A few years ago I had the experience of working in a French-American restaurant. I worked as a garde-manger chef and sometimes helped out on the line. It was an awesome experience; one that showed me that I really didn't want to be in the restaurant business, but somehow wanted to keep the culinary arts very much a part of my life in other ways. The most exciting times for
Fire-roasted coconut that has been ground into a fine texture, seasoned with lots of onion, garlic, and hot pepper, served over dhal and rice, then eaten with your bare hands, is a meal you just can't buy at a roti shop. It's rustic and earthy and just makes me feel like I'm home. Mom would make this only on the weekends, most times for Saturday afternoo
Did I ever tell you that I grew up in an inter-faith home? My father is Christian and my mother is Hindu. When I was younger, my father wasn't so much of a church-going person, even though he was a believer in God, so I was never exposed to his religious customs as much as I was of my mom's. Dad went to church once in a while and more so on holidays such as Easter and Christmas.
The Hindu festival of Holi, also known as Phagwah, is soon approaching and I can't help but feel the optimism and joy that the holiday tends to evoke. The purpose of this colorful extravaganza is two-fold; celebrating the new season of spring and also the religious significance of good over evil. Hindus observe this holiday by smearing colored powder, all over their friend
Last week my husband and I went to a dinner party at a friends house and I decided to bring over a popular appetizer I grew up eating- these delicious fish cakes. They remind me so much of Queens, NY. Anytime I was out running errands on the weekends and happened to be on Liberty avenue, I'd stop into a local West Indian bakery and buy two of these fish cakes to keep me goi
The thing I love about Guyanese cuisine is that every element of a dish is equally important. A side of pepper sauce or sour is not just a side; in fact it's the part of a meal that brings it all together. A good condiment can take a dish to another level; a more intense level of taste and flavor and can really make that dish be the best it can be. If there was a Guyanese
Stemming from the Indian influences on Guyanese cuisine, curry has become a fundamental dish in our food culture. Chicken curry in particular is such a staple in a (meat-eating) Guyanese home that you would think it was the national dish of the country. This delicious finger-licking stew is generally made by simmering some type of meat in a curry powder-garam masa
For those of you celebrating Maha Shivratri, you might be making several or just one or two of the sweets in the photo below. I've received a few emails asking for these recipes, so I thought a roundup might help make things easier for you. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Shivratri is soon approaching and I know this recipe couldn't come at a better time for many of you. I also know that some of you think I've been hibernating, I haven't :) but life just gets in the way sometimes . With the hectic holidays and back to back traveling, and not to mention moving, I just couldn't find the time to sit down to blog. I figured if I came back st
The first time I had coquito was a few years ago during a visit to Florida to spend the holidays with my parents. It always feels so festive when I am there. My mom and I cook up a storm and bake all sorts of goodies. We never really know who's stopping by, but we always make sure there is enough treats for any amount of visitors. Back in 2009, my mom's fri
I could never talk about childhood memories without mention of these delicious cheese straws. My mom used to make them for us on Christmas Eve when we were wrapping last minute presents or watching a movie with the rest of the family. She would make them into strips or "straws" at random times throughout the year, but during Christmas time, she used cookie cutters to make fun h
I have a confession. Ready? It took me years before I could drink a single glass of ginger beer. There, I said it, I was never a huge fan. It is truly one of those beverages that you'll either love or hate, and for a long time, I hated it. I disliked the one thing that everyone seems to love about it; that burning sensation in your throat after one sip. Some s
Every culture has dishes that make them feel warm and cozy on the inside; something rich, decadent, and emotionally pleasing. Americans have mac and cheese, fried chicken, and chicken pot pie to name a few, and Guyanese? Well for me, comfort food has got to be a plate of dhal and rice with a nice piece of fried fish. Something about the spicy hot dhal combined with the crun
Every year for Thanksgiving, my family's dining room table is graced with many different types of dishes. From Caribbean options to the American regulars; we always have more than plenty to eat. Desserts especially come in many different forms for us. You'll find pine tarts, cheese rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie, of course a cheesecake, and certainly a pecan pie on the tab
When I first saw these potatoes, I couldn't wait to make them. I came across the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs called, Almost Bourdain. The idea is so simple; scrub, slice, season, bake. Somehow, it still only took me about a year to get around to them. The trick in getting these potatoes to fan out so beautifully is to not slice them all the way through.
Aren't these diyas beautiful? I bought them on Liberty avenue in Queens, NY. Although I have some brass ones, these were too pretty to pass up!
To all my Hindu friends celebrating Diwali today, I want to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year! May the Lord's blessings be with you now and always!
Now that I am married and live hundreds of miles away from my
As described in the photo, these little fried pieces of dough certainly have a crunchy texture that keeps you wanting more. Sort of like potato chips; one is just never enough. What the photo doesn't describe though, is the flavor that's packed into each slender stick. Grated coconut, anise seeds, cinnamon, and ginger are all the main ingredients that unite to form
If there was ever a dish that brought back young childhood memories of growing up in a Hindu home, it would have to be this one. We had so many jhandi's and pooja's in my house that making parsad in the kitchen became a norm. This bread pudding-like dessert is something that is only available at these types of Hindu religious functions so it cannot be easily found at a local ro
The skies are grey and the trees are trembling, hurricane Sandy's
a'comin and I've prepared for her by equipping my dining room table with this
hearty and comforting soup. Considered to be an after-party street food
in Trinidad & Tobago, this soup is rich, creamy, utterly nourishing
and delightfully filling; whether enjoyed after a long night of dancing, or
I've decided to take a break from Guyanese recipes to share with you a delicious cheesecake that I have been making for years. This cheesecake has always been a hit at our family gatherings and every year during the holidays my cousins just seem to expect that it will be on the dining room table when they are ready for dessert. It's rich and decadent, just like a cheesecak
The winner of the pine tart t-shirt giveaway is JAYA MOOTOO! The winner was selected using a random selector in excel. Jaya - please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can take your order and ship you your t-shirt!
For those of you who wish to see Jaya's response, here it is:
Thank you to all those who participated, if you'd still like to own this t-shirt, y
Wear your pine tart and eat it too. Yes friends, anything is possible these days, especially when we are so lucky and blessed so have such brilliant and creative minds in our community like Am Bacchus and David Shaw who are the creators of the design on this shirt (and many other shirts which you will soon learn of). Am and David are the visionaries behind the popular We
Saturdays or Sundays marked my family’s routine visit to Liberty avenue in Queens, NY. This is where we did our weekly shopping for our vegetables, meat, and Guyanese bakery goods for the rest of the work/school week. My favorite stop was at Sybil's bakery. My father would buy Guyanese plait bread and a host of other pastries including one of my favorites, pineapple
It was the most amazing day ever. Our insanely talented and super awesome photographer even said it was the calmest wedding day he's ever been a part of, now that's a huge compliment given the hundreds of weddings he's done. It truly was a day to remember and if you've ever had a wedding, I'm sure you'd say the same about your wedding day! Sean and I dated for sev
Well this is certainly long overdue isn't it? Don't be mad, I have a good excuse! I was busy getting married this summer and the planning left me with no time for blogging! We had two weddings, a Christian wedding and a smaller Hindu ceremony. My next post will be all about the wedding and I will be sure to include photos. I will also share with you my DIY wedding inv
There is no recipe for these strawberries, all you need is a playful mind and a little creativity! What other ways can you think of to pair strawberries and chocolate?
Enjoyed best while the chocolate is still warm *bliss*
Layer melted chocolate in between the chopped strawberries
I'm surprised it took me this long to post my mom's recipe for baigan choka. It's my favorite vegetarian dish to eat, especially with roti! It is delicious for any meal of the day, but I prefer it for lunch, something about letting all that roti digest I guess. I made this for lunch the other day and had it with crackers. It was so tasty! I definitely missed the roti,
In my home, there were weekday meals and weekend meals. My mother used to cook lots of vegetables during the work week and reserve the dishes that took longer to cook, like curries and stews, for the weekends. It was a time management thing I guess. Two working parents and a busy home to run, it was difficult, but my mom always found a way to make sure we had a healthy tr
One of the greatest benefits of this blog is that I get to meet new and wonderful people almost everyday. Your emails, comments, and messages all help to encourage me to keep posting new recipes and experimenting with how to make our traditional foods a little bit healthier. Last week I received a message from a new visitor, her name is Michelle Walters. She explained that
"Mala is making gilbaka curry!" The word spread like wildfire. Within hours, the entire family found their way over to my aunt's house. Why you ask? Well, it had something to do with the spicy and intense taste, matched with the sensation of the hot curry making its way down your stomach, giving you a feeling of comfort and happiness. The tangy flavor of th
One pot dishes serve many purposes, but the real beauty of a one-pot dish is the share number of people it can feed. This was the principle my grandmother followed when she made this dish at our Mandir (temple) on Sundays. She is a wonderful cook and usually her cooking is even better when prepared for the masses. Many devotees at our temple knew when Aunty Shelia was m
Walk into any West Indian take-out restaurant and order a serving of fried rice, chow mein, cook-up rice, pelau, or spinach rice, and your order will be sure to come with a side of sweet plantains. It was always my favorite part of the meal, and since a side order meant only one or two plantains, I'd try my hardest not to eat all of it at once! Plantains have such a wonderfu
I remember distinctly the very specific times my mother would prepare pumpkin and shrimp for us growing up. It was either made for dinner during the work week and served with paratha roti, or prepared when we were having a Hindu prayer service as part of the variety of dishes served to our guests. When she prepared it for poojas or our Hindu prayer services rather, she would
The first time I had tostones was about twelve years ago at a wildly popular Cuban restaurant called Cabana, located in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, NY. I thought it was the most delicious way to have green plantains prepared. It was crunchy on the outside and mushy on the inside and the dipping sauce was to die for. As I reported to many of my
Devour it with curry, eat it with sides, you can even enjoy it with melted butter, but no matter how you consume it, one thing is for sure: there is nothing else like a hot and flaky paratha roti. From the looks of these photos, it would be perfectly correct to assume that this is a staple in Guyanese cuisine.
Paratha roti, sometimes called "oil" roti, is generally
Sweet rice, also known as Kheer is a thick rice pudding that has been flavored with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. It is sweetened with sugar or condensed milk and served warm or cold. This tasty rice pudding is typically served at Hindu or Muslim religious functions as a dessert. It can sometimes be eaten with puri, which adds another layer of texture
As a teenager growing up in my parent's home, I remember our kitchen always being stacked with a variety of West Indian bakery goods. We usually purchased our bakery goods, but every once in a while, my mother would get into a baking mood and when she did, the house would begin to smell like heaven! She'd make all sorts of goodies from Cheese Rolls to Cassava Pone to Salara
These spicy meat filled pastries were a staple in my home as a child. The ironic part is, my mother never actually made them! We would always purchase them from Sybil's Bakery on Liberty Avenue in Queens, NY. Whenever you walked in and said, "I'd like four chicken patties please" the response would always be, "Guyanese or Jamaican style?" By the end of this post yo
Every weekend my family made our routine trip to Liberty Avenue in Queens, NY to purchase our Guyanese baked goods for the week. Our first stop was to the ever so popular and historic bakery, Sybil's. Sybil's has come to be a landmark in our community, one that is easily recognizable by the look and taste of their baked goods. Two of my absolute favorite pastries from
"Less is more". It applies perfectly to potatoes. Who is responsible for that saying anyway? I want to give him a hug. I love flavorful dishes that require very little work and very little ingredients. It makes your pocket go a long way and helps you focus on the bigger picture, like actually having time to eat with your family rather than spending hours preparing d
When I was a little girl I remember my mom making this delicious frozen treat that didn't quite have the texture of ice cream, but one that was more like a block of ice. It took a really long time to melt, but once it did, it was slushy and creamy and simply intoxicating! I recall the outstanding flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg, ones that would always brighten up my taste
Two years ago my family and I had the chance to travel to Guyana to visit family and friends that we had not seen in years. One of the best parts of the trip was being able to eat my aunty Loreen's "hand-cooking" (as Guyanese people would say) on a daily basis. One thing in particular that I remembered her making was limewash, which is a drink that is similar to lemonade,
What red sauce is to an Italian is what dhal is to a Guyanese. It is truly a staple in our cuisine and is probably cooked at least once a week in any Guyanese home. Dhal is a type of "gravy" made essentially from split peas and is commonly eaten with rice or roti. It is topped with almost any type of Guyanese dish from chicken curry to fried fish, to various vegetables such a
I remember the days when my mom would come home tired from work and still have to cook a delicious traditional meal for her family. Whether it was cook-up rice, dhal and rice with fried fish, or chicken curry with dhal puri, we always had a filling and healthy meal during the work week.
One particular memory that sticks out in my mind is the overwhelming fe
To be American is to love potatoes. I am part American and I love potatoes. I cook potatoes quite often and I never get tired of eating them. I love my potatoes mashed, baked, boiled, and even broiled, but my favorite method would be scalloped and baked. This scalloped potato dish is one that will bring the warm and fuzzies to your tummy.
Known to many in the Caribbean islands as "Ochroes", this underrepresented vegetable is one of my all-time favorites. Growing up in a Hindu home, we frequently had various vegetables for dinner since it seemed we were always fasting for a Hindu holiday that was just around the corner! We were never big meat eaters anyhow so my mother cooked some type of vegetable dish for dinne
The past few months have been a little crazy on my end. I moved twice since April and was really struggling to get my kitchen up and running. Now that I have restored my life to some sort of normalcy, I can finally share this much awaited recipe with you, Guyanese Plait Bread. Plait bread is a type of braided bread (plait, meaning to braid or interweave) and is the most popu
If you have never tasted cassava, then you need to find it, cook it, and eat it. It is a root vegetable and it is silky smooth with a slightly sweet and bitter taste. To be honest, there is nothing else that tastes like it. It has the texture of a baked potato and is very fibrous. This is a popular vegetable in Guyana and it is mainly used when making Boil & Fry (a ve
I just wanted to let you all know that I am alive! I know it seems I have fallen off the face of the earth these past few weeks but the truth is, things have been so hectic! We are moving and coupled with me job hunting, I just have not had a lot of time to cook. So I really do apologize for abandoning my blog, but I am back now and hopefully will get a handle on posting some
It is still winter here in New York and living in Rochester makes it feel like winter is the only season that exists. When it is so cold outside, all you can do is stare out the window and wish the snow away, but then you come to realize that the snow magically disappearing is just not going to happen, so the only thing left to do is to go into your kitchen and make a hearty bowl of any