Bajan Inspired Spic Mix
At this time when most of us can only travel from our tables, it is exciting to discover something new. My friends have a family connection to Barbados and I decided to delve into the cuisine. Bajan cusine is a little illusive, Ainsley has a fish marinade and Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman have a goat curry recipe online. I have used Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman curry spice base, decreased and tweaked the quantities as the base of the Bajan spice mix recipe. I replaced the scotch bonnet powder with red chilli flakes, I know that is not authentic, however that is what I had indoors. The rub worked well and it got rave reviews from my family, who are my harshest critics.
The red chilli gave a warm heat to the dish, if you are a scotch bonnet fan add this instead. In the summer I would add this Bajan rub as a marinade with a little olive oil. The olive oil will mix the spices into your chosen protein really well. The Bajan spice wakes up a block of tofu, add interest to whole or pieces of fish and chicken, make soya mince into a tasty and different chilli.
In winter this makes an unusual and flavoursome stew. I used lamb neck fillets with the bone in, destined for a Cypriot Tava. Tava is a rice dish made with cumin, tomatoes, potatoes, lamb and rice, I diverted and the ingredients were transformed into a Bajan inspired all in one rice dish. Trying something new breaks the monotony of daily life and this was a wonderfully flavoursome dish. As with most stewed foods, if eaten the next day the flavours develop and deepen and are a little tastier. I cooked the meat separately the night before and the next day it was just a case of heating the meat through while the rice cooked in all the cooking juicing. Quick, easy and very tasty.
Here is the recipe for a Bajan inspired lamb and rice stew.
The spice mix rubbed into lamb neck chops
Adding just enough water to cover the lamb neck chops
My mum in South Africa is my biggest cheerleader (closely followed by Anne my friend and proof reader) I was discussing the recipes I was going to post and she had a packet of chicken thighs. She decided to make the spice mix and this was her dinner bubbling on the hob. See below. She loved it too.
Bajan Chicken Thighs
You could use vegetable or soya mince (adjusting the cook time to match the instructions), I used 8 lamb neck chops, the whole quantity of this spice shown below, rubbed into the chops. Diluting 2 tablespoons of tomato puree into enough stock to just cover the meat.
Cooked until the meat is soft +-3 hours. Or depending what you have chosen to cook until tender. At this point you can cool the dish and when you are ready to eat you can take the meal into different direction. Added rice (I am using Uncle Ben’s Wholegrain rice for everything at the moment) to the cooking liquid and cook according to the cooking instructions adjusting your water level according to the rice you have chosen, serve over creamy mash, top a baked potato or over rice with the sauce if you would prefer that to an all in one meat and rice style biryani.
- 2 teaspoons red chilli flakes (increase or decrease to taste)
- 4 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon allspice berries
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoons ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 dried lime leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- Mix and add to your chosen protein, tofu, meat, chicken, fish or vegetables.
- As a rub coat your ingredients with a little oil and a sprinkling of the rub.
As a rub coat your ingredients with a little oil and a sprinkling of the rub.
For a stew I used 8 lamb neck chops, stock and tomato puree to cover the meat.
Cooked until the was soft +-3 hours and then added rice to the cooking liquid and enjoy as a biryani style meal or server over mash, a baked potato or over rice with the sauce.