Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cool Caribbean Curry with Plantains

Last night was a night of firsts for the ladies and gentleman of this apartment: we used both plantains and black-eyed peas for the first time.  I'm just as surprised as you are that we hadn't cooked up some black-eyed peas before now (seriously, though, I think my soft spot for black-eyed peas can only be attributed to the fact that they remind me of black-eyed Susans).  Our adventure was successful, as you can see:

Warning: This is Not Your Average Curry.
Cool Caribbean Curry with Plantains
  • 3 very ripe plantains, peeled, split lengthwise and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 large red pepper, diced finely
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4.5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/8 cups lite coconut milk
  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 2 - 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 teaspoons honey
  • 1.5 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 cups brown rice, prepared according to package instructions
First, steam the plantains.  Insert a steamer basket or metal sieve into a medium-sized saucepan and add an inch or two of water (the water should be below the bottom of the steamer basket/seive).  Bring the water to a boil and place the plantains in the steamer basket/seive.  Cover the pot and steam for about 10 minutes or until the plantains look bright yellow and plump.  Drain the water, re-cover the plantains to keep them warm, and set aside. 

Meanwhile, prepare the curry.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and peppers and sauté for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, ginger, and bay leaves and continue cooking for another two minutes.  Next, add a splash of water and stir in the curry powder, cinnamon, and thyme.  Mix for 30 seconds before adding the salt, coconut milk, water, and black-eyed peas.  Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.  Finally, add the honey and lime juice and any extra salt or seasoning, to taste.  Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  
To serve, spoon the curry over a bed of brown rice and top with plantains.  Yields 6 servings.

This dish is both visually appealing and pleasing to the palate.  The colors are as bright as the flavors.  The creamy coconut milk tempers the curry powder and jalapeno, so the dish is really more mild than spicy.  And I really enjoy the meatiness of the plantains--they're really nice to bite into, which is a sensation that is often missing in many vegan recipes. 
Despite the fact that Uganda was the top producer of plantains in 2009 (according to Wikipedia) and I live in the U.S., we had no trouble finding them at the grocery store--along with all of the other ingredients.  Isn't it funny how that works?
 Ease of Preparation:     
This dish depends pretty heavily on having the kitchen tools needed to steam the plantains (or you can always do this).  That said, the actual cooking process is pretty simple.    
Non-vegan friendliness:      
We all enjoyed this dish.  Simon says that the hearty plantains are a welcome addition to the meal. 


  1. Honey? Vegan? Really? Other than that, good recipe :)

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog!

      Honey is the only animal product I eat, and I do consider myself vegan. Please see my note on honey here ( and let me know if you have any thoughts. Thanks!