Trinidadian Sweet Potato Fritters in a Callaloo Sauce

I had purchased sweet potatoes for another recipe and then decided I wasn’t in the mood for it. Since sweet potatoes are native to the Americas and the Caribbean, I thought it would be interesting to try making a recipe from the Caribbean. I’ve never tried cooking Trinidadian food, but there’s a Trinidadian restaurant in D.C. called Crown Bakery that I was introduced to by some Trinidadian coworkers. It was one of the most delicious places I’ve ever eaten and long after I stopped working at that job, I continued going back for doubles. Since I haven’t historically found I much enjoyed other Caribbean dishes, Trinidad seemed like a good place to start my Carribean cooking journey.

I found this recipe for Trinidadian Sweet Potato Fritters in a Callaloo Sauce. The spinach (aka: callaloo) is blended in a coconut sauce. The sweet potatoes are roasted before being combined into the patty mixture and then pan fried. The recipe wasn’t super well written and required some interpetation. The ingredient list included “1 green”. I left out the scotch bonnets since I’m trying to avoid spicy foods. I kept the uncoooked patty mixture in the fridge and just fried the number of patties I wanted to eat with each meal.

I really enjoyed the dish the first night I ate it but less and less as the week went on. I found myself having to make myself eat it instead of something else. The sauce has a very interesting flavor to it, but it’s not one I wanted to eat all week long. I didn’t love the flavor of the fritters. That’s not surprising since sweet potatoes are one of my less favorite vegetables. I also thought the fritters needed something else to hold them together. All in all, you’ll probably really enjoy this if you generally enjoy the flavors and ingredients in the dish. But I don’t think it’s the dish to convert anyone who doesn’t already love sweet potatoes and Carribbean flavors. Although, maybe with the scotch bonnet the dish might have changed.


Cuban Black Beans

In college I lived in an apartment with my two best friends. We cooked a lot. One of my roommates, Ellen, shared this recipe for her mother’s favorite Cuban black beans with me. The recipe came from one of her mother’s cookbooks. Creamy, sour, and a tad sweet, it quickly became one of my favorites as well. But I never got a copy of the recipe from Ellen and for years afterwards I couldn’t make it. Finally, recently I got a photo of the recipe from Ellen and went about making it once again. It didn’t disappoint.

Below is the version I make. I have greatly reduced the oil (the original recipe calls for 2 cups!) and also left out the pimentos, which are called for in the original recipe but which I never have around. I’ve also changed the steps around a bit and shortened cooking times to simplify things.

Be aware! This recipe make 12-16 servings. If you don’t want that much beans, consider halving the recipe. However, it does freeze well.

2 1/4 cups dry black beans, cooked (or 3 cans) (keep the liquid)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups green bell pepper, chopped

3 cups yellow onion, chopped

2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup white vinegar

  1. Blend bell pepper and onions in a food processor until they are finely ground
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot
  3. Once oil is hot, add the pepper onion mixture and sauté it for 8 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is sautéing, blend 1 cup of the beans in the food processor
  5. Add the whole and blended beans, sugar, and salt to the pot, gently stir
  6. Simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Add the vinegar