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Spice up your Holiday Meal with Caribbean Favorites

ny_polite family
AARP's Dionne Polite (pictured second from left) shares a warm moment with her family this holiday.

Nothing says love more than cooking for friends and family during the holiday season.  If you are looking for just the right holiday recipe to make this year, try some of these delicious Caribbean desserts to add some island flavor to your dinner table.  Some of my favorite recipes from my mother and grandmother that remind me of growing up in Guyana are phulourie and cassava pone.  Phulourie, also called bara is, a great appetizer dish to serve at parties with mango chutney or tamarind sauce and is a favorite at Christmas, Thanksgiving and all family gatherings.  Cassava pone is a sweet dessert, but is somewhat like a bread, and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner during the holidays. From my table to yours…Enjoy!

Phulourie: otherwise known as Bara , this is a great appetizer dish to serve at parties with mango chutney or tamarind sauce.  It is a favorite at Christmas, Thanksgiving and all family gatherings.

Ingredients:

1 hot pepper (seeded and chopped) – or if you don’t want to be too adventurous, just use two tablespoons of pepper sauce

6 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of split pea flour

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of ground cumin

¼ teaspoon of dried thyme

1 teaspoon of garam masala

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

In a blender, combine the hot pepper, garlic, split pea flour, water, salt, cumin, thyme and garam masala.  Blend on high speed until the mixture is thoroughly combined (no more than 1½ minutes).    Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and whisk in the baking powder.

To determine if the batter is ready for frying, place a drop of it in a glass of cold water.  If the batter floats, then it’s ready for frying.  If it sinks, whip more air into the batter and retest.

Pour oil into a large skillet over medium heat to a depth of at least one inch.  Drop the batter (tablespoon size) one at a time and fry until golden brown (no more than 3 minutes).  Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven until all the batter is fried.  Serve with mango chutney or tamarind sauce (either can be purchased from an ethnic store {Caribbean/West Indian or East Asian} for dipping…YUMMY!!

 

Cassava Pone:  This cassava dish is a sweet dessert, but somewhat like a bread, and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner during the holidays.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups of sweet cassava, peeled and finely grated, or you can use 1 cup of cassava meal

1 cup of grated coconut

1 cup of sugar

½ teaspoon of ground or freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3 tablespoons of butter or margarine – melted

1 cup of evaporated milk

½ cup of raisins (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch square baking dish

Combine the cassava and coconut in a large mixing bowl.  Add sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, raisins, vanilla and butter and mix well.  Gradually mix in enough milk to form a thick batter.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake until the top is browned (should be firm when you push down) which should be about 1 ¼ hours.  Let cool then cut into slices and serve.

 

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