I was looking for recipes containing scotch bonnet chilli peppers because our plant is producing more chillis than we can cope with at the moment. Apart from making more of my Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce, I am trying to find ways of including them in every meal.
I found a Trinidadian recipe for crab cakes that were coated in grated sweet potato and served with a Callaloo sauce. Callaloo is a popular Caribbean stew or soup of West African origin made with leafy greens called Callaloo or Taro that are similar to kale and spinach. There are many different versions but in Trinidad they use coconut milk, okra and peppers as well as the greens. In Jamaica they use tomatoes and spring onions. The African-American dish Collard Greens is also a version of Callaloo.
In this recipe the callaloo is blended to make a smooth sauce to serve with the cakes. I omitted the crab (obviously) and used roasted and mashed sweet potato as the base for the cakes mixed with Caribbean herbs and spices and our lovely scotch bonnets for heat.
Caribbean Sweet Potato Cakes with Callaloo Sauce
Serves 2-3. Vegan, Gluten-free.
For the cakes:
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes (550gr)
- 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- whole bulb of fresh garlic (outer leaves peeled off but still held together)
- 1 or 2 scotch bonnets chillies, deseeded & chopped
- 3 spring onions/scallions, chopped
- salt & black pepper
- a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- the zest of 1/2 a lime
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 200C. On a lined baking tray, toss the sweet potato cubes with the olive oil, allspice, cumin, dried thyme, chilli flakes salt & pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes until soft. Roast the head of garlic at the same time.
Mash the sweet potato in a bowl with half of the roasted garlic cloves that have been squeezed out of their skins. Cook the spring onions and scotch bonnets with a pinch of salt, in a little oil for a few minutes until softened. Stir this into the potatoes with the chopped coriander and lime zest. Check for seasoning, add more salt or lime zest if necessary. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge while you make the sauce.
For the Callaloo Sauce:
- 1 tin coconut milk, 400 ml
- 100-150 g fresh spinach leaves
- 1 small onion, chopped
- the rest of the roasted garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli (whole)
- 1 green or red pepper, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs, whole
- salt & black pepper
- the juice of 1/2 a lime
- a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus extra for garnish
Put everything except lime juice & coriander in a med-large saucepan, season with salt & pepper and bring to the boil stirring to wilt the spinach. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, then remove the whole scotch bonnet (don’t throw it away) and thyme sprigs.
Carefully blend with a stick blender (cover with a towel) or in a food processor until smooth. Taste, if it is not hot enough cut the flesh from the scotch bonnet and add that to the sauce and blend again. Add the lime juice and chopped coriander and taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary.
Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and keep warm while you cook the cakes.
Shape the sweet potato mix into 6 patties or smaller ones for canapes if you like. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium high heat. when the oil is hot add the cakes to the pan and cook for a about 2 minutes on each side until browned and crispy.
Pour enough sauce into your dishes to cover the base and top with 2 or 3 cakes. Sprinkle with some fresh coriander and serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.
We served this with a side of Caribbean Chargrilled Sweetcorn to carry on with the theme.
I am writing this listening to helicopters and light aircraft flying low over our house. Last night a friend, Andrew rang me at about to say that he could see lots of smoke coming from the mountains where we live. He was staying in his house across the valley at the time. I walked upstairs and opened the door onto the outside terrace and was greeted by huge plumes of orange smoke coming from the mountains in at the edge of our town. The view from the roof terrace was even worse and confirmed our fears.
The Barranco Blanco valley was on fire.
Totally unbelievable and shocking photographs started to appear on social networking sites as we heard about thousands of people being evacuated from their homes.
The fire was spreading rapidly, helped by the wind conditions, down the valley towards the coast. Friends of our were extremely worried about a dog rescue centre that was in great danger. Many people came to help and all 300 dogs were helped to safety along the riverbed towards Fuengirola before the fire reached them.
Our thoughts are with the families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed and we hope beyond all hope that this tragedy was not premeditated.
The area affected is one of the areas where we walk with dog. This morning we went out with heavy hearts to see if some of our favourite beauty spots were still there. Thankfully our favourite hill where we love to sit and look down to the coast has only been blackened on one side. The other side is as yet untouched, the firebreaks actually worked.
The whole valley is devastated, all the wildlife and plants destroyed. This is how it looked before.
Looking through all the photos of how it looked before is really upsetting. Rufus on top of the world….
Stay Safe Everyone