Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pack it Up, Pack it In

Of all the food I ate in Barbados, I think my favorite (non-homemade) things were conkies and doubles. So I was super excited when T posted her conkies recipe and I got to test it for her upcoming cookbook, Vegan in the Sun.

T's step-by-step conkie photos are available at her blog (linked above), so I'm not going to go through all that. But there was one thing she didn't post a picture of that I thought was awesome: the banana leaf. Behold!
That's a microplane grater next to it, for scale. As you can see, it's freaking BIG. I bought them frozen at Kalustyan's, which is fast becoming one of my favorite stores. They have a massive selection of spices, flours and assorted other specialty items that you may need for Caribbean, Spanish, Indian, Asian...pretty much any cooking. Among other things, they sell whole, dried coconuts:
That's what the coconut looks like cut open. I grated the pumpkin onto a paper plate to make it easier to weigh as I went along.

Conkie is pretty much grated Calabaza pumpkin, coconut and sweet potato (the one that's closest to what they use in the Caribbean is called "batata" in my local shop), a nice, cinnamony spice blend and raisins, wrapped up in a banana leaf and steamed. T says it's a dessert, but I've been eating it for breakfast, because that's how I roll.

After that, I made T's Bajan Soup with Spiced Dumplings.
This is a GREAT soup. It's just a little spicy, and the pumpkin and sweet potatoes thicken it up a bit. The dumplings have cassia (a spice that's new to me; it's also in the conkies, comes in sticks like cinnamon, and I grated it by hand on the microplane. The house smelled wonderful) and nutmeg in them, which I thought would be kind of gross with the soup, but it wasn't. It all pulled together really well. Traditionally, this is a meaty soup, so I made the steamed white seitan from the upcoming Viva Vegan!, with a bit of Liquid Smoke thrown in.

I had the last portion of the soup for lunch yesterday and miss it already. I think it's going to become a staple in our house.


Vegan Fox said...

This looks extremely interesting. If I ever have the opportunity to make such things I will have to try. Any substitute ideas for the banana leaf?

Seitan Said Dance said...

I haven't tried it, but T suggests layering wax paper with tin foil if you can't get banana leaves.

Des Moines workers compensation said...

Wrapping things in banana leaves is a little annoying, but everything comes out so great!

jim said...