Here we have my favorite Indian sweet with a Caribbean twist, goolab jamoon. The fragrant, rich dough is heavenly. It’s the second sweet that I learned make from my mama *grandmother*. Now I’ve visited a couple Indian restaurants in the US and whenever I order the goolab jamoon I get something totally different! It’s these round balls soaked in syrup. Which leads me to believe that the recipe must have changed on its way to the Caribbean from India.
Nevertheless both are deliciously sweet and I can easily eat them all in one sitting 😂😂
1 cup butter
4 cups flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 can condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup oil for frying
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp grated ginger
4 cups water
1. Rub butter into the flour, cardamom and powdered milk until crumbly
2. Add the other milks to the flour and knead lightly to combine. * Or use a food processor with dough blade*
3. Form almond shapes about 2 inches long and deep fry until golden brown
4. Boil sugar, ginger and water to a thick syrup (it should spin a thread when the spoon is raised)
5. Pour syrup over the fried goolab jamoon and stir continuously until the sugar crystallizes .
Dhal, a staple in Trinidadian cooking. We make this dish alongside curries or to be eaten alone like a soup or with roti *flat bread*. It’s healthy, flavorful and filling.
So funny story, when I was a teenager I was a bit rebellious *What? Really?! No way!*… I know, hard to believe right!? Anyway, my mom was forcing me to learn how to cook and I wanted no part of it, so I was throwing a hissy fit about cooking dhal and deliberately doing it wrong so she would just get mad at me and shoo me away. Well….she didn’t and I got a pot spoon thrown at me and she made me count each grain of dhal *split peas* in the package! Ever since then I’ve hated dhal and refused to make it! *Yeah! I’ll show her!!*
Years later, I’m pregnant and craving dhal and I didn’t know how to make it! According to Caribbean superstition, when you get pregnancy cravings and you don’t satisfy it, your child will be born with a birthmark shaped like what you were craving! And I was not about to have a child with a dhal birthmark on his head! 😁
Luckily my sister Giselle was visiting me and she is the best dhal maker I know *Yeah! Take that mom!!*, so I paid close attention and wrote down this recipe. I like my dhal not too thick and not too runny, just in the middle.
1 cup yellow split peas
2 1/2 cups water
7 grains garlic
1/2 onion chopped (medium)
1/2 habanero pepper ( keep whole if you want the flavor and not the heat)
1/4 tsp saffron powder
2 pimento peppers finely chopped (or you can use jalapeños)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp whole geera (cumin)
1. Soak split peas for a couple hours and drain.
2. Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and then add the peas.
3. Add the 5 garlic grains, onion, peppers and saffron powder.
4. Let boil until peas are very soft and tender.
5. In a small pan, heat oil and add 2 grains garlic and geera, let it brown over low heat.When the garlic is brown, carefully pour the oil mixture into your split peas. (This process is called chunkaying)
6. Whisk the mixture or puree until smooth and add salt to taste (about a tsp)
TIP: If your dhal is too thick you can add hot water until you get to your desired texture.
Sometimes the best dishes have the fewest ingredients, and it’s certainly the case with this dish! After working all day in the cane fields, this is what my grandfather always wanted to eat. At first I despised that smoky fishy smell, but as I grew older *and was forced to eat it enough times*, I started to appreciate that smoky fish smell and the pungent long-lasting flavor.
Imagine my surprise when my 4 year old walked into the kitchen when I was cooking this and said ” MMMMMM what’s that deliciousssss smell?!?.” He has to be out of his little mind!
When I bake cookies, he says nothing, cakes, nothing, pies, nothing…smoked herring and he goes crazy! Maybe he has some of my Caribbean roots after all!
All you need for this dish is some left over rice, sliced onions, habanero pepper *if you’re feisty*, and some smoked herring that’s been soaked to remove some of the salt and chopped into little pieces.
Heat a little oil in your frying pan and saute onions, pepper and smoked herring. Toss in your rice and let it warm through. Easy peasy right?
Give it a try!