Barbados Week:Vegan Pudding and Souse
Here is todays late and second installment of Barbados week. I am having a problem posting as I am preparing for a test and stuff these days so it is hard to be trying to study to cook for the blog BUT I signed up for this and I will commit but excuse me if I am late in the day with my posts for the rest of the week.
Today we will learn a little about the way of life.
Barbados is a very modern society with the old style elegant Caribbean charm. There is a bit of sophistication in some areas yet you have urban areas which have similar characteristics of most urban areas. Barbados is split up into 11 parishes and each of them look completely different. I am from the South Coast and it is known for its easy going nature, night life and high population density. The types of homes vary with more people opting to build wall structures and there was a move away from the traditional chattel house which was a prefabricated building. Since most people have higher education getting a job is quite competitive but industries include banking and finance, information technology, insurance and a bit of the manufacturing industry on a small-scale. Social gatherings include going to concerts, multiplex cinemas or just going out to dinner with friends. Barbadians love to dress up and every time I go home I enjoy seeing the street style which changes every 3 months or so. Barbadians fashion is influenced from NYC and London but many people actually like to get their clothes custom made which is much cheaper. Driving in Barbados as I said before is on the left but only expect free carefree driving in the countryside meaning that there is not a lot of traffic. The traffic situation has improved in Barbados and even if we have the largest network of roads for such a small country the traffic can be surprising for some. Overall it is safe place to live and it oozes culture. Tomorrow read about culture.
Vegan Pudding and Souse
My favourite dish before I was vegan was pudding and souse and after going vegan it still is. You see I could not give this up at all there is just something special about this dish and I do not know what but even the smell when I mix up pudding makes me swoon and get slightly light-headed wondering why I am not in Barbados sitting somewhere eating this. Pudding is made up of white sweet potato grated and seasoned with cloves and fresh herbs and sugar. It is a savoury dish even if it is slightly sweet. The pudding is adapted from British Black Pudding since it was being done in the Caribbean they used sweet potatoes as the starch. The liquid you can see is called pickle and it is a lime and salt water based with onions, parsley and hot peppers. It is quite spicy and served cold over the warm pudding and be prepared for a sweat or a runny nose. I use a few pieces of morning star strips cooked in a spice bath and then I boiled some fresh green bananas I got today and ate it alongside everything. I am in good place right now and even if this one is an aquired taste it will always be my favourite dish for the rest of my life.
So you think this a a lunch dish…think again it is a brunch dish served every Saturday in Barbados. Every Saturday morning you may see some people congregating around some houses even in the burbs to buy this as there are many people who sell this and make a little money from this on weekends. No one was every able to make a good one for me so I made my own after getting a partial recipe from my grandmother over the phone. The result is a warm moist pudding that just packs so much punch ….ok I will stop…running out of time and there are errands to run.
Click here to read more about pudding and souse since I do not want to repeat myself. Instead of breadfruit this time I use green bananas boiled.
Find out why I like this so much
Sorry for the short post but I have so much to do today really and no time.
Now if you know that you are not an adventurous eater or very open minded about food outside your norm you should stop reading this post now. Seriously. This dish is something is represents Barbados and it is something I honestly thought I would never taste again because the original version is a pork plate and I knew that there was nothing that could mimic it. Pudding and Souse is a cold plate usually eaten every Saturday afternoon or late morning by Barbadian people and sometimes washed down by burn out your intestines rum by some. It is spicy so imagine drinking rum with this? This dish has been resurging as a popular Saturday dish for some Barbadian youth so at least this is one dish that would not fall by the wayside in the future.If anyone is from England something like this is made in England called Black Pudding but the seasoning blends and carbohydrate components are different. If you remember Barbados was a colony of England until 1966 so Black Pudding was brought from England. The black pudding in england carbohydrate base is oatmeal. The slave masters probably deemed it expensive to import oatmeal so I guess , do not quote me, so the slaves probably made their own version with sweet potatoes with what they had and they really got it right. A few years back I saw some Chinese tourist in the city eating this dish in an open air restaurant. I passed by and the look on their faces made me smile because I can imagine it is so out of the box for them but they really were enjoying it. I have been making this dish for many years but since I turned vegan I put it out of my head. I even had to call up my dad to refresh my memory. Many believed that Pudding and Souse is the national dish since it is consumed more than Cou Cou (kinda polenta and okra mixed). Pudding and souse is made up of four components and I would explain each of them now.
The pudding is made with grated white Sweet Potatoes with sugar and spices including Scotch Bonnet peppers and a hint of clove. It is baked or steamed and it is the star of the dish. The pudding is the brown mass of goodness in the middle. This pudding is sometimes stuffed into casings( i am saving you the gore) and steamed and they look like sausages. Many omnivores in Barbados do not like the idea of their pudding in casings so many restaurants serve it out of the casing like I have in the dish. It is also time consuming to stuff this into casings so why bother?Are you still with me? The pudding taste like something you honestly never tasted before so I cannot even compare this to something else. The texture that is created by grating the sweet potatoes and then steaming it with the right balance of spices makes pudding something you should not miss out when visiting Barbados. Most puddings are vegan as many Barbadians tend to use margarine instead of butter and the margarine made in Barbados is vegan thankfully.
Breadfruit ( used green banana in this version)
Remember breadfruit? This shows up again in this dish. I do not know why because the carb of the sweet potato pudding is there but many of these dishes are off balanced if you ask me (right bajangyal the slaves ate more carbs for more energy in the fields). The breadfruit however complements this dish as it soaks up the pickle and it just goes with the dish do not ask me how you have to try it for yourself. I have a pet peeve. Some Bajans and restaurants love sweet potatoes so much they serve sweet potato where the breadfruit is on the plate. Now tell me you have the pudding already made with sweet potato….hmm
The Souse ( pronounced like house with an S)
The souse is traditionally made with pig parts and I am not going to expand. I found that the morning star fake chicken strips do not taste like chicken at all (unseasoned) and they are more porky so I boiled them in a special sauce with a bouquet garni to really get the flavour right. I also made some seitan that kinda resembled a chewy piece of protein. The protein here should have a boiled appearance and should not be seasoned too heavily as you have to soak them in the last component, the pickle.
Is the beautiful sauce you can see all over the dish. It is cucumber and onion based with some parsley and other ingredients. It is salty, acid and a slightly spicy from the Scotch Bonnets. Since the original dish is pork this pickle kinda cooks the pork all over again I guess. I did not deviate from the recipe because I wanted to keep things as authentic as possible.
When you put the dish together you have what we call pudding and souse a mix of sweet, spicy, salty and acid. Are you still here?? Finally I can re live Saturdays with Pudding and Souse cruelty free.