Innovation in cuisine

Callaloo bush can be used in a soup, or in a rice and even cooked like spinach, but think a bit further and it can be the filling for a light and dreamy crepe. - SUREASH CHOLAI
Callaloo bush can be used in a soup, or in a rice and even cooked like spinach, but think a bit further and it can be the filling for a light and dreamy crepe. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Cheers to our 60th Independence, through the years we have managed to hold on to our traditional cuisine and innovate as well. Innovation in cuisine for me translates to finding new ways to prepare our traditional dishes which gives a wonderful feeling of independence and excitement in our meals.

Here are some innovations I have made in the past years. Callaloo is a perfect example, we enjoy "callaloo bush" in our soup, or in a rice and even cooked like spinach, but think a bit further and it can be the filling for a light and dreamy crepe.

Christophene is another vegetable that is probably passed up at the markets, on its own it’s very bland, but spice up the meat, stuff it back into its shell and it becomes a star all on its own.

Or, take the humble banana, yes they are wonderful in banana bread and make the perfect snack on their own, but how about a fritter dressed up with a sweet and sour brown sugar pomegranate syrup. The slight sourness of the pomegranate syrup balances the sweetness of the fritters adding an exotic twist to a traditional dish.

Yes we do enjoy our traditional foods, but small changes occasionally can be great as well. Happy cooking!

Callaloo crepes

For the crepes:

1 cup cake flour

⅛ tsp grated nutmeg

pinch salt

⅔ cup each milk and water

3 eggs

3 tbs melted butter

Whisk together flour, nutmeg, salt.

Combine water and milk. Add to flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time.

Whisk in melted butter.

Rest 10 to 30 minutes.

Preheat a 6-inch frying pan, grease lightly and pour about ¼ cup of batter into pan, swirl to cover bottom of pan, if batter seems too much in pan, pour off excess.

When crepes appear dry around the edges, flip, cook for a few seconds later and remove.

Makes about 10, five-inch crepes.

For the sauce:

1¼ cups milk

⅓ cup flour

3 eggs lightly beaten

Salt and black pepper

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

¼ cup parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan heat milk, whisk in flour and cook until smooth and thick about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly and stir in eggs, nutmeg salt and pepper.

Warm mixture gently and add Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

For the callaloo:

2 tbs coconut oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ hot pepper, chopped

1 small bunch callaloo /dasheen bush, leaves only

½ cup coconut milk

Heat oil in sauté pan, add onions, and garlic and pepper, sauté until tender, add callaloo bush and stir.

Add coconut milk slowly while callaloo is cooking.

Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender.

Add callaloo to sauce mixture. Spoon mixture into crepes and roll.

Place on plates and spoon spicy tomato sauce over top. Serves 4 to 6

Spicy tomato sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped finely

1 28 ounce can tomatoes

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp sugar

⅓ cup fresh basil or 1 tsp dried Italian herbs

Make the sauce by heating olive oil in a heavy saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, add carrots and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Add tomatoes and break with the spoon.

Season with salt, pepper and add sugar. Add basil and continue to stir.

Cover and simmer the sauce for about 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Stuffed christophenes

2 medium christophenes, cut into halves, with the hearts removed

2 tbs coconut oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ hot pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ cup chopped chives

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

½ cup breadcrumb

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ cup finely grated cheese

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place christophene into a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Carefully scoop out the flesh leaving the shell intact. Mash christophenes to small chunks.

Heat oil in a sauté pan, sauté onion, garlic pepper and chives, add christophene and sauté. Add nutmeg, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine breadcrumbs, parsley and cheese. Fill each christophene shell with the christophene mixture.

Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture; place in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Serves 4.

Banana fritters with pomegranate brown sugar cane syrup

Banana fritters -


1 cup flour

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp baking powder

1 egg

½ cup milk

Combine all ingredients and whisk to a smooth consistency.

Refrigerate until ready for use 30 mins or so.

4 bananas, sliced diagonally into one inch slices

Vegetable oil for frying

Heat oil, cover banana pieces with batter and deep fry until golden, 3 mins per side

Drain dust with icing sugar and serve with syrup, right away.


½ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup water

3 tbs pomegranate molasses

1 one inch piece of cinnamon

Combine sugar, water and spice, boil until thick about 10 mins.

Remove and stir in pomegranate molasses

Cool and serve


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