Ital stew with ginger cristophenes & Trinidadian green seasoning

Ital stew with ginger cristophenes & Trinidadian green seasoning

By
From
V is for Vegan
Serves
6

Continuing our journey around the world, let’s visit Jamaica and the Rastafarian community, where ‘ital’ means ‘vital’. Many words start with ‘i’ in the rastafarian dialect, to signify the unity of ‘I’ or ‘eye’ with God and nature. Rastas are mostly vegan; they try to live and eat naturally, with no processed food, sometimes no salt, using only clay or wood vessels. I made this stew for the funeral of my neighbours’ father who was a Rastafarian. Authentic Caribbean funerals have nine nights of mourning, a tradition that started in Africa. On the ninth night, food and over-proofed rum are provided, and towards midnight, the spirit of the deceased is ‘seen’. Family and friends sing, sending the spirit on its way.

You’ll need some great Caribbean ingredients here. Yam has many varieties, some of which are nicer than others (I’m not keen on the slimier ones). For some reason Americans refer to sweet potatoes as yams. Cookbook writer Catherine Phipps, who spent a few months in the Caribbean, says the only way to buy a genuine Scotch bonnet is to smell it. She digs her thumbnail in to get at the flesh (hoping the shopkeeper won’t notice!) and if it smells floral, it’s genuine. Most of the time in the UK, Scotch bonnets are actually habaneros. Christophenes are also known as cho-cho or chayote. I’ve seen all these ingredients in big supermarkets and ethnic shops.

I hope you all ‘overstand’ this recipe, as Rastas would say! (‘Understand’ is considered rather negative.) The Ginger Cristophenes and Trinidadian Green Seasoning are both over the page, and brilliant dishes in themselves.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons coconut oil
4 spring onions, chopped into 5 cm lengths
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
10 pimento berries
3 carrots, peeled and finely sliced into rounds
1 ripe plantain, peeled and cut into 2 cm slices
400 g tin blackeyed beans, drained
400 ml tin coconut milk
500ml vegetable stock
540 g tin callaloo
2 large purple or yellow yams, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths, (or 1 kg pumpkin, cut into thick slices)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
2 fresh corn cobs, kernels cut off
1 small, sturdy scotch bonnet
3 sprigs thyme
sea salt
handful coriander, chopped, to garnish

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Ginger christophenes
Trinidadian green seasoning

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the spring onions and garlic and fry until soft, then add the pimento berries, carrots and plantain. Stir, then add the black-eyed beans. Continue to cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, then add the coconut milk and vegetable stock, followed by the callaloo, yams or eddoes, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn and thyme.
  2. Add salt to taste and cook over a low heat for about 30–40 minutes or until the potatoes and yams are soft enough to pierce with a fork. 15 minutes before the end of cooking, add the whole Scotch bonnet. Check the seasoning before serving, garnished with coriander. Accompany with ginger cristophenes and Trinidadian green seasoning.
Tags:
Vegan
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