Vegan Pudding and “Souse”
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With that said since my book is out I cannot email anyone the recipe and if you like Bajan food in general you can buy the book
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 The slave masters probably deemed it expensive to import oatmeal so I guess , do not quote me, so the slaves probably made their own version with sweet potatoes with what they had and they really got it right.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.
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?? My husband had this for the first time today and boy was he scared. I can understand with anything new and this is really new to most people outside Barbados or outside the Caribbean.The good news is that he loved it and the concept. Finally I can re live Saturdays with Pudding and Souse cruelty free.