Okra/Ochroe Fried Rice

>> Thursday, 17 August 2017

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I don't know about you but I always find that the best tasting homemade Fried Rice is the one that you make when you are desperately hungry. It's the Fried Rice you make with whatever assortment of leftovers you have on hand. We are big rice eaters in the Caribbean so there is always the main ingredient - plain cooked rice leftover in the refrigerator - perfect to toss together for Fried Rice.

Apart from being ravenous after a day of errands and wanting something quick and easy to cook, the other inspiration for this dish came from Bamboo Fire Cafe in Delray Beach, Florida run by Guyanese husband and wife team - Beverly and Donald Jacobs. I visited with friends 3 years ago and apart from the Black Pudding, Souse, Garlic Shrimp, and smokey Eggplant Choka with Garlic bread, among other goodies, Beverly served us a platter of Okra Fried Rice. It was very tasty. As I said, my recipe draws inspiration from the original dish; I made it my way - Click here for the recipe.

This dish is excellent as a side dish but also wholesome as a vegetarian dish. For protein, I added some tenderly cooked eggs which I chopped up and tossed in in the final stages of cooking the dish.

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If you are squeamish about okra being in the Fried Rice and possible slime, don't be. Follow the directions in the recipe - slice the okra thinly and fry for a few minutes in very hot oil. The key is not to quickly turn the okra once it is in the pan, let it fry and crisp up before tossing. Work in batches if you are using a small frying pan.

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The full recipe can be found here.

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A Delicious Mash-up

>> Thursday, 27 July 2017

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Cassava/yucca plays a huge part in Caribbean cuisine especially in South America and it is my favourite ground provision. It is also one of those starches that works well for both sweet and savoury preparations. There is nothing quite like a warm thick slice of sweet cassava pone spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Some people add freshly ground black pepper for a kick... okay, I am getting distracted here. Back to these patties.

This is a mash-up of boiled, mashed cassava and frizzled salt fish seasoned with sautéed aromatics - onions, garlic, fresh herbs and hot peppers. The full recipe including cooking notes are here. These patties work as a snack or brunch-type food. Be sure to serve it with some hot pepper sauce, hot sauce or sour.

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Refreshing Lemongrass Iced Tea

>> Thursday, 20 July 2017

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Here in the Caribbean, when we make tea with lemongrass, it is usually hot tea, but this well-known grass that is widely used in the cuisines of Southeast Asian countries, makes excellent iced tea. The key is to let the tea steep for at least an hour for the rich citrus flavour to develop. Look at the colour of the tea - no teabags or traditional tea leaves were used to make this iced tea.

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A detailed recipe complete with notes can be found here. I highly recommend making this tea a day ahead of use so that you can truly enjoy it. This is not iced tea to be rushed. Do not forget to include thin slices of lime or lemon as the tea sits in the refrigerator.

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