Have you had rice and dhal and smoked herring? A true Trini meal is rice and dhal. I cannot think of any one who has never had this meal at least once in their life, OK! probably twice. It is understandable. Besides being an enjoyable meal, it is also easy to make and goes well with just about anything - be it a vegetarian meal or not. It also serves well with saltfish, smoke herring, chicken, and beef. But I love it with smoked herring.
There has to be something about the flavor of this meal that I like. Smoked herring and dhal seems to complement each other. The scent of the smoked flavor mixed with all the different local herbs makes my mouth water. And the taste is heavenly. You may be wondering what is smoked herring, it is a dried smoked herring that is imported into the country that looks reddish brown in colour when cured. It is something of a staple in our diet and cooking, just like saltfish.
I don't know when this tradition started, since I've known myself I've been eating it, but perhaps the fish became a favourite of the locals because it lasted a long time without being refrigerated during the days when there weren't any electricity and far less refrigerators. Locally we call smoked herring "choir girl" because of the way the fish mouth looks as if it is singing. The way we'll be preparing the smoked herring will be similar to a raw tomato choka but just with smoked herring added.
The dhal tastes terrific as it is cooked with chive, chadon beni, geera (cumin) and pepper. And when saffron (hardi) is added to the dhal, the yellow colour, the split peas turns into, makes it even more appetizing. I never get tired eating this meal. If you love split peas and have never tried it like this, you ought to do yourself that favor and try it at least once. So here's rice and dhal and smoked herring; just the way I like it.
Rice and Dhal and Smoked Herring Recipe
RICE AND DHAL AND SMOKED HERRING
1 cup split peas
1 small onion
4 leaves chadon beni
½ tsp. geera (cumin)
½ tsp. saffron (hardi) powder
4 cloves garlic
1 pk. smoke herring
3 medium tomatoes
3 cups water oil for chongkaying
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt to taste
Soak the split peas overnight. Chop the onion, pimento, and chadon beni. Pour the peas, onion, pimento, 2 cloves garlic, chadon beni and saffron powder in a pressure cooker with the water for about 15 minutes.
When done, add salt and geera.
and swizzle well, preferably with a dhal gutney, to a pureed consistency.
Chongkay the dhal by frying the other two cloves of garlic in a kalchul and when brown add to the dhal. Caution: this process makes a loud frying sound when the hot oil and garlic is added. To prevent burns, when the oil is added, cover the pot with the pot cover at once.
Cook the smoke herring in hot water until soft.
Strain, clean and debone. (Please not all the bone could be removed).
In a separate bowl, chop the tomatoes and onions. Break the smoke herring into flakes and add to the tomatoes and onion.
Add the 1 tbsp. of olive oil and mix well. Set aside for serving with rice and dhal.
Rice and dhal and smoke herring.
Oh, and I just had to add a little mango kuchela at the side.
That's it for this post. Please don't dribble on your keyboard while reading this one. :^) Bye!
Smoked Herring Choka
- 1 pk. smoke herring about two herrings
- 3 medium tomatoes
- ½ small onion
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt to taste optional
- Soak the split peas overnight. Chop the onion, pimento, and chadon beni.
- Pour the peas, onion, pimento, 2 cloves garlic, chadon beni and saffron powder in a pressure cooker with the water for about 15 minutes.
- When done, add salt and geera; swizzle well to a pureed consistency.
- Chongkay the dhal by frying the other two cloves of garlic in a kalchul and when brown add to the dhal. (Caution: this process makes a loud frying sound when the hot oil and garlic is added. To prevent burns, when the oil is added, cover the pot with the pot cover at once. ).
- Serve hot.