Can’t Believe There is No Cheese- Bajan Macaroni Pie
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Did you know that Barbados is the home of the best Macaroni Pie in the Caribbean? I guess you did not know but I am telling you now. All islands make a version of this dish and I have tried many of them in my pre vegan days and there is nothing that beats a good Bajan Macaroni Pie.I could hear the teeth sucking now from all my Caribbean people but some places are better at doing certain things like Trinidad and Guyana makes better rotis than the other islands. Sometimes the only dish some people can cook is macaroni pie since it is such a favourite and sometimes men measure a woman by her pie making skills. Yes I am serious ask anyone! What is Macaroni Pie anyways many of you are asking? It is similar to Mac and Cheese but it is not as wetty and there are many interesting flavour notes that are in this pie. That orange American processed cheese is a no no in this pie.When cooled it can be cut and it a side at Sunday Bajan Lunch. The main ingredient is New Zealand Cheddar Cheese and long macaroni that I broken into 1.5 inch pieces. Sometimes a roux is made and herbs and spices are added and it is baked to perfection. Many visitors to the island love this dish as it is available is most restaurants. Unfortunately for us vegans macaroni pie Bajan style is out of the question but I have developed a recipe that can trick expert macaroni pie lovers that I made it with rich New Zealand Cheddar when I did not. There are many vegan mac and cheese recipes all over but I promise you that you would love this one and no one can never guess it is vegan.
The requirements for a good Bajan Macaroni Pie are :-that it must be rich is flavour but not overly so. You must be able to cut it in neat little squares when it is cooled and it must have that fantastic light yellow orange ish reddish colour. It should taste good on its own.When you bake it your kitchen should smell heavenly and take you back to the easy Sunday afternoon lunch in Barbados even if you never been there.
How the hell was I suppose to replicate this dish without New Zealand Cheddar? I first made a tofu “soft cheddar” which was made with medium firm tofu and a little tumeric and blended to medium smooth. I made a roux that was out of this world good to give me some extra binder, I added 3 tbs coconut milk just to get the fat content up there like the real thing but not overly so.When I was finished I had a raw mixture that resembled my dads old vegetarian macaroni pie. The smell was the same and I could not stop eating the un baked mixture.
The Secret Ingredients
My husband does not allow me to have ketchup in the house but you cannot make Bajan Macaroni Pie without it duh. Lucky for me I snagged a few packs in a restaurant so I was able to do this dish( No you will not be seeing my mugshot anytime soon for being a packaged ketchup theif). American mustard gives the colour and a sharp taste to the pie but it is not overpowering. Grated onions give a sweet flavour and also lend in the flavour department.Bajan seasoning was used here in small quantities but the winning herbs which perked up the pie and really sealed the deal was a mixture of fresh thyme and parsley from my garden.This is what gives that background flavour to this pie.
OMG . This taste like macaroni pie from home. I know I will have skeptics about this but I will fight for this recipe. This is one recipe I would push for people to make because it is very good does not have that yeasty tofu trying to be macaroni and cheese taste. I promise you that you will be a star at the next potluck if you make this and you can thank me later.
Update-Testers Needed for this Recipe ( It is not too much work)
I have had more than enough request for testers for this so I am not going to be accepting anymore. The other ppl who requested will get to test another recipe to test and that will be it. Thanks so much to my testers.