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Indian Arrival Flavours

Published: 
Saturday, May 28, 2016

On Monday we celebrate Indian Arrival Day. This day celebrates the arrival of the first indentured labourers from India to Trinidad on the ship named the Fatel Razack.

This ship brought a new labour force to assist in the economic development of the island and a new people with a new culture that would forever imbed itself in the historical landscape of this country.

The Indian immigration to Trinidad lasted from 1845 to 1917, during which time over 140,000 Indians arrived. The journey was long and arduous and the living conditions were deplorable. After leaving the ship they were fed, rested and sent off to one of the many estates to begin a new life.

They did not leave their homeland with many possessions, some say that they brought with them spices, rice and two types of animals, the water buffalo for hard labour and a type of humped cattle that provided milk for their beloved yogurt and butter that was made into ghee.

The dried spices we are familiar with like coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, fenugreek, cloves and mustard seed were ground and made into curry. These rich spice blends have evolved through the years to the distinctively delicious curry that have become indigenous to our islands. Our East Indian flavours have permanently woven a place in our culinary tapestry.

SPLIT PEA KITCHEREE
1/2 cup yellow split peas, washed and picked over
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 2-inch stick cinnamon
2 sticks clove
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp saffron powder, turmeric
1 cup parboiled rice
21/2 cups broth
Salt to taste

METHOD
Cook split peas in water for about ten minutes, drain.
Heat oil in saucepan; add cinnamon, cloves, onion, garlic and ginger.
Add saffron and cook for a few minutes, add split peas and rice, stir and fry for a few minutes more.
Add broth, bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve.
Serves four

 
BAIGANEE/ EGGPLANT FRITTERS
1 lb split peas
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp saffron powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
2 tbsp flour
11/2 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper sauce
1 eggplant cut into 1/2 inch slices
Salt

METHOD
Wash the split peas, place in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the split peas and grind it in a food processor or food mill until the consistency is smooth.
Add the garlic, saffron powder, baking soda, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper. Allow to rest for one hour. If the mixture seems too dry add a little water.
Salt eggplant and let stand for 15 minutes.
Rinse and pat dry.
Heat oil in a deep fryer, wok or deep skillet.
Using your fingers or a small knife carefully paste split pea mixture onto both sides of the eggplant slices and fry immediately until golden brown.
Drain and serve with mango chutney.
Makes about 24

CHUTNEY
4 green mangoes, peeled and flesh removed
8 Spanish thyme (podina) leaves
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 hot pepper
Salt to taste

METHOD
Puree all in food processor and taste and adjust seasonings.

GOOLAB JAMOON
4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 14 oz can condensed milk
Oil for frying

METHOD
Place flour and spices into a bowl, add butter and rub into flour, add both milks and knead to a smooth and stiff dough.
Pinch off two-inch pieces of dough and roll to a ball, taper the ends until you have and oblong shape, then roll the ends further almost to a point.
Heat oil in a deep pot or wok and carefully deep fry until dark golden brown, use a medium heat here or your dough will burn.
Drain and coat with sugar syrup turning to coat until sugar crystallises.

SUGAR SYRUP
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

METHOD
Boil sugar in water until thick, and very bubbly, when sugar spins a thread boil for another two minutes, then pour hot and bubbly onto goolab jamoon.

JELABI
2 cups all purpose flour
1-2 cups warm water
Coconut oil to fry

Syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp orange peel, grated

METHOD
Combine flour with just enough water to make a thick but pourable batter. 
Cover and set aside for about two days, this allows the batter to take on an almost sourdough flavour.
Combine ingredients for syrup, boil for five minutes and then cool.
Heat oil in a deep fryer and pour batter from a funnel or jug in a thin stream into hot oil to form a pattern of overlapping swirls to about a four-inch diameter.
Fry until golden, turn and finish frying on other side.
Drain on paper towels then place in sugar syrup.

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