Monday, July 9, 2012

Ital Stew

This is a Jamaican stew and although I've never been to Jamaica, I do have some lovely friends from there. Ital is like Kosher for Rastafarians, if it's Ital it's okay to eat. Bob Marley brought his own Ital chef when he went on tour with The Wailers to cook for the whole crew. Ital is a term for vital, therefore, ital is vital. If you'd like to cook this stew while listening to a song that references Ital Stew listen to "Be Healthy" by Dead Prez. True Rastafarians would never use salt, so omit it if you want to keep it pure. When you prep for this recipe make larger chunks, you don't need to dice anything too finely. It can be as mild or spicy as you'd like depending on how many hot peppers you use and the type of curry powder used.


1 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2" knob of ginger, peeled & grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
1 large yam, peeled, 1/2" dice
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, 1/2" dice
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-3 Scotch bonnet peppers (or habanero if you can't find them), seeded & minced
1 chaoyte (or chocho as they say on the island)
1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt (optional)
3-4 tomatoes diced with their juices
1 15 oz. can lite coconut milk
vegetable broth as needed
2 large handfuls of greens (such as chopped spinach, collards, kale or green peas)

1) Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Saute until softened as you prepare the carrots, yams and potatoes.

2) Add the chopped carrots, yams and potatoes and stir occasionally. Let the mixture cook as you chop the bell pepper, hot peppers chaoyte and tomatoes.

3) Add the peppers and chaoyte and let it continue to saute as you finish chopping the tomatoes.

4) Add the curry powder and toss to coat all of the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, salt (if using) and enough vegetable broth to almost cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the yams and potatoes are tender.

5) Turn off the heat and toss in the greens and stir to incorporate into the stew. The heat of the stew will be enough to wilt the greens or thaw frozen peas without turning them gray from long cooking.

Serve over brown rice or eat with flat bread.

Serves 6-8

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