HAITI

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The national flag of Haiti is a bicolour flag depicting the national coat of arms, symbolising unity and independence, first designed in 1806.
COUNTRYHAITI
DishesMayi Moulen, Pain de Mais
Time 
Effort 
Rough cost 
COUNTRY HAITI
Capital Port-au-Prince
Population 11,439,646 (85th largest)
Land mass 27,750 km2 (143rd largest)
Languages French + Haitian Creole (official)
Religions86.9% Christianity

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The first of the H’s is Haiti, a country located on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago. Haiti takes up 3/8 of this island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic (see link below for our blog post). Haiti is the most populated nation in the Caribbean and is the third largest Caribbean country by area. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taino people, Haiti suffered multiple colonial invasions by the British, Spanish and French. However, Haiti won back its freedom in 1804 from Napoleon’s Empire, making it the first Latin American / Caribbean nation to gain back its independence and abolish slavery.

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Haitian cuisine reflects the mixture of cultures which have existed upon the island nation’s soil.

Mayi Moulen is a Haitian comfort food classic dish consisting of warm polenta full of vegetables and oil that can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner. It was easy to make, totally delicious and versatile.

But that bag of cornmeal doesn’t need to sit on your larder shelf, reserved only for savoury recipes – OH NO SIR! We also used cornmeal to cook up a delicious Haitian pudding. Pain de Mais is a variation on the classic Caribbean sweet-bread, which each country puts their own unique spin on. The Haitian version has a pudding-like consistency, thanks to the mashed banana and coconut milk. It is traditionally served hot but I have to say that we were loving its gooey, dense texture when ate cold. In fact, we were pretty much obsessed with this cake!

RECIPES

MAYI MOULEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp veg oil
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced or finely diced
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme + parsley
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups cornmeal (the coarse yellow variety ideally)
  • 4 tsp butter or dairy-free alternative
  • TO SERVE: grated cheese + sliced avocado!

METHOD

  1. In a large frying pan, heat the veg oil on a medium heat. Add into the pan the tomatoes, onions, garlic powder, thyme, parsley and pepper. Stir well and fry for a few minutes.
  2. Then stir in the water, tomato paste and water. Reduce the heat slightly and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Now add in the cornmeal and stir well. Cook this mixture uncovered until the water has been absorbed and the cornmeal is a nice thick consistency.
  4. Reduce the heat further and stir in the butter. Then leave the mayi moulen to cook for a further 15 or so minutes. THE FINAL STEP is to enjoy the dish – with grated cheese and slices of fresh avo on top!

PAIN de MAIS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg 
  • ½ tsp ground star anise
  • 1 cup butter or dairy-free alternative, slightly softened
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs or vegan egg substitute
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 can evaporated milk (or the vegan alternative)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp rum

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 180’C and grease a rectangular baking tray with butter.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, coconut, baking powder, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and star anise.
  • In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the butter, salt and sugar together until they are creamy.
  • Then add the vanilla extract and the eggs into the bowl with the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until properly combined. Then mix in the bananas, evaporated milk, coconut milk and rum.
  • Transfer the wet ingredients into the dry bit-by-bit, mixing well after each addition.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared dish and bake for 1 hour. You will know the cake is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Serve hot with custard or cream and/or store in the fridge for later!

Merci beaucoup and see you in Holy Sea! M + B x

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