News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Weds. Dec. 23, 2015: Christmas is finally here and as I wrote in my last article, for Caribbean nationals, it is excitement and merriment until New Years Day in the homes of all Caribbean Nationals who celebrate the holidays!
The excitement and merriment starts increasing on Christmas Eve! This is of course after the multitude of office parties and surprise get togethers, church services and Christmas cantatas and plays,
The special dishes that you will find in homes will be the tastiest and most delicious you will find anywhere in the world! The biggest feast and merriment will begin on Christmas Eve into Christmas and New Years Day!
For Spanish and French Caribbean nationals, including those living in the Diaspora – Puerto Ricans and Dominicans mostly, they will be feasting on pickled bananas, yuca, tamales, pernill , Coquito, Plain Cakes and beers while the Haitians will partake of Black rice, Red rice& Peas, griot, lambi (stewed Conch), Creamy potato and red beets salad, baked ham with pineapple and cherries, Lasagna, Creme, Haitian Rum and Haitian Cake.
It should be noted, because of the fact that there are so many Caribbean nationals that have intermarried in the Diaspora, each major meal will reflect the mixed influences. For example, you will find influences of Haitian cuisine in my menus.
Among the English-speaking Caribbean for the most part, the large feastings will include Christmas Souse, Black pudding, honey Baked ham with Pineapple and cherries, escoveitched fish, special Breads like sweet breads and of course black cake, eggnog and rum punch. Parties and every get together will undoubtedly continue into Christmas morning , which will be greeted with a large breakfast consisting of Johnny cakes, bakes, liver with onions, kidney with bacon , scrambled eggs, bacon, corn flakes and milk, slices of ham, steak and onions, calaloo and cod fish, hard dough bread, hominy corn porridge , Ackee and Saltfish, salted mackerel with green bananas and roast breadfruit, fried sweet plantains, boiled yellow yam, boiled dumplings and Steam fish and pepper pot washed down with chocolate tea, coffee, English tea, Milo, Ovaltine or Horlicks. Breakfast menus will invariable continue into lunch.
Dinner will usually consists of the following dishes: Roast beef, potato salad, rice and peas, curried goat, stewed fowl, jerk chicken, jerk pork, pot roast pork shoulder, roast turkey, green salad, macaroni pie, yellow Yam balls, potato au gratin.
For my personal festivities on Christmas Eve, my Dinner menu is as follows:
Spicy Fish Tea
Cubed honey baked ham
Carrots , Cabbage and Lettuce Salad with mint dressing
Baked chicken legs stuffed with bacon and breadcrumbs
Haitian Pork Griot
Roasted leg of Goat with Scotch Bonnet /red onions
Jelly Black Rice with cashew and baby Lima Beans
Black Cake with creamy rum sauce
Blue mountain Demi Tass Coffee
Rum Punch/ Port Wine/ Eggnog/Sorrell
Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu
Spicy Shad with sautéed grape tomatoes and sweet peppers
Firm young Green Bananas
Sautéed onions and goat liver
Roast Breadfruit boats stuffed with Ackee and Salfish
Fried Sweet Plantains
Steam Okra/ Pack Choy with garlic and olive oil
Steam Doctor Fish Jamaican hard dough bread
Coco tea/ mint tea/ coffee/Milo/Lemonade
Christmas Dinner Menu
Pepper Pot Soup
Five Spice Parsley, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas salad with honey mustard dressing
Pot Roasted Pork Shoulder
Spicy Fricassee of Rooster Or (Coq au Vin)
Roast Beef and vegetables (Carrots, Celerey, Brussels sprouts)
Lambi (Stewed Conch) in tomato sauce
Green Pigeon Rice and Peas
Hot Sweet Yellow Yam Cakes/ butter
Creamy Potato with beets salad
Honey Baked Ham
Mango Ice Cream, Pineapple Upside down Cake, Black Cake , cassava pone
Blue Mountain coffee
Sorrel, Rum punch, Port Wine, Fruit Punch
I will now share my recipe for Hot Sweet Yellow Yam Cakes and Lombi(Stewed Conch):
Hot Sweet Yellow Yam Cakes
2 pounds of Fresh yellow yam
3 whole Eggs beaten
10 oz of melted salted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white ground pepper
3/4 cup Condensed Milk
1/2 Heavy Cream
1/4 Tsp nutmeg
1 medium white onion chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheet with butter.
Peel and boil yellow yam until cooked.
Remove from water
Heat drain and add 8oz melted butter, nutmeg and cream.
Crush yam and ingredients until creamy.
Allow to cool at room temperature.
Add condense milk and eggs.
Form mixture into ball, press slightly between palm.
If mixture is too wet add a little flour to make it manageable.
Place cakes on a greased cookie baking sheet.
Brush with melted butter.
Bake for 30-40 mins. until golden brown.
Makes 8-10 cakes
Serve hot with butter!
Lambi (Stewed Conch)
1 (5lb) box of conch (lambi)
1 lime and sour orange, juiced
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of thyme
1 tsp of black pepper
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 tbsp of Adobo seasoning salt
1 Maggi chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 cup tomato paste
4 large onions, diced
6 small shallots diced
1 gallon of boiling water
1 sprig of thyme
Using a meat mallet, pound the conch until tenderized.
Clean the meat thoroughly with the lime and/or sour orange juice.
Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Using a pressure cooker, place the meat and half of the tomato paste, shallots, onions and oil into the cooker and allow the conch meat and seasonings to cook for 30-45 minutes.
Do not burn.
Add hot water to provide moisture as needed.
After 30-40 minutes, add 1 gallon boiling water, covering meat and close cover securely with regulator in place.
Cook for an hour until the meat is tender.
Lower the fire and add the rest of the onions and shallots, tomato paste and pepper to taste. Stir the meat and combine all ingredients.
Add thyme minutes before it is finished.
Eat, Drink, Pray, together and have a Merry, Merry Caribbean Christmas and a Happy Kwanza!