Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sufficient provisions

When I was younger, a provision plate would comprise at least 5 different ground provisions plus dumplings. Some of the provisions were tastier than others.
Nice thing about cooking your own food as an adult is that you can now pick and choose exactly what goes on your plate. So since I started cooking, provisions for me came down to sweet potato, carrots and plantain. This was after trying the full smörgåsbord: Yam, green fig (too tough to prepare), cassava (no excuse here), eddoes (redundant), potato (redundant) and dasheen (more like dash out).

Today I put together a minor provisions plate with smoked herring.

The first thing you should do is get some water boiling for the smoked herring. I use a boneless brand from Tru Valu. This time I used two packs. While the water heats up, cut up your veggies of choice. I'm a tomato man, so you know that's a big part of my mix. Onions and pimientoes (not pictured) are also essential. Green pepper could get in there too. I like my smoked herring chunky, so I cut my stuff up big.

Drop the smoked herring into the boiling water for about 20 minutes. It's a very salty piece of meat, so you'll see cloudy water and salt residue after you empty the pot. The fish will also be quite a bit smaller. Pour some cold water on to the smoked herring to cool it down for the next part. Now empty the pot.

Just get in there and mash it up with your hands. No need to be delicate.

A little note here: For quite a while I was under the perception that you had to strain the salt out of the smoked herring. So I used to soak, empty, and squeeze a few times. Don't do that. You'll take the very flavor out of the fish along with the salt. Just the single boil and drain is fine.

Now season up the smoked herring. Fresh seasoning or bottled seasoning is fine, but I went mostly dry this time. I added the usual black pepper, garlic & parsley blend, cayenne pepper for a little snap, and paprika. My green seasoning is there, but I mostly drained the preservative vinegar liquid into the fish. Lime or lemon juice would have been just as good. Not too much, though...remember this isn't fresh fish.

Mix it up and get it ready for the pot.

By now you should have started to sautee your veggies. Here's a crucial point, though: When you're making smoked herring for bake, you want it to be relatively dry. Keep the fire higher and use less oil. Drain your veggie bowl of tomato juice. Cook up quick.
But this wasn't for bake. So I welcomed the tomato juice, used more oil, cooked slowly over a medium fire...

....and I used some ketchup for sauce and taste.

You really want a guide to peeling and boiling provisions, boy? Next time, perhaps...when we use more finicky provisions, like green fig. Only special thing I did here was emulate quincy's Butter Cassava, but with different seasoning. Sweet potato, carrots and plantain are the base.

And here's the final result. I made it on Saturday and there's still some left in the fridge. It went down really well.


  1. I'm no fan of smoke herring Kayode, but the dish looks real tasty. I woulda definitely sample this!

    Also, green fig real easy to prepare... you just have to boil it and peel off the skin after. At least that's what I do.


  2. lookin real good horse.

    as long as yuh say plantain, yuh ketch me one time. i love dat.

    i agree with the redundancy of some of dem provisions doh. what yuh put there cover sll de flavours and textures yuh need.

  3. The butter cassava coulda get its own bligh in this post.
    That was the highlight of the meal!