Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ground Food - Healthy Alternatives to Rice and Pasta

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I was lucky enough to be raised my my grandmother when I was young. She was from St. Lucia another island close to Barbados. The dietary habits of both St. Lucia and Barbados vary even if there are in close proximity to each other. St. Lucians eat more Caribbean roots than their Barbadian counterparts which is unfortunate as they taste much better than rice or pasta and have a higher nutritional value. Ground provisions include, yams, sweet potato, green banana, dasheen, tania, eddos, breadfruit, cassava even if green banana is not a root is is still considered in this category. They all are high fibre esp cassava one of my versatile favourites. When I was growing up in Barbados I would eat these ground provisions steamed with a protein at that time fish. I remember only wanting to eat these things and never pasta or rice. It was very strange for a child not wanting pasta and these things my mom said but very good none the less. When I went vegan I continued eating roots and my dad would make this spicy sauce with brussel sprouts and serve this in a bowl full of cooked green bananas. (GREEN BANANAS DO NOT TASTE LIKE RIPE BANANAS WHEN COOKED.)Unfortunately this meal was good but it lacked the protein to be balanced and in my opinion. I am yet to develop a recipe with beans and ground provisions. I was in the supermarket yesterday and I picked up some fake chicken strips by morning star which claim to be vegan. I am not a mock meat fan but I had bought some yam and some green bananas earlier and I was trying to decide what sauce I would make with it. I decided to do a spicy Caribbean style curry and serve the ground provisions whole or "stretched out" according to my mom. This is a no frills way of eating these just cooked with some salt and served with a flavourful sauce. You can served with other cooked veg like okra and carrots to make up the plate. You can also rub some vegan butter on the top of your ground provisions before adding the sauce. I tried out my homemade pepper sauce with this dish and it was so good. I finally perfected it after calling my dad who told me to add water, vinegar and sugar to the killer hot sauce. So when you are in the supermarket and you go to the so called "tropical" section and you see these roots do not get scared to buy one and try. If you need any help in cooking email me with your questions. I think I do not eat enough roots esp since I am close to the Caribbean region but I will eat more roots be4 I am somewhere where I can hope to find some in the "tropical" section.


Millie said...

As a Latin woman Plantain bananas are a big part of our diet. The ripe ones are best. They are sweet and can be fried (great for any meal), baked and boiled and they don't need anything to spice them up. The green ones are best fried (my recipe is in my blog) or boiled. They do require olive oil and salt (boiled) to give them a great flavor. I just posted a recipe with the ripe plantain bananas and meatless chicken cutlets. Check it out.

Elliott Broidy said...

This looks delicious. I am sure you enjoy cooking this often.