After being the poorest country in the Americas for years, the small country of Haiti was finally brought to the world's attention earliest this year when a horrific earthquake struck and destroyed its capital city of Port-au-Prince. While it is terrible that it took such a traumatic event to bring Haiti to the world's attention, Haiti is now, finally, being given some much-deserved help and attention.
As such, it made sense to me to choose Haiti as one of our countries for Regional Recipes, seeing as how I knew so little about it's history, culture, or cuisine. Here is what I learned.
Haitian cuisine is typically very similar to that of French Creole/Cajun but with a Caribbean twist, drawing on the many tropical fruits and vegetables that grace its shores. Haitian dishes are spicy, often using peppers, such as the Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper, and bold seasonings to flavor it. Rice and beans, along with fried goat or pork are very popular dishes, and are often served with fried plantains on the side.
Now that I have made myself sufficiently hungry, let's delve into the dishes!
First up, we have Cool Lassi(e) of Pan Gravy Kadai Curry who submitted two recipes to this month's round up. Since Haiti is such a tropical country, she thought she would start us off with a cool and refreshing Haitian Mango Juice. Considering the fact that it's almost 80 degrees in NY today, I could certainly use one of those!
She also brings the Haitian national dish - Riz et Pois Rouges or Haitian Red Beans and Rice. This dish is so spicy, I can see why she ended up making the mango juice as well...her palate definitely needed some cooling after this. Delicious.
Deb (along with the rest of us, I fear) of Kahakai Kitchen experienced a slight panic attack when finding out the next country on our culinary journey was Haiti (this is me projecting my emotions). However, she was much relieved when her May issue of Cooking Light came in the mail and contained a whole segment on Haitian food. Boy am I glad it did because her Snapper in Haitian Court-Bouillon looks fantastic.
Marisa of The Creative Pot graces us with not one. Not two. But THREE recipes, each of which builds upon the next to make a complete meal. First up is the Sauce Ti Malice or Haitian hot sauce. Be sure to check out Marisa's post to read about how this spicy concoction came to be.
Next up, we have Tassot or fried goat, which is traditionally served with the Sauce Ti Malice. Marisa explained the addictive nature of this dish using the oft quoted Pringles slogan...once you pop, you just can't stop.
Finally, to round out the meal, Marisa provides us with Diri Jon Jon or Mushroom Rice. She had to get up early to make this dish before the approaching deadline, so I'm certainly glad that she liked it enough for it to be worth her while!
Now that it's getting to be bathing suit season and salads for dinner are becoming ever more critical, I was so glad that Faith of An Edible Mosaic decided to share her Tropical Chicken Salad. You need to check this out...the breading is made with incredibly unique Haiti-inspired ingredients!
Danielle of Cooking for My Peace of Mind submitted not one, not two, but THREE recipes this month! The first up is her Mango Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze. When making these, Danielle pondered the critical question that we all face at one point or another - cupcakes and muffins, WHAT is the difference? It seems very chicken-and-egg to me...
These Haitian Carnitas also came from Danielle's kitchen. These babies may or may not actually be Haitian in origin, but I say who cares so long as they have Haitian seasonings! We live in a globalized world people! Fusion is everywhere.
Our last entry from Danielle is these succulent Haitian Chicken Legs. As someone who really only likes dark meat poultry...I can definitely appreciate these!
Before deciding which dish to create, Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy and Low Calorie did some serious research on Haiti (she really wanted to emotionally connect with this month's country :P) so you should stop by her blog to learn a fun fact or two! Not only that, but she also made these delicious Haitian Chicken Puffs! I'm so glad you stepped outside of your comfort zone for these Debbi!
The lovely Chaya of Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog decided to make the Haitian national recipe of riz and pois (rice and beans). Carbs on carbs? Sounds like my kind of dish.
Finally, we have my version of Joumou, a Haitian Pumpkin Soup. I added okra to the soup because it is very popular in Creole cooking (and was being sold at my Farmer's Market...and I just couldn't resist).
Thanks everyone for participating!