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
Trinidadians are famous for making a chow (salsa) out of almost any fruit – Plum Chow, Mango Chow, and now a recent favorite – Pineapple Chow.
Now I have to admit, even though Pineapple is my favorite fruit I was a little bit skeptical when I saw that it met its ultimate fate in the Trini palate as a Chow. But, as they say, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, right?
So, I decided to make my own version, without the heavy dose of pepper sauce.
I was wowed! I couldn’t believe it tasted so good.
So, without further ado, here’s my super simple (and super mild) Pineapple Chow recipe.
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pimento pepper, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, grated
– Add all ingredients to a small bowl
– Stir well to combine
– Serve and enjoy!
TIP: This salsa/chow could also work well as a topping to your favorite