COMMENTS TEMPORARILY CLOSED UNTIL I ANNOUNCE THE WINNER LATER TODAY!
“Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free – Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion”
If reading food-related blog and websites is part of your regular routine then you should already know by now about veganism and how it differs from vegetarianism. From wikipedia:
“Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.Vegans endeavor to never consume or use any animal products of any type. The most common reasons for becoming, or remaining, vegan are moral conviction concerning animal rights or welfare, health, environmental concerns, and spiritual or religious concerns…”
Vegetarians on the other hand, adhere to a meat-free diet, but may eat foods from animals such as eggs, dairy or honey. There are some people who call themselves vegetarian and say they eat fish. Or chicken. I’ll leave that one alone
Me, I am not actually vegetarian. But being Muslim (for me) means that I try to eat only halaal (or permissible) food. This means that I don’t eat meat of the pig or alcohol. I eat meat, but it must be halaal,* which means that the animal is slaughtered in a particular way with a prayer. What this also means that, since I didn’t grow up in a Muslim country, is that I grew up reading food labels and being very conscious of ingredients in my food. Also, when I travel to places where halaal meats are not available, I tend to be (what Lilandra termed) a pseudo-pesco-ovo-lacto-vegetarian. Sometimes, I have even been an actual vegetarian, albeit for brief periods.
So, of course I was excited when I first encountered Taymer Mason’s blog, Caribbean Vegan and then later that she was working on a cookbook with real Caribbean food. Real Caribbean food that happens to be vegan. Caribbean Vegan is wonderful collection of recipes and information, with gorgeous photography from Cynthia Nelson of Tastes Like Home. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to want to make Bajan conkies, or coconut turnovers, macaroni pie, traditional peas and beans. She’s even managed to convert the Bajan fishcake into a vegan dish. There are 125 recipes but that’s not all. There is much Caribbean cooking information and guidance, including kitchen-necessities like our green seasonings so you can be assured this is REAL Caribbean cooking.
People may think veganism is exotic or bizarre but many foods we normally eat are already vegan. Or can be easily “veganised”. I looked through my Recipe page and found 9 recipes that are already vegan (not counting condiments) and a few more vegetarian dishes where the dairy element could easily be replaced with a vegan-friendly substitute. Many of these might be foods with loose or direct origins in India, but are part of every day Trini (and Caribbean) life. Here are a few of my vegan recipes to get you thinking –
|Aloo Pie– well-seasoned potato stuffed into dough and fried – Trini street food served with chutney or channa||Baigani – Sliced eggplant, dipped in a seasoned thick yellow split pea batter and deep fried. Serve with some spicy mango or tamarind chutney.||Black-eye Peas Googni – boiled peas, sautéed with onions, garlic, cumin (geera) etc Use your favourite legume, whether channa (chick peas) or pigeon peas etc.|
|Dhal, trini-style – spicy boiled and chunkayed yellow split peas, served in liquid form to accompany rice, roti or as a soup||Fry Aloo – Trini dish, usually eaten with sada roti – thinly sliced aloo (potato) sautéed with onions and garlic until the edges are brown and crispy||
Doubles – thin fried rounds wrapped around soft curried channa, eaten with pepper sauce and hot chutneys.
Falafel – crunchy fried channa and lentil fritter, that well-known Middle Eastern treat
|Kachourie, Trini-style – ground split peas, seasoned and deep fried to crispy goodness, served with spicy chutney||Paratha (Buss up Shut) Trini-style – roti, flaky light and layered flat bread cooked on a tawah and then bussed-up, or pulled apart|
So, check out Caribbean Vegan (Amazon link) for some wonderful recipes and information. But for now, and until Wednesday 8th December 2010, you have an opportunity to win a free copy of Caribbean Vegan right here! Yup. All you have to do is leave a comment here (or on my Facebook page) naming a favourite food item that is vegan. Imaginary points are added if you just realised you’ve been enjoying a vegan dish all this time.
I’ll announce the winner (random selection) on Thursday 9th December 2010 and will contact you to get mailing information for the publisher, The Experiment, to send you your free copy.
Edit (2 December 2010): Disclaimer! I should add that I only received a copy of the book for review, with no conditions attached. So, other than knowing Taymer through her blog I have no affiliations and whatnot.
Also, my family (Lilandra and Trinimom) aren’t part of the competition for fairness and transparency. But they also enjoy vegan dishes!
Muslims are also permitted to eat food “of people of the Book”, which refers to Jews and Christians. Since it’s only Jews who have prescribed and certified foods that I can recognise, I also eat kosher (once it’s alcohol-free of course – kosher does not include pork)
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