Caribbean Cooking

Follow-Up Recipes for Jamaican Jerk Tofu and Baked Festival (Both Vegan)

So, although my blog is but nascent, someone (hey, there!) has requested my recipes for the Jamaican post from yesterday. All I really need to be talked into posting a recipe is a simple comment asking for it.  Because let’s be real, I’m a wee blogger that’s happy to share.  You can still offer up [false] flattery if you’d like.

Remember the Jamaican post?  Or are you too distracted by beautiful purple tubers?  Here’s a photo to jog the memory.


Jamaican Jerk Tofu Serves 4, (Vegan)


  • 1 block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 T Earth Balance (butter if you’re not worried about dairy)
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t salt

I know, it’s a long list, but almost all is a simple spice mixture to add to the marinade.  No need to be intimidated.


  1. Press tofu.  Either use tofu press (if you’re lucky enough to have one…anyone with an extra can send to me!) or the dishcloths and pan method to squeeze excess water from tofu.
  2. While pressing the tofu, prepare the marinade.  Mix oil, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and all spice ingredients together in bowl or directly in large zip lock bag.
  3. Once pressed, cut into slices about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  4. Place tofu slices and marinade in zip lock bag.  Marinade for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
  5. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in a heated skillet.
  6. Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add jalapenos.  Keep cooking until onions are slightly browned.
  7. Add tofu slices directly onto pan.  Cook 8 minutes on each side. Pour extra marinade into pan to form glaze.

And for the carbs…

Baked Jamaican Festival, Makes 12 fritters (Vegan)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance + more for pan-frying step
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 T cane sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/2 vanilla extract
  • Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling (if desired)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour cornmeal, b. powder, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Either using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix in the butter to form a coarse meal.
  4. Add extracts and milk to the flour mix to form the dough.
  5. Knead enough to combine dough thoroughly (about 30 seconds).  Divide into 12 sections.
  6. Form into slightly flattened oval shapes.  Sometimes described as cigars but not quite that cylindrical.
  7. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in frying pan.  Add festivals to pan as they fit.
  8. Cook festivals on each side until a nice crust forms.
  9. When crust is formed, transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until no longer doughy in the middle.  (Ours took a while, but feel free to experiment with upping the temp and less time).
  10. Serve while still warm.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired.

These are a little sweet/dessertish.  But this morning, I came across a fun foodie article related to Caribbean dining in Montreal. It explains that the slight sweetness of the festival is meant to balance out the spice from your jerk chicken tofu.

Note the misspelling in the title when you get to the article.  With the amount of typos on my blog, I certainly am in no place to call another blogger out on typos, but newspaper… Anyhow, it made me feel pleased to have gone with making the festival.


Categories: Baking, Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Jerk Tofu and Baked Festival {Jamaica}

Jamaican me eat too much!

{As I type this, a group of probably tipsy young ladies are loudly singing “Tubthumping” in the apartment building’s hallway}.  {BTW, I pre-posted; they are not drunk at 8:30 AM.}

If I were a pescatarian, Jamaican cuisine would have been amazing.  As it stands, though, it was still a decent meal.  When you think Jamaican food, you must be thinking jerk, right?  Me too.  I marinated slices of tofu in soy sauce, oil, Jamaican seasoning, and lime juice (oh, ginger).  I sauteed an onion, some garlic, and a jalapeno in the pan before dumping the slices and marinade into the pan.  Got a little smoky in here again 🙂

I did attempt to healthify the festival.  I’m not sure if was a good idea or came close to replicating it authentically, but it was a good faith effort.  Instead of deep frying, I pan fried slightly and baked (guess I was going for the arepa method).  I also used whole wheat flour in them, along with the cornmeal required by typical recipes.  One thing that I found to be very interesting about the little breads was that sugar is used like it used to be before the Sugar Revolution–as a spice.  Sugar is added in to the dough mix along with salt and other seasonings.  It’s not the star of the dish, as in dessert.

As for sides, I was thrilled to learn that a standard baked sweet potato is common in Jamaica.  Since starting the Pearl Project, we’ve been trying so many new foods that we rarely get our old favorites, such as baked sweet potatoes and kale chips.

Cue the calypso!

Categories: Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Curried Tofu and Roti {Trinidad and Tobago}

So if you’re a dedicated follower (then I love you, but that is beside the point), you might remember how I left you with a roti cliffhanger after the Surinamese meal.  I really thought I’d be making roti again the next night, but it ended up being almost a week before I attempted again.  Rest assured, you questions about attempt number two will be answered in this post.

Cue the calypso music!  You might pretend I listened to calypso music while preparing this dish…

Trinidad and Tobago is a country composed of islands–two large ones in particular.  (I’ll let you guess on the names of the two large islands).  The country is found just of the northern coast of South America. Much like Surinamese cuisine, the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago is heavily influenced by the cuisine of many other cultures: Indian, Chinese, Amerindian, etc.  Chicken curry and roti is arguably the most well-known dish of the country.  I love it–I get to take a stab at Indian food (and the tofu I use in it) without actually having to cross India off of my country list.

I’ve made some Indian foods before (Saag Aloo, Veg. Biryani,  and Chana Masala), but never actually a curry.  I went with a very simple chicken curry recipe, subtracted the chicken, added some tofu.  I honestly cannot find the link to the exact recipe I used/adapted, but my base was crushed tomatoes and yogurt with coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, ginger, onions, garlic, and of course curry powder.  Jordan rating: definitely in the top 5 dishes so far.

And would you look at that roti.  It actually rolled this time, was soft, and had a bit of flavor.  A vast, vast improvement from the last go round.  At lunch, Jordan compared his roti with roti that one of his Indian co-workers brings in.  He said it was looking quite similar.  Whew!  I admit, I feel some pressure is on when I cook Indian food and he takes the leftovers.  🙂

Categories: Asian Food, Breads/Starches, Caribbean Cooking, Leftovers, South Asian Cuisine, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Call me Wy-CHEF Jean: Soup Joumou and Plantain Puree

Yes, my pun is absolutely horrible.  And yes, I’ve pretty much exhausted my hip-hop related puns.  Let’s see if I cannot work some Tupac Shakur into another food title somewhere, yeah?  In case you have not guessed by the title, last night’s meal was a food tribute to Haiti.

(Maps courtesy of the husband!)

Switching pop culture gears a bit, I thought of Cher (Alicia Silverstone) in Clueless while making this meal.  Glorious Clueless quote here (must read the word “Haitians” as “hate-ee-ans”):

So like, right now for example. The Haitians need to come to America. But some people are all, “What about the strain on our resources?” Well it’s like when I had this garden party for my father’s birthday, right? I put R.S.V.P. ’cause it was a sit-down dinner. But some people came that like did not R.S.V.P. I was like totally buggin’. I had to haul ass to the kitchen, redistribute the food, and squish in extra place settings. But by the end of the day it was, like, the more the merrier. And so if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion may I please remind you it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty. Thank you very much.”

So maybe our government will not “just get to the kitchen…[and] certainly party with the Haitians,” but I certainly will.

Haitian food combines the food of the French colonists with the African food culture of the slaves brought to the island.  Many vegetables and fruits are used in their cuisine, and rice, beans, and corn are staples.  Thus, easy for a vegetarian to party in the kitchen! 

Enter: Soup Joumou.

Soup Joumou has an awesome story.  The French Government had actually forbidden slaves to eat pumpkin (too extravagant), making this a forbidden meal.  So now the Haitians eat it to celebrate their independence every New Years Day.  (I know, I’m off on my timing quite a bit, but the new year is still beginning, right?)

My version is vegan, and I like my soups with a lot of texture, so it’s not over-blended.

Soup Joumou Recipe Serves 6


  • 5 cups water
  • 1 package frozen cubes of pumpkin (was so thrilled to find this in the store!)
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 potato
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 T Earth Balance + 1 more later
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. Melt 1 T Earth Balance in large saucepan.  Add pumpkin, turnips, celery, onion, potato, parsley, thyme, and garlic.
  2. Cover with water and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
  3. Discard your parsley and thyme if desired.  I actually took the stems out, but left the herbs in.
  4. Drain all but 1/4-1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Using an immersion blender (or transfer to traditional), puree vegetables to desired consistency.
  5. Add almond milk, nutmeg, 1 T E.B., and rice.  Cook until rice is tender.

Serve hot with hearty slices of buttered bread.  And then prepare yourself for dessert.

I enjoyed the soup, but I really loved the dessert last night. I ended up making another vegan dish out of it.

Plaintain Puree (Bouillie de Banane et Plantain) Serves 6


  • 1 plantain
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • extra banana slice for garnish


  1. Using an immersion blender (favorite tool of the night) or food processor, puree the banana and the plantain with the water.
  2. In saucepan, add puree, coconut milk, almond milk, brown sugar, and star anise.
  3. Bring mixture to a low boil, stirring often.  Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with bananas.

Something about this tastes so delicious and buttery.  (But you’d have to like your coconut milk).  I had a bowl last night, but also had mixed it with oats and chia seeds this morning for breakfast.

Overall, I’d call Haiti night a success!  Jordan is still raving about the nasi goreng, though…

Next up, Croatia!


Categories: Caribbean Cooking, Desserts, Food, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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