Bajan Salt Bread and “Vham” Cutters
Want the recipe for Bajan salt bread, turnovers, conkies and a lot more buy Caribbean Vegan today.
Salt Breads are kinda the national bread of Barbados like the baguette is to France. The salt bread is a rustic bun with a hard exterior and an almost “meaty soft” inside. Salt breads are sold all over the island in the supermarkets, bread men etc. What the salt bread makes is a “CUTTER” pronounced “cut tah” and a cutter is Bajan Dialect for a sandwich in a bun. Cutters are mainly found in rum shops and a rum shop is like a bar but this is not the kinda bar you go in with a nice push up bra and hairdo to meet Mr Wrong; it is a bar that has mainly old seasoned drinkers note I did not call them alcoholics :). They socialize at this bar and drink Barbadian rum mixes and play dominoes and gossip, the good life. These rum shops are scattered all over the island and I like to go in them sometimes to sit and have a drink especially if one is near the beach. Now back to cutters. Cutters are not made for vegans. The cutters range from flying-fish, fried egg, cheese and beef stew. The ham cutter is the favourite cutter of the island of Barbados and it is still dear to me even as a vegan as it is very simple and comforting and, it reminds me of Christmas morning breakfast.
The Bajan Cutters
I was planning on developing a vegan Bajan style “vham” but I left most of my ingredients at my parents in Barbados so when I go home on holiday I will make it there. Thanks to Felicity at Thrifty Living I was able to get something very close to ham to make my cutter. Her blog has a whole section on faux meat and the instructions are very easy. Thanks Felicity. I made her Vegan Style Ham with a few subs and I made a glaze with maple, brown sugar, mustard and ground cloves and baked up this faux ham.The smell was amazing all it was missing was a Banks Beer (Barbados Beer) mixed in with the glaze and I would be smelling Christmas.
Cutters are very simple there are no condiments, no horseradish or mustard or ketchup. It is just meat in bread and drop of Bajan Pepper Sauce that’s it. The dressed up cutters are found in restaurants on the island and at places that pack a gourmet picnic basket for you if you are vacationing. I made mine like this with a huge dollop of pepper sauce. The smell was very close to what I would smell when I got this pre vegan in a restaurant. Mission accomplished.
The Bajan Salt bread recipe is elusive and even when you search on line there is one recipe but it is not the real thing. Making salt bread are well kept secrets and family recipes and I understand why the recipe is not floating around on the Internet. I do not have the real recipe but I back engineered the bread and came out with an old fashioned salt bread. The green thing you see at the top is a coconut leaf which was put on top of the proofing bread and baked. When baking this leaf allows the bread to burst giving what we know as salt bread with the cracks on the surface. The leaf also gives that authentic smell to the bread really differentiating it from a regular roll. I called my dad and he said that the leaf does nothing but dad, I am going to say it does. On Cynthia’s site she has what I call a textbook version of the salt bread.I think this is store bought from a baker and she speaks a little on the bread. The exterior looks rustic but still softer than my version but after a few test I think I am close to making this softer version. I will put two versions in my book if it ever becomes a reality and my testers will receive the recipe in the future.
Thanks to the testers who volunteered to do the Macaroni Pie. I am quite grateful for your response and your efforts will be rewarded some way or the other.
So that is it a sneak preview of the elusive Bajan Salt bread and an further enrichment of Barbadian culture. This is the aim of my blog to really educate people about the Caribbean on a whole and of my native island Barbados because, many times I have seen vegan Caribbean recipes or just Caribbean recipes that are in cookbooks that are stereotypical and imaginative of what persons that live abroad think we eat; when it is not the case. I think it is time enough that Caribbean cuisine be not some obscure cuisine and it should joins the ranks with the other countries in the world and who best to do these things than people from the Caribbean region. It may not be me but we really need to hold on to our culture and be proud of it and, showcase it as it is being lost to pizzas and hot dogs( no offense to those two foods). The island of Jamaica is not representative of the entire the Caribbean so jerk this and jerk that is not something all of us eat ( I had jerk chicken once and I was in Canada) . I really want to show the differences on many islands as each island is a totally different country and has its own cuisine. I am a bit biased to Barbados because it is my home and the cuisine there is very whimsical and fun but with that said I will focus more on other islands with some input from people from these regions as I do not want to misrepresent any island. I will have some guest posting soon from some people so I can introduce more islands in the region because blogsphere is all about educating people and sharing culture.