All posts filed under: Belize

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Monday Meal Review: Belize

I just did a big kitchen clean-up to get rid of the cluster of stuff I thought I had to have. One big item I got rid of was my bread machine. Although I use it all the time to mix and keep my dough warm, I have never once baked in it. Seems silly, really.  I have a beautiful standing mixer that can mix bread dough just fine (even better, actually), so I’m taking my precious counter space back and tossing the bread machine! (giving it to a friend, actually) I’m generally a fan of the simple life. This Belizean saying underscores what happens when you try to “keep up with the Joneses” and the latest fashions: “Falla-fashin monkey cahn buy good soup guh dung a gully go eat dutty soup” Translation: “Follow-fashion monkey cannot buy good soup, so he goes down to the gully to eat dirty soup.” I’d much rather have good soup than dirty soup, so I guess I’ll never be a fashion monkey! Speaking of which, we had some mighty good …

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Stew Chicken from Belize

Serves 2-4 Although there are many variations on Stew Chicken, most traditional recipes keep it simple – just chicken, red recado, onion, and water. I added bell pepper, Habanero, and lime juice because this variation seems a little more lively. Ingredients: 2 lbs chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because I didn’t want all the work of a whole chicken this time) 1/2 cup red recado (see recipe) 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 Habanero, optional a splash fresh lime juice or vinegar to taste Method: 1. Marinate chicken in red recado overnight (or for at least 1 hour) 2. Heat up oil in a pot over medium. Add chicken and brown in batches as necessary. 3. Remove chicken and add bell pepper and onion and cook until soft. 4. Return chicken to the pot. Toss in optional Habanero (whole for mild spice, or cut up for an intense heat). Cover chicken with water. 5. Stew chicken until meat is falling apart (or off the bones, if you use bone-in meat).  Add …

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Fried Plantains

One plantain serves 1-2 Fried plantains can be on the table in less than 5 minutes. This easy, delicious side dish goes well with any Caribbean or African food. In particular, the slightly sweet flavor helps contrast with both region’s spicy dishes. Ingredients: 1 plantain vegetable oil salt or brown sugar Method: 1. Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Meanwhile, cut plantains into long, oblong slices. NOTE: Choose plantains that are yellow to black in color, not green. The green plantain in the photo was still under ripe and inedible. Green plantains behave like green bananas, after a few days the bland astringency gives way to a mildly sweet flavor. 2. Fry in the oil on both sides until browned. NOTE: How browned you like them is a matter of taste. I like my fried plantains pretty dark 3. Sprinkle immediately with salt or brown sugar. Serve hot. The first time I made plantains – oops crispy. Although they are a bit charred, they are still uber tasty. When I made …

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Johnny Cakes

Makes about 8 Johnny Cakes are like dense biscuits with a mild coconut flavor. In Belize they are often enjoyed in the morning with a slice of melted cheese, eggs, and sausage. They are also wonderful served under Stew Chicken where they wick up the delicious broth. Ingredients: 5 Tbsp melted butter 2 cups flour 2 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup coconut milk Method: 1. Mix flour salt and baking powder together. 2. Add butter and milk. Mix to combine. Knead briefly to bring dough together. 3. Divide into 8 portions. Shape into balls and flatten into discs. Pardon mine looking so “homemade”… I was in a hurry. Ava wanted to play! They still baked up fine 4. Preheat oven to 400F. Prick with a fork and let rest 15 minutes. 5. Brush with milk or butter and bake for 15 minutes. 12345 Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Johnny Cakes are like dense biscuits with a mild coconut flavor. In Belize they are often enjoyed in the …

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Sweet Potato Pone

Serves 6 Sweet Potato Pone is a slightly spiced, dense custard-like dessert, reminiscent of pumpkin pie. Adjust sugar according to your tastes. This version will give you cavities on the first bite. Ingredients: 1 lb finely grated sweet potato 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk (or coconut milk) 1 egg 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp ginger pinch salt Method: 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Meanwhile grate sweet potato and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. NOTE: You want to grate your sweet potatoes as finely as possible. I think mine were too large because the texture, instead of being smooth, was rather coarse (see finished photo at the bottom of recipe) Perhaps a food processor could help in this situation? 2. Ladle into 6 individual ramekins (be careful not to overfill them. I did and they spilled over… making a sticky, ugly mess – give yourself about 1/4 inch buffer at the top). Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for one hour. Serve chilled. Optional …

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The One of a Kind Flag of Belize (with poll)

Bamboo Chicken Locals call the native Belizean iguana “Bamboo Chicken.” Considered a delicacy, the meat is stewed and served with white rice, vegetables, and fried plantains. The iguana egg is also enjoyed as a special food. Dügü (Feeding of the dead) Dügü is a Garifuna feast held to appease dead spirits and bring healing to the living. Families gather together to celebrate and show respect to the spirits of their ancestors.  Mangoes Over 20 types of mangoes grow in Belize with such favorites as Julie, Number Eleven, Slippery, Bellyfull, Blue and Hairy mango. The Universe The Maya, a prevalent indigenous culture in Belize, perceived their universe to be quadripartite. They thought the earth was four-sided, like a crocodile or turtle, and floated in primordial sea. Cow-foot Soup Feel sick after a night of partying? Try cow-foot soup. Made with cow’s hoof that has been stewed and seasoned with local herbs and spices, this hearty soup is served hot with white rice cooked in coconut milk. Hurricanes The capital, Belize City, was moved to Belmopan in 1970 after …

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Red Recado Seasoning Paste

What is Red Recado? Red Recado is a seasoning paste used throughout Central America, particularly the Yucatan peninsula. The paste tastes strongly of annato and ancho chili powder, an earthy blend a little bit like paprika or saffron. However, because there are several other ingredients included in Red Recado, the flavor profile is much more complex and so totally different. Some say that chicken cannot be served in Belize without Red Recado. This week we’re making “Stew Chicken” with our recipe for Recado. If you order Recado online you’ll find the seasoning comes in a pasty ball that gets dissolved into your cooking liquid. My recipe is more like a wet mud mask. Hmm. That’s not too appealing. Let’s say it’s more like super tasty red mud. Warnings: Annato is used as a dye in food, cheese, and clothing. Use caution when handling or you’ll end up with stained fingers or permanently splattered clothing. Recipe: The three hard to obtain ingredients in Red Recado are annato seed, Mexican oregano, and ancho chili powder. I found …

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Menu: Belize

Special thanks to those of you on our Facebook fan page who voted for this week’s Global Table dessert. Although my husband is sad because he voted for Lemon Meringue pie, I’m thrilled because I am super curious how pone tastes.  Since I love sweet potatoes, I’m guessing this dessert will be right up my alley. On another note, this week is also interesting because we’ll learn how to make red recado seasoning (see Stew Chicken). I am always looking for new seasoning ideas; I hope that this pungent spice paste becomes a “go to” for our meals in the future. Stew Chicken [Recipe] Chicken thighs stewed in with peppers and red recado (a seasoning paste made from a blend of annato seed, ancho chili powder, Mexican oregano, vinegar, orange juice, garlic, onion and other spices). Johnny Cakes [Recipe] Johnny cakes are somewhat like a biscuit. In Belize they are often eaten for breakfast with refried beans, sausage, and eggs. Here, we serve them sliced open and piled high with stewed chicken. Fried Plantains [Recipe] …

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About the Food of Belize

I hope you had a splendid Memorial Day weekend.  As for myself?  Well.  When it comes to long weekends I over-book and under-accomplish.  After creating a ten-item honey-do list, I typically only manage to “check off” half of one item.   The reason I didn’t get anything done?  We went out and had fun splashing at the water park,  romancing on a dinner date, rummaging at yard-sales, swimming with a friend, and more! There’s worse things than undone chores, let me tell you. All that running around did get me a bit frazzled. I needed something familiar, yet a little exotic, to soothe my brain after a hectic holiday weekend … which is why I’m happy to dive into the cuisine of Belize. For those of you who have been following along, you’ll see that their food is somewhat similar to the Caribbean food we’ve explored in past weeks, with the common overlapping of flavors from Europe, Spain, South America, India, and Africa. However, Belize is unique in the number of Mexican inspired dishes they enjoy. …

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