Now Everyone Can Have Their Pie:Bajan Vegan Macaroni Pie
Rich,flavourful, mildly spicy, morish, “De Best” are words and phrases that describe Barbadian Macaroni Pie. It is a comfort food for most but can be also a pain for the many people in Barbados who are lactose intolerant especially because some of them still eat it and stay home! This solves the problem for them and also lightens the load of the calories for the traditional pie. Now let me clear up the mac and cheese Macaroni Pie issue. Mac and Cheese for me is the American version which may be saucy or can be baked in a casserole sometimes. Macaroni Pie is really very Caribbean and it is a pie that can or cannot be seasoned with whatever wet seasoning.Basically it is the Caribbean version to mac and cheese just more herbs and spices inside and it has to be baked and cut into pieces. I ate too much vegetarian macaroni pie in my life and I will tell ya this taste like the real thing. I would not even bother to tell people it is vegan unless they had a soy allergy or something because they will not know there is not 2 pounds of cheese inside because it taste like there is 2 pounds of cheese inside!
OK. there are some people who eat macaroni pie every single day seriously. You see this plate they eat it every single day with sometimes rice and peas and a side of protein because this trio is one of those major lunch meals all over the Caribbean. I had a food and nutrition teacher who argue with us from a young age advising us not to eat this trio because there was too much protein in the meal and basically it was unbalanced so I took her advice and stopped eating it vegan or not. If I do eat the trio, vegan of course the portions will be very small almost like a tasting.
Macaroni Pie is also a dish that the “can’t cook” can make. It is the only dish people want to know how to make so you may find some can’t cook bachelors making a hell of a pie. It seems to be in its own food group in Barbados. I know when I was growing up I use to hear men talk about that girl she can make a good pie or this woman that sell at this shop pie taste good so like a good apple pie in the states makes a good chef a good macaroni pie is looked upon as something great.
There was a myth that a macaroni has to have in an egg wash (that’s what they call it back home) in it to bind. NO! I remember my dad doing it one Sunday ….umm late 90′s and I did not like it all all as it did not bind so I too at this young age thought that doing the pie without the egg and milk mixture was a no no. Finally I learnt to make a cheesy roux at school and this ended this binding issues. Other binders for egg and cheese free pie can be a bit of cornstarch. Some reserve macaroni water and a roux of course. The macaroni pie should be able to cut into neat pieces and should not collapse. Even this pie right out of the oven will hold its shape but i will not be as clean cut as the one in the photo as I let that cool for 30 minutes before cutting. I have a cousin in Canada who loves to eat the vegetarian version of the pie and he always takes off the top of his pie and saves it for later. He is actually an advocate for selling macaroni pie tops because they are so good. I made mine with some extra roux and I put some crumb on the top but to get the crust my cousin saves for later just follow the recipe in the book and do the extra roux for the top and put it under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes to get that brown hard crust.
Now there is a feud I want to address..the feud between among other islands and Barbados. There have some nationals from other islands that exclaim that the one from Barbados is the best and there are others who have not spoken up about it. Some do it in hiding so no one can hear lol. There are others that roll the eyes to this assertion. I can see you…. I have only tried macaroni pie from 3 other islands other than Barbados and for now and probably forever Barbadian pie seals the deal for me. Some people use to say it was the Anchor Cheddar with the vegetarian rennet but my version does not contain this and it is still cheesy in and yummy. I think it is the Bajan Seasoning, the ketchup and the grated onion. The ketchup in my pie and the traditional one gives the pie it characteristic orange colour and some people even add more on top of their piece because they like it very sweet. I personally like my pie with a little peppery kick so I integrate Barbadian Pepper Sauce in my pie.
When I made this recipe abt a year and a half I jumped in victory because having my book without this pie would make it incomplete so this recipe has a lot of significance. Giving this to the “pie mouts”. They remark ” It taste like the real thing, it doesnt have it at least vegan cheese?” “NOOOOO…I remark as I do not get good vegan cheese here and it would not give me that rich texture I like. So it taste like the real thing, it is less calories and it is vegan.
What are you waiting for then my fellow Bajans (people from Barbados) and readers.
Make macaroni pie for your next potluck, family dinner or break up solo dinner. Whatever occasion it would console you and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Happy Thursday.. MOFO is almost over….what a trip only 6 more post to go.
Next week is Bajan week meaning Barbados week as independence day is on the 30th so I want to do Bajan delicacies and speak about the island a bit as I do not do that enough.
I will take a small break after MOFO and try to post recipes for the ham and other holiday gift ideas. This year people on my list will be getting cookies and home made sweets, chocolate truffles, trio popcorn(still working on the cheesy one) and ice cream. I have a lot of work to do so I need to take a little break and come back strong.
That is all for today