Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jamaican Lobster Fritters

One of my favorite ways to relax is over a basket of fritters, and a couple frosties at a little waterside place in Key Largo, Florida. I've been going there for years to check out the Tarpon after a day of diving the reef.....Here's how to make them!

1 Cup diced Red Bell Pepper
2 Onions, Minced
6 Green Onions, Minced
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2, Habañero Peppers, seeds and stems removed, minced
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Pounds Cooked Lobster Meat, Diced
2 Cups Mayonnaise
1 1/2 Pounds Sweet Potatoes, peeled, cooked, and coarsely mashed
3 Egg Yolks, lightly beaten
1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
Vegetable oil, for frying


1. Heat skillet, and sauté the bell pepper, onions, thyme, garlic, and chilies in the butter for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. Place approximately 1/2 pound of the lobster in a food processor with the mayonnaise and purée until smooth. Transfer the purée to a bowl and stir in the remaining lobster, sautéed mixture, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, and allspice. Mix well and form into patties.

3. Deep fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bombay Chiwda- Snack Mix

Bombay Chiwda is a traditional side dish that originates from the city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India. This dish is often served as a snack, and can be found all over the world. Bombay Chiwda made its way to the Caribbean islands by way of the laborers brought to the region by the Europeans. Many from India and China came to the Caribbean to work the various plantations and brought their traditional style of cuisine with them. Much of the Indian influence remains alive and well in the Caribbean of today with the introduction of curried meats and curry powder. Indians call it kari podi, and we have come to know this pungent flavor as curry.


3 Cups Canola oil or Ghee( Clarified Butter) for frying
1/3 Cup salted Peanuts
1/3Cup saltedCashew
1/4 Cup whole Almond
1/4 Cup blanched Pistachio
1/4 Cup Pumpkin seeds
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
2-3 thin sliced hot Green chilies
1 Tablespoon Fennel seeds
5 Curry Leaves
3 Tablespoon fresh Coriander Leaves
2/3 Cup thick pounded Flat Rice( Rice flakes available at your Asian Market)
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup dried Currants( substitute with additional Raisins if Currants are not available)
1/4 Cup chopped Dates
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Madras Curry Powder
2 Tablespoon Maple or Date Sugar
1/3 Cup green lentils
1Cup deep fried Sev Noodles ( Chickpea Flour Noodles)*

1. Heat oil or ghee in a deep-frying pan over a moderate heat.

2. Place the peanuts in a wire-mesh sieve and lower it into the oil.

3. Fry until golden brown, lift out the sieve, and transfer the nuts to paper towels to drain.

4. In separate batches, fry the cashews, almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts until golden brown, and drain on paper towels.

5. Pat the nuts dry with more paper towels, blot off any excess oil.

6. Transfer all the nuts to a bowl.

7. Increase the heat of the oil and place the green chilies in the sieve and lower them into the oil and fry until crisp.

8. Lift out the sieve and transfer the chilies to the paper towels to drain.

9. Add the fennel seeds, curry leaves and fresh coriander to the sieve and fry in the same way until the leaves are dark green and crisp.

10. Drain on paper towels.

11. Now add half of flat rice to the sieve, lower it into the oil and fry for 1 minute or until the frothing oil subsides and rice floats (It should not brown only turn golden).

12. Fry the remaining flat rice and dry on paper towel. Blot all the excess oil while still hot.

13. Add the flat rice to the bowl of nuts and toss to mix.

14. Add the salt , sugar & spices in a small bowl, and mix to incorporate.

15. Combine the raisins, currants and dates in a bowl.

16. Sprinkle 1/2 of the spice mixture into the dried fruit and the remaining into the nuts, toss well.

17. Finally, combine all the ingredients and toss gently to mix.

18. Cool to room temperature and store in an air tight container.

* Should you not be able to locate Sev noodles at your local Asian Market, purchase Rice Flour noodles as a substitute

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pastelles- Caribbean Style Tamales

Since I've spent the past couple months working on the island inspired foods for a company that I will soon launch, I thought I would post one of my favorite island recipes. These little beauties are called Pastelles, and are a common snack in many of the places I like to spend my time. If you're a fan of Tamales you're going to enjoy making this version.These tasty snacks arrived in the Caribbean islands by way of South America, where banana leaves are used as wrappers instead of corn husks. They are served with a variety of hot sauces depending on which island you happen to be located on, and should be eaten by hand. Should you be able to locate a couple bottles of chilled Caribbean Style Lager, and a white sand beach overlooking the sea you too will enjoy Pastelles the way they should be eaten.

1/2 pound ground pork
1 large onion, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 habanero pepper, seeds and stem removed, minced
1 cup diced, peeled yam
1 cup cooked and drained black beans
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced basil
2 tomatoes, killed and chopped
1/4 cup drained capers, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup beef broth

3 cups coarse cornmeal
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
23/4 cups boiling water
4 each banana leaves, cut into 18 rectangle shaped 8"x10" inch pieces.


To make the filling, sauté the pork in a skillet until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the onion, garlic, and chilies and sauté for an additional couple of minutes. Add all the remaining filling ingredients and bring to a boil.Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

To make the dough, place the cornmeal in a bowl and, using a pastry blender, stir in the oil and salt. Then pour the boiling water into the cornmeal slowly mix to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough into 18 equal portions and form each portion into a ball.

Place a ball of dough in the center of a banana-leaf rectangle and press it out to form a 1/4-inch-thick round. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center. Fold half of the leaf over, bringing the cornmeal with it, and flatten into a rectangle. Repeat with the other half of the rectangle so that the dough encloses the meat. Fold up the leaf rectangle to make a package and tie securely with butchers twine.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the packets, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered, for one half hours. Remove and drain. Snip the strings from the bundles prior to service. Serve with hot sauce.