The Controversial “Chicken” and Chips
Now this post needs and introduction as I cannot dive into it like that. I do not endorse the regular consumption fried foods but in the spirit of Vegan MOFO and my theme of Comfort Food I decided why the heck not create this plate my mother use to make for me on some Friday or Saturday afternoons.
Now in the Caribbean we call what Americans call French Fries chips. Some people may say fries but the word is chips for fries and chips for chips and not crisps. Now before chips came in bags with chip cartoons on it people would peel potatoes…..wow….:) and they still do nothing changed. We would get something call local potatoes back in the day that use to be unscrubbed and I remember the best chips being made from these potatoes. On Friday’s in Barbados you would get something “light” in the afternoon I do not know how a bowl of oats and some hotdogs are light but do not get too bothered with that. You would also get fish and chips not to be compared with the British version (meh) sorry guys or you would have chicken and chips. I remember going into the city with my parents and asking my dad why he did not buy me KFC and he said you have food at home Taymer so I never ate fast food which is not a bad thing but as my father was building his dream house he did not put money into those companies pockets instead everything I wanted to eat I would get it at home. Now some of you health nuts including myself may be wondering what kind of parents give their kids fries. I did not eat it everyday but on some Fridays I would and the portions were small and I was never overweight or obese due to this diet as my parent made lots of healthy meals during the month so having this dish was not too bad as it was not weekly.
My mom would always be responsible for this dish and would always make fresh salads to go with it. She was of the school of thought that no meal was not complete with a serving or 2 of vegetables so imagine having a large side of salad with this meal after eating the salad sometimes you could not finish the fries or the protein. I would always get the first batch of chips which I hated because the oil was too fresh and did not make my chips turn brown and crispy. The chips were always hand cut salted and shallow fried and drained and sometimes my father would put a bit of vinegar on them for me and of course I had to get pepper sauce at the tender age of 5 ,I could not eat without it.Chips are not chips without equal amounts of pepper sauce and ketchup (for me). The protein of choice was whatever was there and it had to be well marinated in Barbadian Seasoning as protein without seasoning was a no no in every household in the Caribbean. I would sit on the ground or go outside and have this in the backyard when I got my plate because I could not stand to sit at the table and I would enjoy the plate until I was full but there was always a longing for more. It was just so good better than any fast food joint. After my dad turned vegan and health nut fries stopped and he started to bake them and there is a recipe for white sweet potato chips in Caribbean Vegan for this method. Even after eating many Friday baked fries there is something sinful and special about chips done in broken down oil that mummy made. There was something special about that salad that a little ketchup got on because of the proximity and there was something special about the way her protein was marinated.
Do not think my mom is a big cook she isnt…she is a basic cook who has perfected her skills in the few dishes she knows and cooking for her was like doing the laundry but doing a good job but there was no joy in it….it is daddy that is the cook and the experimental chef and being around these two different cooks all of their passion has passed down to me. My mothers basic Caribbean cookery and my father’s adventurous cooking style.
I just knew I had to make this vegan but make it right and make it so right that my dad the picky and health nut vegan will be open to try it at least one when I got home. Do not ask me for the recipe I was sick hunched over quickly making this but I will pass on my secrets today so you can experiment at home. I will say after sending the pics to my father he said with his monotone voice hmm it looks really interesting I need to get some vital wheat gluten so he can experiment. Not so fast dad I will show you how to do this.:) So I made a chicken style seitan with a bit of mushroom which I marinated generously with Bajan Seasoning. Then I boiled my seitan breast in a broth and then I made a batter laced with Bajan Seasoning and breaded it how my parents did and Voila! For the fries I use half parts old oil with new and I did not soak them in cold water as the old oil makes them crispy. I keep some strained old oil around for the little frying I do and I store it in a sterile jar in the dark. Here is an upclose shot of the seitan chicken and a picture of what it looks inside. How does it taste? It taste like bajan seasoning a bit of poultry and there is a tender bite to the seitan since it is boiled.It does not have the stringy texture that chicken had but the taste is good. It has a really really good taste from the Bajan Seasoning which takes away that gluten taste which seitan haters like myself cannot stand. Bajan Seasoning is a mixture of herbs and spices that are use as a protein and vegetable condiment in Barbados and that is in the book if you want to know and I will prob put up the recipe soon.
FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT BAJAN (BAY JAN) IS IT THE LOCAL WORD MEANING FROM BARBADOS SO TAYMER IS A BAJAN or Barbadian same thing:)
I asked my parents how they feel about chicken and chips today and they said they saw it as something they ate when they did not want a “cooked” dish meaning a rice or pasta dish with gravy. They saw it as a” light” dish even if it was high in calories. They find the dish comforting and something they long to eat one day again and they thought my seitan looked very realistic and they are open to trying it when I go home for the holidays. I did an oven fried version of the other steaks I had and it looks very similar to the fried piece in the photo.
Vegan Chicken and Chips until we meet again….
I will always love you.
That is it for this weeks Vegan MOFO check me on Monday for more dishes and another controversial dish the Vegan Ham Cutter..I am just shaking in my robe thinking about how foodgasmic biting into a vegan ham cutter would be for me with that pepper sauce and a bit of local lettuce…You would learn about the culture of cutters and what a ham cutter meant to be as a child and how I feel about it now and if the vegan one I eat now really satisfies my craving. You will read about chow Mien and how the Asian community in the Caribbean made chow mein at home and how Caribbean cooks made their own recipe. You will read about my experiment with a berry ice cream and how I hate to love almond tuiles and much more. I am officially on break for the weekend. Thanks to those who made a comment this week and joined the Facebook fan page or those who have been reading all week. I wanted to do a round up of my favourite Mofo ers but 700 sites signed up and it is daunting to read even 100…so I do not know….I still did not get the books yet to host a giveaway but I hope to giveaway a signed copy of Caribbean Vegan.