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A warm sunny welcome from the Caribbean! I would like to share with you some of our lovely Jamaican dishes, in particular those associated with the Rastafarian movement.
Any true Rastafarian is a vegetarian and will only eat ‘Ital’ foods. Basically food that is served as raw as possible and without canned or processed foods. Some Rastafarians say they can eat fish, but not shellfish. Pork is a definite no-no. Liquor, milk, coffee and soft drinks are also seen as unnatural.
For all you feminists out there, you might be interested to know that many Rastafarian men are the ones who do the cooking. It is common for the woman to have the career, while the man remains at home tending the garden, looking after the children and prepares the food.
I should begin by saying that I am not Rastafarian, but I respect their beliefs and the way they see food as a gift. They do have some delicious recipes, and I’m going to share two of the most well-known (with some help with portion sizes from a Caribbean book called Culinaria).
>> RASTA SALAD (Serves 4) << 1 clove of garlic ½ cup (125 grams) red kidney beans, cooked ½ cup (125 grams) black-eyed beans, cooked 1 red pepper, seeded and cut in slices 1 green pepper, seeded and cut in slices 1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut in slices ¼ cup (60 grams) freshly grated coconut 1 tablespoon raisins 1 tablespoon chopped nuts 4 tablespoons sesame or peanut oil Juice of 1 lime 1 teaspoon malt vinegar 1 teaspoon brown cane sugar Freshly ground black pepper
Cut garlic in half and rub into either a wooden salad bowl, making sure the garlic’s pungent smell emanates from the bowl. Add the kidney beans, black-eyed beans, peppers, coconut, raisins and chopped nuts.
In a separate bowl, pour the sesame or peanut oil, mix in the lime juice, malt vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Pour over the salad and toss.
>> RICH RASTA BROWNIES (Serves 4) << 1 cup (250 grams) vegetable margarine 1 ½ cups (375 grams) brown cane sugar ½ cup (125 grams) grated bitter cocoa or chocolate ½ cup (125 grams) molasses 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup (125 millilitres) coconut milk 1 ¼ cups (310 grams) wholewheat flour 1 ½ cups (375 grams) chopped mixed nuts 2 teaspoons baking powder Optional and added by true Rastas: ½ cup (125 grams) marijuana leaves and flowers, without seeds or stems. Brownies not recommended for children if these are added.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees Celsius). Beat the margarine, gradually adding the sugar. Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy. Melt the chocolate, molasses, and vanilla into the coconut milk over low heat, stirring constantly. Add this intermittently with the flour and baking powder to the margarine and sugar mixture while still beating with a rotary mixer. Add the chopped nuts and fold in the marijuana leaves (optional). Pour into a buttered and flowered 7 x 11 inch (18 x 29 cm) pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cut into squares when cool.