Sorrel

December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

What is sorrel?

You probably know the plant as hibiscus. What Trinis call sorrel is not the sorrel plant, but a drink which is produced from steeped hibiscus fruit or flowers and spices.

The drink is a brilliant red color,sour, sweet, and spiced. Also, it will stain anything forever.

For Trinis, it isn’t Christmas without sorrel! I can’t remember a year without it. When I was little I couldn’t wait to smell sorrel on the stove and drink some Poncha de crème with my Christmas Cake.

We are lucky enough to have a West Indian market nearby so that we can pick up sorrel whenever we want, but during this season, the shelves are empty. I know that in nearly every West Indian house nearby someone is getting out the big sorrel pot and steeping some flowers.

Obviously, that’s what’s going on at my house.

Ingredients

  • 10z dried Sorrel (if you don’t have a West Indian market you can get it here, or if you prefer organic, here
  • 330oz Water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 5lbs granuated sugar
  • 5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/4 liter Strawberry syrup

Directions

  1. Boil water in large pot
  2. Remove pot from heat and add dried sorrel, cinnamon, and clove
  3. Cover and leave overnight
  4. The next day, add sugar, bitters, and syrup to pot
  5. Stir to mix
  6. Strain sorrel and pour into container
  7. (optional) Flavor with rum for an alcoholic kick


Channa

November 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

One of my favorite snacks is channa.

While channa is simply the Indian word for chickpea, in Trinidad it also means a roasted chickpea snack.

I loved the excitement of someone coming back from Trinidad, because it would always mean that they were bringing back snacks. Tamarind balls were great, coconut cake was ok, and toolum was fairly gross, but I could eat the whole bottle of channa all by myself.  They came in what looked like old rum bottles that had the labels cut off and had channa poured in to the very top. While that is a lot for a little girl to eat, at least I was getting protein and not sugar.

I actually made channa the first time when I was in Japan, and it is fairly easy to make, quick, and delicious. Plus, channa is healthy for you!

Soaking the Chickpeas

I  recommend purchasing dried chickpeas, since I am always wary of the chemicals that can leak from can linings.

There are two ways to soak chickpeas (and all beans) a quick way, and overnight. I am lazy, so I did it the quick way.

  • Soaking Overnight: Place 1 cup of chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
  • Quick soak
  1. Place 1 cup of chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water
  2. Allow water to boil for 5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour
  4. Drain and rinse

Roasting the Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Shadow beni (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, and shadow beni
  3. Coat chickpeans in mixture
  4. Line baking tray with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup
  5. Roast until crunchy and brown, about 50 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and let cool
  7. Store in an airtight container to preserve freshness

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