.
I grew up eating kymit and have it on my list of favorite local fruits. Every time I spot them being sold at the sides of the road or at the market I simply must indulge. If ever you’re in Trinidad and see one do not hesitate to try it- chilling it only improves its sweet, jelly-like texture and taste!