Saturday, November 16, 2019

How To Grow Culantro At Home |:| Shado Beni - Shadon Beni - Chado Beni - Recao

In Trinidad and Tobago this is a must herb to have in our refrigerator.  It is used to make our famous green seasonings, to make chows etc. 

Early in 2019 before I traveled to my home country Trinidad and Tobago,  I had a beautiful culantro plant which I was so proud off.  I told my husband to take care of my plant but....  When I returned, my plant was dead.  I was very upset. 

Culantro plant without flowers - How to grow culantro at home.  Also known as shado beni.  Photo by Martina Jackson.  Click on the photo to check out my photography website.

I posted a request for a plant on Facebook and I got a few.  Now this herb is known by many names.  Such as Bandania, shado beni, 

Now there is cilantro and culantro.  I recently found out that its two different herbs and not a misspelling.  Some people say that they are similar in taste but I tend to disagree.  In my opinion, cilantro looks a bit like celery and has a sort of burning sensation to the taste.  

Some time ago, I purchased this cilantro thinking I was getting celery, I was making a Sweet Potato Salad.  While eating the potato salad, I experienced this burning sensation in my mouth - to say the least I did not enjoy my potato salad.  Culantro does not have that burning sensation, it is pleasant experience eating this herb, the aroma is amazing and the taste is mild.

So lets get to how to grow this herb at home.  I was asked if the seeds can be purchased online - on Amazon maybe.  Yes the seeds are sold on Amazon but when I read the reviews, I realized many people did not have positive experiences in getting the seeds to grow.

In this photo below, the culantro has flowers and between you will see the seeds.  The flowers can be cut from the stem, doing so will allow the plant to grow more leaves. Pick off the seeds and place in a cool area to dry.  When dried, sprinkle the seeds in some soil on the ground or a seed starter tray and as the seeds to grow and get bigger, you can transplant them to bigger planter pots!!!  You can also allow seeds to dry on plant without cutting the flowers and pick off the dry seeds at the appropriate time.

Culantro plant with flowers - How to grow culantro at home.  Also known as shado beni.  Photo by Martina Jackson.  Click on the photo to check out my photography website.
Check out my blog post in which I share my store about the green iguanas eating my shado beni plants.  CLICK HERE

Trinidad And Tobago Homemade Green Seasoning Recipe

In Trinidad and Tobago, we add a homemade green seasoning to season all our meats and seafood.  We also add a bit of the green seasoning when actually cooking our meals.  It is made in large amounts ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to be used.

So generally we would go to the farmers market and get freshly harvested herbs like:  parsley, chive, onions, garlic, thyme, pimento (seasoning peppers), pepper, shado beni (culantro).  At home these herbs are washed and cut up into smaller pieces and blend in a blender.  Of course you can use a food processor, that way you would not have to add any water at all as opposed to using the blender, you will have to add water to get the blender going.

My mother usually add some salt to the blended herbs, place in bottles and refrigerate.  In adding salt to the green seasoning, you have to be mindful of then when actually seasoning meats and seafood and actually cooking your food.  Because what would happen is if you add salt to your meats and when cooking your meals, you will end up with a salty dish.

Before the days of the blender, I remember my mother using a food grinder to grind the herbs.  I also remember many times I assisted my mother in doing this process and my eyes use to burn because of the onions.  I recently found out a way to work with onions without the eye burning experience.  Click here to watch my video.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Cassava Roti/Bake Recipe

I recently learned about this recipe Cassava Roti and tweaked it a bit and made Cassava Bake.  This is very delightful.  One of the reasons I like making this dish is that butter is not one of the ingredients yet the bake is nice and soft even when it is at room temperature.  Also I simply place the uncooked dough into my iron pot without any oil or butter.  The results is amazing!!  This recipe's main ingredients is cassava.  Most times I make this bake without the cassava.

This recipe reminds me a bit of Pot Bake.

Cassava Roti/Bake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cassava
1/2 cup luke warm water

You can purchase the cassava, from the market, unpeeled or you can get the frozen cassava in the grocery store. Grate cassava aka yuca on the smallest side of the grater and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Place all the dry ingredients (grated cassava included) into a mixing bowl and mix everything together.  Gradually add the water and form into a dough.  Allow dough to rest for about 10 minutes.

Knead the dough again and separate into two pieces using a pastry dough cutter.  Knead each piece of dough.  Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough.  Roll as thin as you can for a roti finish or a little thicker for a bake finish.

Put iron pot or tawa on the stove with medium heat.  Place a piece of the rolled out dough into the pot and allow to cook - about 2-3 minutes on each side.