Posts tagged “west indians

trini choka & sada roti

thcpimentogarlicfimg

Ok, so I’ve been blogging for a bit now and haven’t really showcased any authentic Trini food yet so I thought when better to start than right now?!

My husband is at home these days and that makes me extremely happy!  He loves Indian food (here in Trinidad we have our own brand of Indian food- West Indian- many dishes are derivatives of East Indian dishes brought here by the indentured East Indians and are still vastly popular today.  I can’t say that I know the exact history behind sada roti and choka, but I can certainly use my imagination to come up with a story.

thcdough

Sada roti is very similar to naan if you’ve ever had it.  The difference really is that sada is made in such a way that it ends up being a sort of ‘pocket’, similar to a pita pocket.  I suppose it was made that way in the past so that people could enjoy it as a sandwich, stuffed with a variety of fillings.  Today throughout Trinidad, it serves as a filling breakfast or lunch and is eaten every morning by many West Indians.
Here in Trinidad, when someone claims to be proficient at making sada the first question out of the listener’s mouth is “your sada does swell?” It’s sort of an enigmatic quality for those of us ‘occasional sada makers’.  Getting your sada to swell on the tawah (baking stone) is an accomplishment many fail to achieve- no matter how many years they are attempting! Impressively, my sada did in fact, swell!

thctawah sada on tawah thcsadaswells thcsadarotidetail

Choka is a term used to describe any vegetable that is prepared in a particular way- usually with heated oil, onions, garlic and a variety of spices.  Traditionally, vegetables like okro (okra), karili(bitter gourd), aloo (potato), tomatoes, bhigan/melongene(eggplant) and bodi(Chinese long beans) are used, but many others like saime, green figs and edoes are also very common.  It really depends on what you like and what you have! They are all prepared by either first roasting or sautéing the vegetable and then adding heated oil with garlic/onion.  There are many ways to prepare choka and I would gladly debate that there isn’t just one definitive method. Today I prepared ‘fry aloo and salt fish’

thc-tomatochokaing thcpotatoingredients

potato saltfish details

I would happily post the recipes for the items I cooked today if anyone comments with the desire to learn these Trinidadian dishes, however I felt like using this post as more of a ‘show and tell’ today rather than another recipe post.

thctomatochokadetail thcchokaroti2thcchokaroti1

I just couldn’t resist adding in the photo below; my little sweet baby couldn’t resist messing with my food set up, I found it adorable!

thcbehindtheshotdough


cilantro detoxifying smoothie

smoothie

So today I made a delicious smoothie and wanted to share the recipe with everyone.

It’s very simple and really, you can use whatever ingredients you like.  I’ve been reading a lot about juicing and its benefits and discovered that cilantro/coriander (very similar (although much more muted) to shadon beni/bandania found here in Trinidad) is a really good detoxifying herb.  Apparently many nutritionists use this herb (coupled with parsley) as the base of many of the ‘green smoothies/juices’ that are popular today as detox drinks.  I’m eager to try some smoothies with the shadon beni/bandania and have already thought up one using tomatoes- should taste like seasoned tomato juice!

Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh organic pineapple
1/2 berry mix- blue/black/raspberries
1 ripe starch mango (substitute with any sweet mango)-equals about 1 cup
10 cilantro stalks with leaves attached
1 red apple
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened, unprocessed pomegranate juice- Dewlands brand is good if you have access to it.

Method

Wash and roughly chop all the ingredients removing any seeds as applicable. Place all in the blender and pulse, adding juice as required. Blend or pour over ice if desired. Garnish with a strawberry/pineapple wedge and some cilantro leaves.  Enjoy!

Serving- 1 person~ 1 1/2 cups

Suggestion- Make this ahead of time using lots of frozen fruit of your choice and keep chilled. Perfect as an afternoon ‘pick me up from my blood sugar drop’ and perfect as a detoxifying agent.

smoothie detail


fruits and ginger sauce

fruit and oat bowl

Today was a very busy day in our household, well, not so much busy as hectic.  I didn’t get a lot of rest last night, in fact I’d say it reminded me of when my baby was a newborn.  My little one decided to stay up all night until the early hours of this morning and then wake up early!  Needless to say I woke up feeling like a train wreck!

Of course this meant that breakfast, lunch and dinner had to be quick and easy…

Today I had fruits and old-fashion rolled oats for breakfast.  Simple and delicious; I threw in apples, pawpaw, pomegranate, pineapple and strawberries.  That was all there was to it, yet the sweetness of the fruits and knowledge that I was doing something good for myself by having rolled oats was enough for me to feel satisfied until lunch.

fruit/oat breakfastfruit/oat close

For lunch I made Chinese style ginger chicken.  It’s super easy and really quick with very little prep time and cooking is a snap.  I’m focusing on this multi-use ginger sauce because the chicken or meat that accompanies this is really variable since it’s about how you’d like to prepare it.  I do it the traditional way- boiled or steamed because it’s quicker, healthier and no fuss.  But I’ve had it and prepared it roasted and pan fried.  It really doesn’t matter since the motive is the same- to have a bland tasting meat with an explosive sauce!
It works, it really does!  My way of ‘healthyfying’ the traditional recipe is to use extra virgin olive oil- it’s not really a huge adjustment, but it’s something and every little counts for something!  I ate the ginger chicken as a salad- Romaine lettuce, water cress, cilantro, sliced carrots, lemon juice all topped by slices of the steamed chicken and ginger paste- it was clean yet sharp, healthy yet satisfying.

ginger sauceoil being added

ginger sauce

The last thing I made today was a smoothie.  I’ve been trying to find ways to rid myself of all the junk I’ve been putting into my body over the last couple of years and reading a lot about juicing and its benefits.  After my last trip to the market I got some stocks so decided to make myself a refreshing smoothie.  I made mine with fresh strawberries, frozen berry mix(blueberries, raspberries and blackberries), a sweet starch mango, pomegranate juice (all natural, no additives or sugar), cilantro and some raw chia seeds.  It came out remarkably well!  The tanginess or the berries were so well balanced by the unique flavor of the cilantro and the sweetness of the mango was enough to have me wishing I had made more!

smoothie

smoothie detail

The ginger sauce and smoothie recipes are both very simple and can be viewed here.


baked fish platter

enoki

So yesterday I ventured to Othaheite here in Trinidad to purchase my fresh red snapper fish for lunch and today I’m posting the recipe with photos of the delicious lunch I prepared for my family.  For dessert I had a lovely, sweet persimmon fruit- it reminds me of sweet kymit (a Trini fruit, currently out of season; when it’s in season I’ll be sure to post photos).

fish lunch

I actually ‘borrowed’ the idea from my cousin whom I call from time to time when I want to get a different perspective.  I cook 2-3 meals each day and sometimes you want to use the same methods of cooking but you just want a bit of variety in ingredients.  Sometimes it’s about what you have, other times it’s about what you could think up!

fishseasoning

saute

I can say this, the freshness of the fish makes a huge difference in its flavor, so get the fish fresh once you can.  Forget the frozen stuff you find at the supermarket.  I would make just a couple of adjustments to the recipe the next time I make baked fish, so maybe you can try them and let me know how it works out? I found that having the olives and tomatoes in the sautéed vegetable mix was a bit too acidic and salty for me.  So next time I think I’ll choose just one or the other.  I chose to add in capers because I think it goes great with fish- it does, but again I thought with the olives the sauce was a bit too tart.  Now, usually I would add a touch of cream to the sauce once it’s done, I’m trying to eat clean so I chose to forego that option this time.  But I think if you had all of these ingredients the cream added at the very end would make the fish all the more tasty! I also took it upon myself to add in coriander and found that this was a great addition;  the sharpness of the coriander really balances out the mild, clean flavor of the red snapper.  All in all, I’d give this lunch an 8/10- not bad for something that too very little preparation and a really short cooking time!

final fish

Recipe

Ingredients

Approximately 1-2 lbs of freshly bought fish- try red snapper, white salmon, tuna or sea bass
10-12 Greek olives cut into halves
2 large tomatoes
1 Tbsp capers
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
5 button mushrooms
1/2 pack enoki mushrooms
Juice of 1 lemon plus a few wedges to serve
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat conventional oven at 450F or convectional oven at 350F. Slice onion and garlic cloves thinly. Cut tomatoes into large chunks- about 4 quarters/tomato. Cut olives into halves and button mushrooms into quarters.  Slice off the bottom of the enoki mushrooms.  Heat oil in flat bottomed pan on high heat and add in the onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent. Lower heat to medium.  Add mushrooms, tomatoes, olive and capers.  When soft, remove from heat.  While cooking the vegetables, cut slits into cleaned fish.  Add salt, black pepper and lemon juice ensuring that they penetrate the slit fish.  Pour vegetable mixture over fish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked.  Serve hot.

Serving- 2 persons

Suggestions- Serve hot with green salad, roasted potatoes or brown rice pilaf.

persimmon


visiting a local fishing village

conches2

So today I was able to go to a couple of places and get a few things done.  I went to Trinidad’s main ‘member shopping store’ called Pricesmart.  Basically, this store was the first ever in Trinidad and Tobago and is still largely popular.  I can’t think, off the top of my head, whether there are other places like this in T&T…hmmm, I wonder?

pricesmart

pricesmart complex

Anyway, we went there to do some shopping- get our laundry detergent, a few vegetables that ran out and other little monthly requirements.  For the Trinibagonians reading this, I’m sure you would be glad to see a couple of photos of familiar territory!  I hope so anyway.  I’m always happy to see my home country when I’m away!

IMG_4806

So, after shopping there we went to this fishing village called Othaheite.  It’s located in south-west Trinidad and found at the junction of the Oropouche river and the Gulf of Paria(see RED arrow on Trinidad map below courtesy caribbean-on-line.com).The water looks quite brown and muddy since the river opens out into the sea- but the abundance of fish is the trade off!  I’ve been there a few times and find it quite rewarding to visit the local fishermen, hear their interesting stories and learn more about our fish.  It’s really very enlightening- I learn something new every time I go there to purchase our fish.

Trinidad Map-from caribbean-on-line.com

on the way

To get to Othaheite we have to pass the ‘Mosquito Creek’ where a crematorium- open air- is located.  I tried to take a few snaps, but unfortunately(or maybe fortunately) was unsuccessful.

othaheite parking

Othaheite bay

I ended up buying two small ‘red fish/snapper’- I don’t know the proper names of the fish, just the Trini names.  Among the fish I spotted some conchs/lambe.  They are delicious! Almost every island that I’ve been to has a special way of preparing these little sea ‘gems’, in Trinidad we prefer them curried.  I can’t say they are as popular here as they are in say Martinque, Guadeloupe, Grenada or other islands- I don’t know why!

king fish fish conches

my red fish being cleaned

Perhaps the only thing that I’m always bit surprised and disappointed about is the lack of proper storage.  Despite these fishermen saying that they’ve caught these fish ‘just a few hours ago’, I just wonder why keeping them on ice isn’t promoted more.  I guess we’re all so accustomed to purchasing fish like this that maybe it doesn’t bother us too much? But I’m always pretty careful about what I purchase and from where…I think you have to be.  So it makes me want to ask you, would you purchase fish/sea food that’s not being stored on ice?


am I vain enough?

Today is a brand new day and I feel ready to go.  I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I had planned in the last couple weeks, but today I feel like I’m going to just do it.  I must!

mayaro

Mayaro

I’ve been hunting around online looking here and there at different things and I came across a really good song by a popular band down here in Trinidad.  I loved the video and thought I’d share it with you all.  The band is called Kes the band and they produce a good amount of ‘listen worthy’ music.  I particularly liked their song called Tuesday on the Rocks.  It’s really mellow but has a great ‘time to feel good about myself vibe’.

One of the things that I guess didn’t make me feel too great while watching their video is how ‘non-bikini ready’ my body is.  You see these beautiful women looking great and obviously enjoying themselves and I just thought to myself ‘girl, you need to get yourself in order!’.  But then I think ‘am I vain enough?’ I mean, who cares that I can’t wear a bikini at this exact moment? And if I did wear one would I look that bad? 

You know, I think that people who aren’t from the Caribbean or who have never visited the Caribbean think that life down here must be just like that video by Kes the band.  I know when I lived abroad, people thought that we wore bikinis all day long and drank from coconut shells. Well, we do!  Ha, just kidding.  I think people would be shocked to see what we do have- you’d be shocked at what we don’t have as well- and how we live.

Most of us don’t live on/near to a beach- the beaches are ‘far’ for us and most of us are just plain silly not to!  If you could believe it, we’d rather live in convoluted cities!  We drink coconut water but it’s not from the shell (at least not the majority of times) we get our coconut water the good old fashioned way- we buy it in bottles from Hilo or some other grocery and we live in concrete houses!

coconuts

But maybe one of the things that really makes us a bit different- and there are many things unique to Trinidad and Tobago- is that we’re not that against women having a little extra meat on their bones.  I’ve found that this works for me!  The women are beautiful, I mean seriously!  The ethnic varieties are endless and the meshing of races make for exotic beauties that can only be described as ‘Trini’.  Maybe it’s our unique looks and nondescript race that makes me feel like I look ‘good enough’? I don’t know but I just don’t see my extra weight as too much of a problem but then maybe it’s just because I’m not vain enough to see the flaws!

 


this is pastelle

pastelle

So, as I posted earlier today I ate a really great breakfast; now I want to talk about lunch.  Not my lunch, my husband’s (I ate a really boring salad today, very simple-greens and a couple of vegetables tossed in- this is much more interesting).

pastelle lunch

sparkling water

So what is a pastelle?

Pastelles are a traditional Christmas food of Trinidad and Tobago.  We learned about them from our Venezuelan neighbours and subsequently put our own take on them.  They are essentially ‘meat parcels’.  They are made by encasing a variety of meats in a cornmeal dough, steamed and enjoyed.  That’s the simple definition of a pastelle- the reality is pastelles, like all things worth something, take a great deal of work to prepare.  But they are worth every minute spent in oil and every single of their 400 calories!

IMG_4763 upclose pastelle

How are pastelles made?

I am not including a full recipe on this post now but will definitely put one in the Recipes section as soon as I’m able to. I will however include an outline of the process.  As aforementioned, they are made of meat and cornmeal.  In essence, the meat of your choice is prepared first- popular meats include ground beef(called mince meat in T&T), pork and chicken.  Vegetarian alternatives do exist and include those being made from soya, lentils/legumes, fish, shrimp and vegetables.  Personally, the meat pastelles are my favorite but they are the only ones I’ve ever tried.  After the meat is cooked, olives, capers and raisins are added. The cornmeal is then prepared into a soft dough using butter, oil, water, sugar and salt.  This dough will then be pressed onto a fig leaf using a pastelle press and filled with the prepared meat, folded, wrapped in foil and steamed/boiled.

detail pas

What does it taste like?

Heaven! Ha, no but seriously, I’ve heard comparisons made between pastelles and tamales.  I’ve never tried a tamale so personally can’t make the judgement.  I can tell you this though, no two pastelles taste the same. Everyone has their own special way of making them and sometimes you can come across one that’s terrible- I’ve had a few of them, but thankfully they weren’t many.

berry

If ever you get the opportunity to sample a good Trini pastelle, please do not hesitate to try it. You will be happy you did!

lemon


paw paw dreams

Hi all!

Started my day off right today- except for the lack of sleep and major tiredness!  Felt like having a clean fresh breakfast this morning, no fuss.
pawpaw seed

I don’t know how many people are aware that papaya is called pawpaw here in Trinidad-not sure about the rest of the Caribbean, but maybe.  Anyway, if you’ve never had it you simply must! Pawpaw is one of my favorite fruits- it’s sweetness is delicate especially when eaten chilled, it’s texture soft and melty, it’s scent?  Well, that’s a bit of a put off.  It smells kind of like vomit or hot buttered popcorn being cooked.  Many people don’t like it because of it’s strong scent, but it only ever bothered me when I was a small child.  My child loves it though! pawpaw breakfast

So, I cut my pawpaw this morning-the remainder goes into the fridge until tomorrow morning- I added some diced pineapples, threw in some raw old-fashioned rolled oats and a few sliced almonds and voilabreakfast! Really simple, really healthy and really delicious!

pawpaw bowlpawpaw details

 


fishy smells and dirty toes

So in my last post I showed some photos from my market trip.  If you remember in one of my earlier posts ‘my 7 simple ‘musts’ for getting healthy and staying healthy’ I mentioned that I wanted to eat more fish?

moonshine

Well at the Marabella market you can find a wide variety of fish- king fish, sharks, moonshine, carite, cascadura, shrimps, even crabs(mmm, I can taste the crab and dumpling)and more.  I usually go on Sundays and purchase the fish I feel like trying and then cook it immediately; I really don’t like leaving fish for longer than a day in the fridge so I try to purchase and cook the same day.

sharkcascadura

Some of the vendors don’t keep their fish under the right conditions and in this blistering heat I think the fish are at risk of rotting pretty quickly.  So, I’m really careful about who I buy from.  There’s a guy named Ravi who sells at the back of this fish section; his fish is always fresh and kept in a freezer/cooler with lots of ice.  Packing fish on ice is a MUST.  Some of the photos I got today show a little less than favorable conditions, but who am I to judge?  Some of these people get off their fishing boats and come straight to the market and I suppose the turnover is fast enough that it’s safe.

shrimps

bluecrab

What amazed me about the trip to the market- and this is probably only the second time ever I’ve gone to photograph the stalls and bustling activity there- is that the vendors, well not just the vendors, but everyone, is so keen on being photographed! You cannot help but be warmed by their generosity to share themselves.  I haven’t included their images because I am after all, thehiddencook!  However, that doesn’t make me any less impressed and grateful to them for sharing their time and a part of themselves with me.  So, thank you!


trip to the market

seasoning

Today is Sunday.  It’s market day for us- in my family at least.  It’s the first time I’m taking my little one.  We go to the Marabella market located in South Trinidad.  It’s vibrant colors and characteristic scents remind me of when I myself was a little one and I’d go with my mother.  I always loved it.  The people, the colors, the chatter, the produce.  It’s about getting in touch with the real Trinibagonians, the people who we seldom think about; those kind folk who choose to make their livelihoods toiling away beneath the blistering sun so that we-you and I- could taste and sample only the freshest crops.  I admire them. I love them.  They are my people.

pumpkinpiccassavatomatoes dasheen bushshattine pumpkinmosaicmarket

Everything looked enticing and fresh today at the market and I’m keen to see what recipes I come up with during the week!


trip to the market

seasoning

Today is Sunday.  It’s market day for us- in my family at least.  It’s the first time I’m taking my little one.  We go to the Marabella market located in South Trinidad.  It’s vibrant colors and characteristic scents remind me of when I myself was a little one and I’d go with my mother.  I always loved it.  The people, the colors, the chatter, the produce.  It’s about getting in touch with the real Trinibagonians, the people who we seldom think about; those kind folk who choose to make their livelihoods toiling away beneath the blistering sun so that we-you and I- could taste and sample only the freshest crops.  I admire them. I love them.  They are my people.

pumpkinpiccassavatomatoes dasheen bushshattine pumpkinmosaicmarket

Everything looked enticing and fresh today at the market and I’m keen to see what recipes I come up with during the week!


my 7 simple ‘musts’ for getting healthy and staying healthy

I recently came up with these little gems to help me along the way to an healthier me.  I’m sick of hearing about low carb, fat free, grapefruit, blood type blah blah blah… I mean, seriously?  I’ve never tried any of those and I pray that I’ll never need to!

I just want to simplify things for myself. I want to be able to think like somebody who has never had any weight issues or problems. So, I came up with a few things that I want to do for me.  I hope you find them useful in some way.

fresh veges

My Seven Simple ‘Musts’ to getting healthy and staying healthy

  1. I must never eat while watching TV- in fact, never eat and do anything else besides eat.  Too many times I’m so distracted by what’s going on on TV that I seldom remember what I’ve eaten or how much I’ve eaten!
  2. I must center my meals around vegetables.  I’ll admit, I plan my meals around the meats that I have in my freezer or being chilled in the fridge, I’m planning to reverse this.
  3. I must exercise every single day. Now, this can be anything- a walk or stroll, picking up after by baby, scrubbing bathroom floors- it doesn’t matter. It just has to be for an extended period of time (my aim each day is 45 minutes-broken up into smaller portions if necessary).
  4. If I must snack, it’ll have to be on fresh fruit and the odd nut.
  5. I must drink at least 12 glasses of water/day.
  6. I must eat more fish- this one is easy, I live on an island!
  7. I must look in the mirror and see the positives about myself even when it’s hard to ignore the negatives. We all need to love ourselves just a little bit more, then maybe it would be easier to accept our minor faults so that we’d be more willing to change them(and no, I’m not referring to sagging stomachs or arm flab, I mean our internal faults too)

so what? my stomach shakes!

stomach shakes

Ok so this is the reason I created and thought up this site in the first place- no, not my stomach in particular, but close…

I’m pretty fed up of the fact that I need to drop some pounds.  I’ve gained quite a bit of weight over the last few years and I feel a bit bogged down, well, really bogged down.  You know as you get older it really does become a lot more difficult to lose weight and take control of that aspect of your life.  You have children, a career and a host of other things to think about, so little by little you notice that the things that you had the time to deal with or concentrate on just sort of lose priority.  It’s sad honestly, but it’s true.

I don’t believe that women just let themselves go.  I think we just start to view things as important because things become important, things that weren’t there before.  It’s been very very difficult for me to shift weight of late.  I’ve tried many things- within reason, I can say with pride that I don’t jump from one thing to the next every other Monday just because I’ve tried something one Saturday and switched it up by Sunday, I’m pretty consistent;  which is what bothers me.  You know, one week I’d be losing weight smoothly and then as my body prepares for her monthly visitor I gain it back!  Then somewhere along the way I think I just become so disenchanted by the fact that the numbers keep fluctuating between two set points that I just feel like giving up. It’s just frustrating.

I’ve been conscientiously trying for the last 2 weeks now to look at my lifestyle and to modify it.  There must be something that I’m doing wrong, or not good enough, or maybe I’m just not doing the good stuff hard enough or for long enough? I don’t know, but I’m determined to find out.

Anyway, I’m not in the business of talking about every little flaw I have because I choose not to degrade myself that way.  I know I’ll feel better soon enough, I just need to put in the work!

So what? My stomach shakes! Big deal.  I need to get over that because I walk around feeling like everyone notices it. Like I am scorned for having a flabby, post baby belly.  Maybe they are but then again, maybe they’re not!  More than that, who doesn’t have an issue?


soy sauce baked chicken salad

soy sauce board

Ok, now one of my favorite types of chicken is stewed chicken- called ‘stew chicken‘ here in Trinidad & Tobago.  Now, the thing with stew chicken is that it’s quite rich and sweet- that’s probably why it tastes so good!  It’s old-fashioned food, it’s comfort food, it’s food that goes well with almost everything.  Some West Indians eat it with roti, others choose rice and some even eat it with pasta-perhaps I remember this being eaten more when I was a student?  The point is, it’s good.  But, as with all good food there’s a trade off.  This is no exception.  Stew chicken or beef or pork or shrimp, any kind of stew is made with oil and sugar and some people make it with coconut milk.  Sure, you can make it with smaller amounts of these  ingredients, but it somehow just doesn’t taste the same; the way mama used to make it.  So I’ve come up with a way to almost fool myself into believing I’m eating stew chicken.  It’s not stew chicken; there’s no comparison; but I have to do something that’s healthier while still giving me that caramelized goodness of stew chicken done right.

So, this is my take.

about

Recipe

This salad is simple and mild yet refreshing. The citrus of your choice adds a dash of sweetness to the meat without adding the extra calories of a traditional dressing.  The crisp carrots and lettuce leaves add texture to an already flavorful meal.  I prefer to stay away from local Trini lettuce for this recipe simple because it tends to have a slightly bitter after-taste, hence I chose Romaine for my salad. The citrus I chose for my dressing was tangelo- an hybrid between an orange and and a grapefruit, it was sweet and delicious and gave the salad a crisp, clean taste. Choose premium dark soy sauce since the flavor is a bit muted compared to regular soy sauce.

Ingredients        

1/4 whole chicken- or piece(s) that you prefer
1 Tbsp premium dark soy sauce
1 sprig of French thyme
2 garlic cloves
1-2 pimento peppers-I prefer the red ones
2 Tbsp chopped chives
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small carrot
2 cups Romaine lettuce/Boston/Local Trini lettuce
Juice of 1/2- 1 whole fresh orange/portugal/grapefruit
Salt and black pepper to taste
Method

Preheat oven at 350F. Slice or grate garlic cloves thinly or on the smallest side of the grater.  Season chicken pieces with soy sauce*. Remove the leaves of the thyme sprigs and slice the pimento peppers.  Add 1 Tbsp (reserve 1 Tbsp for garnish)chopped chives, pimentos, thyme and garlic to soy sauce chicken. In a thick bottomed sauté pan heat olive oil over high heat. Add seasoned chicken. Let the chicken brown for about 2 minutes on each side, just until golden brown.  Off heat, remove pan and place in oven at 3o0F for about 20 minutes or until cooked.

Salad Assembly

Chop 2 cups of lettuce leaves. Thinly slice carrot into 1/4 inch thick sticks. Arrange in a salad bowl. Squeeze 1/2 citrus of your choice over salad components. Add salt and black pepper if desired.  Place cooked chicken on top of salad and garnish with chopped chives. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serving size- 1 person.

Suggestions– Can be served with stir fried vegetables, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or mixed rice and a small green salad.

*This step can be done from the day before and stored overnight in the refrigerator for stronger flavor.

chicken close

soy sauce chicken salad


soy sauce baked chicken salad

soy sauce board

Ok, now one of my favorite types of chicken is stewed chicken- called ‘stew chicken‘ here in Trinidad & Tobago.  Now, the thing with stew chicken is that it’s quite rich and sweet- that’s probably why it tastes so good!  It’s old-fashioned food, it’s comfort food, it’s food that goes well with almost everything.  Some West Indians eat it with roti, others choose rice and some even eat it with pasta-perhaps I remember this being eaten more when I was a student?  The point is, it’s good.  But, as with all good food there’s a trade off.  This is no exception.  Stew chicken or beef or pork or shrimp, any kind of stew is made with oil and sugar and some people make it with coconut milk.  Sure, you can make it with smaller amounts of these  ingredients, but it somehow just doesn’t taste the same; the way mama used to make it.  So I’ve come up with a way to almost fool myself into believing I’m eating stew chicken.  It’s not stew chicken; there’s no comparison; but I have to do something that’s healthier while still giving me that caramelized goodness of stew chicken done right.

So, this is my take.

about

Recipe

This salad is simple and mild yet refreshing. The citrus of your choice adds a dash of sweetness to the meat without adding the extra calories of a traditional dressing.  The crisp carrots and lettuce leaves add texture to an already flavorful meal.  I prefer to stay away from local Trini lettuce for this recipe simple because it tends to have a slightly bitter after-taste, hence I chose Romaine for my salad. The citrus I chose for my dressing was tangelo- an hybrid between an orange and and a grapefruit, it was sweet and delicious and gave the salad a crisp, clean taste. Choose premium dark soy sauce since the flavor is a bit muted compared to regular soy sauce.

Ingredients        

1/4 whole chicken- or piece(s) that you prefer
1 Tbsp premium dark soy sauce
1 sprig of French thyme
2 garlic cloves
1-2 pimento peppers-I prefer the red ones
2 Tbsp chopped chives
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small carrot
2 cups Romaine lettuce/Boston/Local Trini lettuce
Juice of 1/2- 1 whole fresh orange/portugal/grapefruit
Salt and black pepper to taste
Method

Preheat oven at 350F. Slice or grate garlic cloves thinly or on the smallest side of the grater.  Season chicken pieces with soy sauce*. Remove the leaves of the thyme sprigs and slice the pimento peppers.  Add 1 Tbsp (reserve 1 Tbsp for garnish)chopped chives, pimentos, thyme and garlic to soy sauce chicken. In a thick bottomed sauté pan heat olive oil over high heat. Add seasoned chicken. Let the chicken brown for about 2 minutes on each side, just until golden brown.  Off heat, remove pan and place in oven at 3o0F for about 20 minutes or until cooked.

Salad Assembly

Chop 2 cups of lettuce leaves. Thinly slice carrot into 1/4 inch thick sticks. Arrange in a salad bowl. Squeeze 1/2 citrus of your choice over salad components. Add salt and black pepper if desired.  Place cooked chicken on top of salad and garnish with chopped chives. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serving size- 1 person.

Suggestions– Can be served with stir fried vegetables, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or mixed rice and a small green salad.

*This step can be done from the day before and stored overnight in the refrigerator for stronger flavor.

chicken close

soy sauce chicken salad