Ginger Beer Recipe from Trinidad and Tobago

by Jeneba Ghatt

Ginger beer is a delicious alternative to egg nog during the holiday.

While Americans usually feature Egg Nog as a holiday drink, in Trinidad and Tobago there are several beverages that are consumed during the Christmas season. Among them is sorrel, puncha cream and ginger beer. My favorite is ginger beer because I love ginger — it aids in digestion. It also reminds me of the variation of the drink that I grew up with in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The ginger would steep for at least one day so the output was quite a pungent drink that had quite a punch!

Recipe from the book, Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago (Hippocrene Books, NY), by Ramin Ganeshram. Available at Amazon.com.

Ingredients

1/2 lb. of fresh ginger, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1 ½ cups of light brown sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 sprigs mint

Instructions

Put ginger, lime juice, mace and 3/4 cup of the sugar into a wide mouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into jar and add the pod. Add 12 cups boiling water to jar and stir until sugar dissolves. Set ginger mixture side to steep and cool to room temperature. Cover jar tightly and refrigerate for 1 week.

Line a large sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth. Strain ginger mixture through sieve into another wide mouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar, firmly pressing on solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard solids. Add the remaining sugar to ginger beer and stir until it dissolves. Serve in glasses over crushed ice, garnished with mint sprigs.

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Sorrel juice: A Caribbean holiday favorite (by Simone Baptiste)

Caribbean drink, sorrel, sorrel juice

With Sorrel juice's rich flavor it is a perfect drink for the holidays

Family, food, and travels are synonymous with the holiday season. As leaves begin to change colors and winter coats make their way out of the back of the closet, visions of pumpkin pies, turkeys, and sorrel fill our dreams. Did I lose you somewhere? If you’re a lover of Caribbean cuisine I didn’t. Sorrel is a drink that is a holiday favorite in the Caribbean and many American homes.

Officially named the Roselle plant, the juice drawn from the red sepals of the plant is what is called sorrel. The flowers are white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, as the fruit matures a stout fleshly calyx at the base of plant begins to enlarge and becomes bright red. Although Sorrel is an Island favorite it can be found around the world and in specialty grocery stores.

Sorrel Recipe


Ingredients

8 ounces dried sorrel

2 cinnamon sticks (each approximately 3 inches long)

1 piece orange peel (fresh or dried, approximately 3 by 1-inch)

12 whole cloves

10-12 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar (or more to taste. Granulated will give a better colour.)

Directions

In a non-corrosive pot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil then add the sorrel, sugar, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and orange peel and stir continuously while the mixture boils for one minute.

Cool and cover with foil or plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to steep for 2 hours or overnight.

Taste for strength and sweetness. If it is too potent, add water or if too tart add more sugar. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a jar and refrigerate. (Discard the spices left in the sieve). The sorrel will stain so use a non-reactive glass jar or bowl. Don’t use plastic.

Recipe from: Recipezaar.com

Image from: Photobucket.com

Trinidad: Give me some doubles! (by Monica Johnson)

(Recipe by www.theonefour.com)

doubles, Trinidadian doubles, channa, bara

Doubles are sold as a convenient meal by street vendors in Trinidad and Tobago

If you go to Trinidad, you are sure to see this snack sold by street vendors. It’s called doubles. Doubles are said to have East Indian roots. Many East Indians, newly released from being indentured servants, chose to stay in Trinidad instead of returning to India; therefore, they needed a way to make money. Ever-enterprising, they set up small stalls to sell whatever they could, which just happened to include curried and fried channa (chick peas) in small paper cones. Later on, as the story goes, a vendor discovered that adding bara (East Indian fried bread) would make a nice little meal.

So now you’re wondering how did the name doubles come about, right? There’s always a story. So here it goes! The bara along with the channa caught on so well that people began asking the vendors to double up on the bara. And through the creativity of slang, the request was shortened to just asking for “doubles.” Now doubles are sold on wax paper for a quicker more cost-effective way of serving customers. See the recipe for doubles below.

Barra

2 cups of flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1 teaspoon yeast

1/3 cup warm water

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 cup oil for frying

Channa Curry

2 cups of chickpeas, canned or soaked over night and boiled until tender.

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, sliced

1 tablespoon oil

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground allspice (if you have it)

1 tsp Pepper sauce

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl place the warm water, sugar and yeast and set to sponge for 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, curry powder and cumin. Add the yeast mixture and enough water to make a slightly firm dough. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky, adding flour if necessary. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rise for an hour.
  • For the filling, heat the oil in a heavy skillet, saute the onions until they are translucent, and then add the garlic and spices. Saute for another minute or so and then add the water. Add the chickpeas and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add pepper sauce and season to taste
  • The dough should be punched down and allowed to sit for 10 minutes. To shape the bara, take 1 tablespoon of the dough and flatten to a round, 4 or 5 inches in diameter.
  • Wet your hands so that the dough won’t stick to them but not so much as to make the dough too wet to fry.
  • Fry the baras in hot oil until puffy (about 15 seconds per side), turning once and drain on kitchen paper. When all are cooked, fill with channa by placing a heaping tablespoon of the cooked filling on each bara and top with cucumbers and hot pepper sauce.

Historical information taken from Amazing-Trinidad-Vacations.com