As a child, whenever my grandmother would cook Oil down, my mother would end up having to cook something different for me to eat. At the time I couldn’t understand all the provision being muddled together in a pot as opposed to being separately cooked and being able to pick and choose which ones you wanted on your plate.
It was only as I got older and dared to be adventurous in the food arena that I really appreciated this dish. I was volunteering at a Health Fair, about four years back, and when lunch time came around Oil down was on the menu (Vegan of course). So, I decided to try this dish once more. I was smitten by the flavors: the rich creamy coconut coming through, the hint of local seasonings, and the perfectly cooked ground provision (cassava, dasheen, etc).
Since then, whenever it was cooked at home, I had no qualms eating it whatsoever.
So it came as no surprise that I had a craving for it yesterday. Even though I didn’t have all of the main ground provision ingredients, I didn’t let that stop me since I still had cassava, carrots, fresh local seasonings and coconut milk of course! I also threw in some red beans for my protein.
I started by getting the red beans on to boil. The red beans I used were the dried version that I soaked overnight and the following day I stored them in the freezer so they really came in handy for this dish.
While the beans were cooking for the first 10-15 minutes, I had the carrots steaming as I really didn’t want them to be too soft in the Oil down.
Afterward, I added some Trini seasonings (local celery, chive, etc), coconut milk and sea salt. When this came back to a boil I added the cassava and cooked until tender. Just before I took the pot off I added some more celery, chive, dried ginger, onion powder, and salt. I tossed in the carrots and the dish was done and ready to be served.
Here’s the recipe which I hope you will enjoy:
2 lbs frozen cassava (you can used the frozen logs or the frozen cubes)
2 cups red beans**
14 oz coconut milk
2 1/2 cups of water
4 teaspoons dried ginger
2 stalks local celery, minced
2 stalks chive, minced
3 teaspoons granulated onion powder
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 pimento peppers, seeded and sliced
Sea Salt to taste
– Steam carrots to desired texture and set aside
– In a pot, bring to boil 2 cups of water and 2 cups of red beans**. Let this cook for about 10-15 minutes*
– Next, add the coconut milk and half of the dried ginger, celery, chive, onion powder, garlic, pimento peppers and a little sea salt. Bring to boil
– Carefully add frozen cassava logs or cubes and cook until tender
– When desired tenderness is reached add in remainder of seasonings, 1/2 cup of water and carrots
– Take off heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes
– Serve and enjoy
** Fresh red beans are not only more flavorful than their tinned/canned companions but they also have a lot less sodium. If you don’t have access to fresh red beans then purchase a pack of the dried version instead. Want to know how to prepare dried red beans for easy cooking? Click here
* I like my beans with some texture so I didn’t use a pressure cooker for them or cook them for too long
TIP: If the mixture is too thick you can add a little extra water until desired consistency is reached
Quinoa is produced by a number of different brands. The brand featured in my photo below can be purchased at both Hi-Lo Foodstores and Tru-Valu supermarkets, specifically the Westmoorings and Diamond Vale branches respectively.
This Vegan spicy spinach dip is easy to make and can be a real crowd pleaser at get-togethers.
Serve hot or cold, with whole wheat crackers, on pasta or on its own.
Here’s my spicy spinach dip recipe.
Spicy Spinach Dip recipe
1 pack of frozen whole leaf spinach (450 grams)
½ cup water
¾ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (fine)
2 teaspoons granulated onion powder
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 pimento peppers (seeded)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes (optional)
– In a saucepan, add frozen chopped spinach and ½ cup water and 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
– Bring to boil
– Once the mixture has begun to boil, add ¾ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (fine), 2 teaspoons granulated onion powder, 2 pimento peppers (seeded), ½ teaspoon dried basil, and 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast flakes
– Stir well and let cook for a further 5-7 minutes
– Turn off heat
– Pour spinach mixture into your food processor or blender
– Next, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to mixture and blend well
– Empty contents into serving bowl and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes.
Red mango is a local favorite fruit preserve. Sweet, tangy, rich in color, with a hint of spice: this treat is irresistible.
I decided to create my own healthier version without all the food coloring and preservatives.
I also used beets to get that beautiful dark red coloring.
Here’s my version of the popular Red Mango.
Candied Mango with Beets (a.k.a Red Mango) Recipe:
500 grams frozen chopped green mango (just over 1 lb)
2 cups beets (roughly chopped – leave skins on)
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 dried Bay leaves
10 dried cloves
Squeeze of lemon (optional)
– In a medium sized pot, add 500 grams frozen chopped green mango, 2 cups beets (roughly chopped), 5 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups brown sugar, 2 dried Bay leaves, 10 dried cloves and bring to boil.
– When mixture has begun to boil, continue to boil uncovered for about 1 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally (or until mango and beets are soft and tender and liquid has turned into a thick syrupy sauce)
– Turn off heat and cool
– Just before serving, add a squeeze of lemon (optional)