Syndia Leonce and Amazan Esperanta, both members of the Atis Rezistans arts cooperative, host of the Ghetto Biennale, delivered this double-header recipe for the Radyo Shak audience.
Ingredients for Syndia Leonce’s Banann ak Yam
Ñame or Yautia, available at Caribbean and Latin American markets. (neither “Yam” nor “Sweet Potato.” Pronounced nyah-meh).
Bitter Orange (Failing fresh, bottled juice is sold as “Naranja Agria” in Latin American markets)
So, first, you have to go to the market and buy plantains and yams.
That’s the only two ingredients in there? OK, so, how do you make it?
First thing is you boil water, because you can’t put the plantains in cold water. While my water is heating up, I peel the plantains, and take the skin off the ñame. Then I wash them with bitter orange, to give them a really nice color. Then I put them on to boil, and I put a little salt.
How long are they going to boil for?
Maybe thirty minutes.
They’re cooked. They are ready. You have some people, they eat yam without sauce, and then some people eat it with a fish sauce, like Esperanta is going to tell you how to make.
Ingredients for Amazan Esperanta’s Sos Pwason, Fish Sauce
Maggi® Seasoning Cubes
Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Tomato Paste (optional)
So to prepare your fish, you know, fish is a fruit de mer, get your fish, before you clean it, you need to get your seasonings ready. You put some garlic, you put some scallion, and then you are going to crush those [in a wooden mortar]. When you’re done crushing them (you want them crushed up before you put salt in there so you don’t get too much water out of them), then you add a little salt. You crush up some Maggi, you’re going to put a teeny bit of hot pepper, just a bit, because you don’t eat fish without hot pepper, it would be a bit cold, we need to heat it up.
So then, once you have done a really good job of getting the scales off of your fish and cleaning it, you give it a little lemon juice, then you are going to season it, and then you’re going to make your sauce with a little bit of coconut water, if you are going to use coconut water. Or, you have to buy tomato paste if you’re going to make it with tomato paste, that’s going to depend, you have some people eat their fish sauce with straight up coconut water, and you have others eat it and it has to have a little tomato paste in there.
When you’ve cleaned your fish, you have to slice it open so you can get your seasonings in there. If you had time to make a fire, you put your pot on there and put some oil in it, and fry up your tomato paste, and put in little bit of water, just a little bit, and your coconut water and your fish. But don’t stir it up, you don’t want your fish to break apart: you’re not supposed to boil your fish for thirty minutes or something like that, it will break.
And then you put a bit of onion with it, or shallots.
And then you put that on your ñame and plantains?
Yes, good food! You’ll “cut your fingers off” eating that! [Koupe dwet, the equivalent of “finger-licking good”].
After that, you drink a passionfruit juice and you are OK!