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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A Favourite Baked Chicken "Recipe"

>> Thursday, 6 July 2017

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The title of this post is partially misleading because there is not a particular "recipe" for this dish of baked chicken. It came about years ago when I simply opened the kitchen cupboard, stood back, surveyed the sauces and then started adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I eyeball everything and then get in there with clean hands and mix everything together ensuring that the marinade gets into all parts of the chicken.

An overnight marinate guarantees juicy, flavorful meat and accompanying sauce. I know this word - umami - gets overused at times but it is absolutely true of this dish. Adding a heaping handful of sliced scallions/green onions just as the baking dish is pulled from the oven elevates the overall flavour, making the chicken even more appetizing. If I am entertaining, I serve this version of baked chicken with Vegetable Fried Rice or Egg Fried Rice but my preferred way to eat it, is with plain white rice and a wedge of macaroni pie with the sauce spooned over the rice. Slices of cool, crisp cucumbers served on the side along with a drizzle or two of hot pepper sauce completes the meal for me.

I make this dish over...

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...and over again.

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Here's how it is done.

INGREDIENTS




(I do not add salt because there is enough sodium in the sauces)

DIRECTIONS


  1. Rinse and pat dry the cut-up chicken and add to a large bowl.
  2. Add the ginger-garlic-pepper paste as well as the other sauces to suit your taste, along with the sesame oil.
  3. Working with clean hands, mix together the paste and sauces with the chicken ensuring that the chicken is properly coated.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container or bowl with a tight cover, or to a large zip bag, seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 18 hours.
  5. Bring the meat up to room temperature before cooking.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Arrange chicken in an ovenproof baking dish - preferably glass or ceramic. Pour the marinade over the chicken, push pieces of the meat aside so that the marinade gets in between the meat.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken has a rich deep colour.
  9. Remove the baked chicken from the oven, scatter half of the scallions over the chicken then spoon the sauce over the chicken (the scallions will run off and down into the dish, that's okay). Sprinkle the other half of the scallions and let the dish rest for 15 minutes before serving.


NOTES


  • You can choose to combine the sauces in a bowl, taste and adjust until it suits your taste then pour over the chicken. You may even determine that you need some added salt depending on your preference.
  • A few things to note about the sauces - the regular soy sauce is saltier than the dark soy sauce which is thicker with a hint of sweetness. The sweet soy sauce is sweet with subtle hints of salt. The oyster sauce is salty with caramel notes. The black vinegar is tart and helps to balance the sweet and salt of the other sauces when combined, go lightly. The fish sauce is salty.
  • I recommend a glass or ceramic dish because of the sugar content in the marinade; in a tin pan, it can stick and burn easily.

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Oil Down - Grenada's National Dish

>> Thursday, 29 June 2017

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Throughout the Caribbean one can find dishes similar to Oil Down. In Guyana, Mettagee quickly comes to mind. In Trinidad and Tobago, they make Oil Down too, the colour of their dish coming from the use of annatto seeds/achiote. In Jamaica, Run Down, a stew made of salted mackerel or fresh fish, and yams, cooked with fresh seasonings in lots of coconut milk, is served alongside dumplings and boiled breadfruit. Regardless of where you are in the region, these dishes are different yet similar; they are familiar but distinct, like us. To read more, about this dish and for a recipe, click on this link; the recipe is at the bottom of the page. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have questions.

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