Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora
Around the holidays, my Granny would always prepare her most prized recipes for the family. One of my most favorite meals was her Goat and Chicken Curry with Roti and Rice. I would wake in the morning with the smell of its preparation wafting up the stairs and into my bedroom. I would get so excited just knowing that all of the family was going to get together and enjoy this special meal made with love. This is a Caribbean recipe showcasing our Jamaican heritage and traditions. The holiday season was filled with some of the best food I have ever eaten, and I am blessed to have the opportunity as a celebrity chef to share my Granny’s recipes and love with the world
I recently had the honor of preparing these family recipes from my grandmother with the world famous chefs of Walt Disney World for Epcot’s 2011 Food and Wine Festival. I hope you will prepare this meal for your own family this holiday season. Happy Kwanzaa!
Curried Chicken and Goat with Roti and Rice
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 onions, diced
2 scallions (or spring onions)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 hot chilies (ideally scotch bonnet)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 pounds (including bones) of goat meat and chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 pound carrots, diced
1/2 pound potatoes, diced
3 cups white rice, uncooked
Combine the curry powder, onions, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, chilies, ginger, thyme and half a cup of water in a blender to form a loose paste. Add more water, a little at a time, if the ingredients do not mix well. Rub the mixture in to the cubes of meat. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
Transfer the meat, along with 1 tablespoon of butter to a frying pan, and brown gently. Place the meat back in the saucepan with the original marinade, and add the carrots and potatoes with enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil then let simmer until the meat is tender (this should take 1 – 1 1/2 hours).
For the rice, bring 5 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add the rice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir once. Return the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer then cover. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until done.
The rule is simple: You can tell the rice is done cooking if all the water is absorbed (assuming you have put in the correct proportions of rice and water.) White rice usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Check the rice about 4 minutes before the timer is due to go off. When you take the cover off, the top of the rice may look like it is totally cooked. However, with a spoon, you need to gently move the rice to see if there is still water to be absorbed at the bottom.
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour, or 2 cups self-rising flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided, plus more for cooking
1 cup warm water, plus more if necessary
Melted butter, optional
1. Place flour(s) in a bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add water slowly, stirring as you go, until dough starts to come together. Keep stirring, adding a little more water if dough is still dry, until dough forms a ball.
2. Turn dough out onto counter and knead, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky. Dough should be soft, but not sticky enough to stick to your hands or the counter. Let dough rest for 10 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
3. Roll out dough in a large circle, about 1/4″ thickness. Spread about 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over the surface of the dough. Roll the dough up into a long roll. Cut the dough into 8 to 10 pieces. Roll each piece out flat into a 6 inch circle. Let circles rest, covered with damp cloth, for 5 minutes.
4. Heat a flat heavy griddle or skillet (a cast iron skillet or crepe pan works well) over low to medium heat. Roll the first circle of dough out as thin as possible (to about an 8-9 inch diameter circle). Add about 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Place dough in hot skillet. Cook until bread puffs up and turns light brown on the skillet side. Slide bread to the each of the pan with your fingers, and quickly flip to brown the other side (about 1-2 minutes).
5. Remove from heat and place roti in a colander to cool. Cover roti with a damp towel while you cook the rest. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.
Roti can be reheated just like tortillas in a low oven, wrapped in foil, or in the microwave covered with a damp cloth. Brush roti with melted butter before serving, if desired.
About Charles Mattocks
Charles Mattocks, better known as ‘The Poor Chef’ for his healthy and great tasting but affordable meals, has made a name for himself on such shows as Dr OZ, The Today Show and Good Morning America just to name a few. Charles is an Emmy nominated actor for his role as Ben Tyler in The Summer of Ben Tyler and is the nephew of the late reggae legend Bob Marley. He got his love for food and cooking very early on from his mother and grandmother. Charles states, “My grandmother was an excellent cook and taught me very simple things I still use to this day,she made food with love and very little but to me those are the best meals.” Charles is the author of the nationally best selling cookbook Eat Cheap But Eat Well and has just launched his own gourmet sugar and gluten free chocolate truffle bar The CHARLES Bar. Charles will be creating an island get away cooking show this fall. So get your taste buds ready as Charles brings some of his own Island flavors, from Jamaica to Hawaii as he creates healthy nutritious great tasting meals all for under $7.00.