I’ve been keeping this collection of Bajan recipes under wraps (ba-doom-bash!) because, quite frankly, it didn’t seem right to cook up a creole sauce and breadfruit cou cou in the midst of Britain’s dark and danky winter.
Now we’ve reached Britain’s dark and danky summer*, though, I’ve realised the futility of waiting for good weather before I roll up my sleeves and get on with it. So, in celebration of soggy barbecues the length and breadth of the Britihs Isles (and to sun-soaked fun fests you lucky people in foreign climes with no need to worry about Vitamin D deficiencies) here we go. Bajan recipes, just like Rihanna makes ’em. Probably.
Bajan recipes from my time at The Club Barbados Resort and Spa.
*Sensational update! Since the time of writing, a golden orb of fire has appeared above the sky in Britain. That’s right!!! It’s one of the few times I say to heck with discipline and throw not one but three exclamation marks into the sentence!!! The sun is shining, summer is here and all is well with the world. And ! for luck!!
Bajan Recipe: Creole Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 green sweet peppers cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Bajan seasoning (green shallots called allium ascalorium)
8 ounces stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup stock
1 tablespoon Pepper Sauce (turmeric, mustard, pepper, vinegar, salt, starch and hot local peppers if you don’t have a jar yourself)
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Slat and pepper to taste
Heat oil in frying pan
Fry onions, garlic and sweet peppers for 1 minute
Add Bajan seasoning, tomatoes, sugar, stock and pepper sauce
Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 -20 minutes
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with chopped parsley
Bajan Recipe: Cornmeal Cou-Cou
Olive oil spray
4 cups water
Salt to taste
12 okras, washed, stems removed, cut crosswise about 1/4 inch thick
8 ounces FINE corn meal
Grease a bowl with olive oil spray and reserve.
Pour 3 cups water into a pot, add the okra and salt, bring to the boil and remove from the heat.
Strain the okra into a small bowl and reserve the water in a separate bowl.
Place a small pot over low heat, add the corn meal with one cup of water to soften, whisking mixture until it is completely combined.
Reduce the heat and continue beating with a whisk until it begins to thicken. Gradually (I repeat, GRADUALLY!) add the water from the okra, whisking to incorporate.
After about 3 minutes, start beating the corn meal with a coo coo stick and add in the okra until they are thoroughly mixed in.
Serve with the creole sauce and flying fish. What flying fish, you ask? Ah yes, read on for more…
Bajan Recipe: Fried Fish
Traditionally, this would be flying fish and served on Saturdays. Sadly, though, numbers have dwindled for a range of environmental reasons and so most people now use dorado as it’s easier to come by.
12 boned pieces of dorado
2 limes or lemons
2 tablespoons of salt
6 ounces Bajan green seasoning (shallots and the spices mentioned above)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flour mixed with 1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups oil for frying
Place the fish in a shallow container and cover with water
Add the squeezed lime and salt and soak for 5 minutes then remove and pat dry with a paper towel
Season in the grooves where the bones have been removed
Dip in eggs and lightly coat with the flour and bread crumb mixture, shaking of excess
Heat oil in a shallow pan and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Serve with lemon plus the creole sauce and cou cou above!
Two things to know about cou cou
1) If a man finds lumps in his wife’s cou cou he can throw her out of the house
2) If a child misbehaves, their mother will run after them with a cou cou stick threatening them a damn good hiding.
And you thought it sounded like such a cute little word…