In Surinane we know the world’s largest citrus fruit as the “pompelmoes.” I always thought this was a Dutch word but when I googled the name, I found out that it is indeed called “pamplemousse,” (different spelling, same phonetics), as well as pomelo.
Suriname has a rich variety of tropical fruits and pomelo is one of my favorites. My dad worked at the Department of Agriculture and used to bring fruit home every day. Growing up in the country later on, I was surrounded by at least 10 different fruit trees so there was never a lack of fresh fruit. I learned early on how to pick and peel fruits including “pompelmoes.”
When peeled, the fruit looks like a giant mandarin with large, pink parts. The skin peels off easily, revealing firm, dark pink droplets similar to pomegranate seeds. Very refreshing, this fruit is usually sweet, sometimes tangy. The skin and peel are bitter like that of a grapefruit.
If you ever get a hold of this food at the farmers market, here are the instructions on how to peel it.
1. Cut a cap off the top.
2. Cut 4-6 scores from top to bottom.
3. Grab each part from the top and pull the skin down to the bottom.
4. Pull the pomelo apart from the bottom.
5. Peel the skin off of each part to reveal the pink droplets inside.
Additional facts: A pomelo contains Vitamins A, D, C, B-6 and B-12 as well as Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium.
Spring is here and the weather is getting warmer! With that comes cooler food, like salads, especially salads with a twist.
Came across the recipe of a Cuban salad (ensalada cubana) when I was looking for something original for a potluck. My husband has this awesome Cuban cookbook, where I got the inspiration for this recipe. This was different because the dressing is made with hot oil, to soften the onion and garlic flavor. That is one technique I had never used before, a “stir fry” approach to a salad! The original recipe included shrimp, but I left out the shrimps and bell pepper, and gave it my own spin. The result? A delicious salad, without the pungent onion smell or flavor. I know, onions are great for cooking and salads, but raw onions upset my stomach so this was the perfect solution for me. Definitely making this again!
1 green bell pepper cut in chunks (left out in my version)
4 large red ripe tomatoes sliced thin or
(1 cup baby tomatoes, halved)
1 cup cucumber, cubed or sliced
(Optional: 1 cup chick peas)
Heat oil (don't let it smoke), add onion, garlic and juice. (Add chick peas if using.) Remove pan from heat and stir for two minutes. Let the mixture cool off, season with salt & pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Blanch bell pepper, arrange with tomatoes and cucumber on a platter, drizzle (or toss) with dressing, sprinkle some cilantro on top before serving.
My husband and I like to experiment with cooking, but when he came home with an acorn squash last week, I thought “what in the world?” It looked like a mini pumpkin with a tough dark green skin, but I had no idea what to do with it. The only squash I know how to cook is zucchini and crookneck (yellow), mostly in stir fry dishes. I grew up with pumpkin but never knew it was also known as a squash…
This squash however was impossible to peel because the skin was really hard. I didn’t know how to cook it or how it tasted: sweet like pumpkin, or bland like zucchini? Thankfully the All Recipes app on my iPhone came to the rescue! I looked up recipes by acorn squash and found one that appealed to me; it was not complicated and I liked the ingredients, so I decided to give it a try. Of course I deviated from the original recipe (Cheesy Acorn Squash by Linda) to make my own, and I was really surprised by the result. My first time cheesy acorn squash casserole came out to be really tasty and I simply had to share it with you. I hope you’ll like it too!
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
3 tbsp butter
1 cup diced celery (stalk & leaves)
1 cup chopped onion
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Place squash cut side down in a glass dish and microwave for 15-20 minutes on High, until almost cooked.
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and saute celery and onion until transparent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Let the squash cool off a bit, or hold with a towel, then scoop or cut chunks of the meat out, adding to the celery/onion mixture. Continue to cook until the squash is completely cooked but still firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Pour mixture into a glass dish, cover with cheese and cook for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly, turning a bit brown.
I served this with beef and rice, but the casserole only would have been sufficient with meat. It was delish!! And as an added bonus, acorn squash is a good source for potassium and fiber!
If you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, you already know that we LOVE vegetables. We eat them 7 out of 7 days 🙂 . Here’s a colorful and tasty vegetable side dish that will be a pleasure to look at and eat!
You can use fresh vegetables, but I usually get the frozen kind. Not only does it cut in prep time, but frozen veggies seem to be more nutritious than the ‘fresh’ kind in the grocery store. Of course frozen doesn’t beat straight-from-the-garden or fresh market, but you decide!
1 lb broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix (also known as California blend)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
2 chicken cubes
black pepper (optional)
Thaw the frozen veggies, or blanch in boiling water. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan to stir fry. First add onions, fry for a few minutes before adding the bell peppers and chicken cube. Stir fry again and add the vegetable medley. Cover the pan for a few minutes to cook the vegetables tender without overcooking (especially if frozen and still cold). Keep stirring to distribute the heat and repeat cover-stir process until the veggies are satisfactory. Some people like crunchy and some like them soft, requiring a little bit more cooking time. If you’re not sure, try both to make up your mind. Just keep in mind that the shorter the cooking time, the better nutrients are retained. Either way your guest will love this side dish, if only for the colors 🙂
Tip: Add some crushed garlic to onion-pepper mix for additional flavor.
Baka bana is Surinamese for baked (fried) bananas (plantains) and much easier to remember than the Javanese name Pisang Goreng. Pisang = banana, and Goreng = cooked or fried.
We call plantains bananas, which is a bit confusing in English as the banana is the type that does not require cooking. Plantains should be cooked first by boiling or frying before eating, and can be consumed either when ripe or unripened.
Baka bana is a very popular snack in Suriname and Holland and can be found in any warung (Javanese cafe) or street vendor selling Indonesian food.
The plantains have to be really ripe to enjoy this snack. Ripe plantains feel soft but firm when squeezed and may show black spots on the peel. The more black spots and softer, the riper and sweeter the plantain will be.
2 very ripe plantains
100 grams flour
2 tsp sugar
2 dl water
(cinnamon) sugar for sprinkling
Peel the plantains and cut ½ cm (less than 1/4 inch) diagonal slices of about 3 inches in length.
Mix the flour with sugar and salt, add the egg and water, mix well into a smooth but thick batter. Batter should not be runny and when turning a slice of plantain over, the batter should stick to the plantain. Heat the oil. Turn each plantain slice over in the batter and scoop out to fry in the hot oil. Turn the heat down a little if the batter browns too quickly. The plantain should cook inside the batter until it’s done, for about 5-7 minutes, turning over a few times for even browning and to avoid burning.
Drain the baka bana on papertowels and sprinkle sugar while still hot.
Serve your baka bana plain or with spicy peanut sauce. Be forewarned that you will not stop snacking! However, be carefull because baka banas retain the heat for a while. No point in doing all this work and not being able to enjoy it!