The dasheen plant’s use is very versatile in the hands of an experienced Trini cook. Actually, we use the whole plant, the leaves and the corm or mamamy, in dishes ranging from provision and saltfish to bhaji rice to callaloo. And added to that today we have saheena.
The Dasheen Plant
Dasheen (its scientific name is Colocasia esculenta) is a type of taro plant and it is commonly known as taro and grown as a root crop. Esculenta is Latin that means edible. The Dasheen plant has been cultivated for over 6000 years and it is a staple food in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Though most of the world called the plant taro, we call it simply dasheen. I also believe the Jamaicans and St. Lucian call it dasheen. The leaves are referred to as elephant ears.
In the Caribbean it is grown on damp land or flooded land. It is a tropical perrenial plant with huge heart-shaped leaves that grow on upright long sturdy petioles. These petioles grow from a rootstock or corm. Both the leaves and the petioles are eaten. However, no part of the dasheen should be eaten raw. (Read more here).The whole plant is a common ingredient in many Caribbean dishes. The corm is boiled, fried or mashed. The leaves are stewed, included in rice dishes, made into soups, or made as a or made a delicacy. For this post, it being used to make saheenas. (source)
Saheena: An Indian Delicacy
Saheena is a wonderful East Indian delicacy that is suitable for all occasions be it breakfast, dinner or even on this auspicious day of Divali. It’s filling and also vegetarian. Talk about versatility! I would like to call this the all rounder since it fits any occasion.
You would notice I titled this recipe Saheena I, that’s because there are two ways in which we Trinis make saheena. This method is the “roll up” method you will see what I mean as you read on. The other method …well, you would have to wait and see unless you know already 🙂
So here’s Saheena an allround East Indian delicacy made from dasheen bush an equally versatile plant. Enjoy!.
Paste for frying*
1½ cup split peas powder
½ cup flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon saffron (tumeric) powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon green seasoning
* this paste is a bit thicker
Mix the ingredients together to form a paste. Wash and clean the leaves removing the stems.
Open one large dasheen leaf face down and rub paste on it. Place another leaf on top and repeat the earlier step.
Continue layering and pasting each layer until the paste is finished or the leaves are used up.
Roll tightly together and tuck the ends.
Place in a clean plastic bag and put into boiling water to steam. -or- tie the roll with string and place it in a steamer.
Note: We used a clear plastic bag so a zip lock bag could be used too. Use only clear plastic bags!
Make sure the knot is above the water.
Remove after 15 minutes and leave to cool.
Cut in 1/2 ” slices.
Paste some of the thicker mixture on both sides.
Fry until golden…
This is really getting to be a marathon. More to come!. Ah gone again!