>> Thursday, 26 November 2015
Put away the food processor. Despite it being a very useful piece of equipment, it cannot do the necessary job when it comes grating the ingredients to make Conkies, aka Paime, Sweet Dumplings, Duckanoo and Tie-a-leaf. The best equipment? A large box grater.
The box grater shreds the coconut into short, thin, tiny strands that melt into the Conkie mixture. The sweet, orange pumpkin (calabaza) and sweet potatoes, when grated become smooth and moist with their own juices. Conkies is a texture thing. When the ingredients are mixed together with spices and raisins, this dumpling turns into an all-time favourite, but especially so at Independence in Barbados.
I ain't gonna lie. It's a lot of work but when you have company helping, it's a time for bonding and good-natured teasing. But most of all, it is fun!
When all the grating and mixing is complete, bananas leaves are made pliable by passing them over an open flame and wiping them clean. I chose black and white for this image so that you can see the shine on the leaves once they are prepped.
The final stage is to wrap portions of the Conkie mixture into beautiful packages, and place them in a pot to steam until cooked and fragrant.