Trinidadian, Veggie Style!

In 2012, we wanted to focus on the foods of the world. Two of our Veggie Dinner regulars, the Heningburg sisters, are Trinidadian. For our first Veggie Dinner of the year, they treated us to the tastes of their homeland, and what a treat it was.


  • Corn Chowder
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Plantains
  • Pelau
  • Callaloo
  • Trini-tea
Callaloo 6 to 8 servings
     ½ lb spinach
     ½ lb swiss chard
     6 cups vegetable stock
     1 onion, finely chopped
     1 clove garlic, chopped
     3 scallions, chopped
     2 tbsp fresh chives
     ¼ tsp fresh thyme
     ½ cup coconut milk
     1 (10 ounce) frozen okra
     2 tbsp Matouk’s (hot sauce/ salsa picante) pepper sauce
     salt & pepper to taste
Place the greens in a soup pot with stock, onion, garlic, scallions, chives, and thyme.  Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 20 mins. Add coconut milk, okra, and pepper sauce.  Simmer of medium heat for another 10 mins.  Salt & Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer all contents to a blender.  Blend on low for about 20-30 secs. Serve.
Corn Chowder 6 to 8 servings
     8 fresh ears of corn
     1 small onion
     5 chives, minced
     2 garlic cloves, minced
     1 stalk of celery, minced
     2 small green bell peppers, chopped
     1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
     2 cups lentils
     6 cups vegetable stock
     3 roma tomatoes
     2 tbsp Matouk’s (hot sauce/ salsa picante) pepper sauce
     salt & pepper to taste
Remove the kernels from two of the ears of corn and place in a blender with ¼ cup of water.  Puree until most of the corn is processed into a creamy paste.  Set aside. Place the onion, garlic, celery, chives, cilantro, and bell pepper.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent. Rinse the lentils and add to the pot with the stock and tomatoes.  Cut the remaining ears of corn into 1-inch pieces and add to the pot.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then add corn puree and pepper sauce.  Simmer for 30 minutes more or until corn kernels are soft and the lentils have disintegrated.
     4 large really ripe plantains
     1 tbsp brown sugar
     canola oil
     ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Peel the plantains and cut crosswise into 1-inch sections.  slice each section lengthwise into 3 pieces. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until hot.  Add the plantains and brown sugar and fry until plantains are golden brown on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes.  (Do not overcrowd the pan or allow the plantains to scorch).  Remove from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Dust the plantains with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.
Cucumber Salad
     1 lb cucumbers, sliced
     1 onion
     1 cup vinegar
     ¼ cup water
     ¼ tsp dill
In a saucepan, vinegar, water, dill and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
     1 (12 ounce) can black-eyed peas or 1 cups dry
     2 cups long-grain rice, slightly undercooked
     3 tbsp canola oil
     1 small onion, chopped
     1 clove garlic, minced
     1 cup coconut milk
     2 cups water
     1 bay leaf
     2 tsps curry powder
     ½ cup chopped parsley
     ¼ tsp fresh thyme
     2 carrots, peeled and chopped
     5 scallions, chopped
     2 tbsp Matouk’s (hot sauce/ salsa picante) pepper sauce
     ½ cup ketchup
If using dried peas, soak them overnight in 3 cups of water.  Drain.  Bring 3 fresh cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add peas.  Simmer for 15 mins, or until cooked almost completely through.  Drain and set aside.  If using canned beans, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside. 
Place the onion and garlic.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent.  Stir in water, the coconut milk, bay leaf, curry power, parsley, thyme, carrots, and scallions.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
Stir the rice, peas, pepper sauce, ketchup.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the peas and vegetables are tender (add ½ cup more water if needed).  Remove the lid and fluff the rice. The rice should be moist but not sticky.
We hope you enjoyed this food trip to Trinidad & Tobago! Please join us for our next journey, where myself and Jennifer will be preparing food from Greece!