Chicken and Shrimp Chow Mein - Guyanese Style

A Caribbean twist on a traditional Asian dish of noodles, ram packed with chicken and shrimp and a host of vegetables. A delicious one-pot dish that is great for any weeknight dinner.

Recipe to make chow mein with chicken and shrimp

There are some dishes that are just stand out dishes even if they are simple ones. And I think chow mein is one of those dishes. Simple and delicious.

This versatile dish can be made with vegetables only, with chicken, with seafood or with them all. A one pot of goodness that is bursting with flavor.

There is something about Asian food from the Caribbean that is different from the "Chinese" we eat here in the United States. Most people won't think of Chinese food and Caribbean, but they sure have had some influence on our food when they came in, creating a unique twist to what was their traditional meal.

The stand out dishes for me, that I always have to get are chow mein, pow, and roast chicken. My staples with chow mein being the number one.

If you remember a few months back I shared on my Instagram stories that I had found cassareep. While hunting for some dasheen bush to make some callaloo, I found this little Guyanese supermarket that not only had the bush but also had a lot of Caribbean sauces and snacks. Casareep was there and I decided to grab a bottle.

A chow mein recipe with noodles and vegetables

Cassareep is a sauce made from grind cassava and some other spices. It is commonly used to make Guyanese Pepper pot. I would compare it to soy sauce but with a lot more flavor. Cassareep is made from cassava root. It's a thick black liquid which has added spices for more flavor. When I saw it on the shelf I knew I wanted to get a bottle and make something. I then spotted some chow mein noodles like the one I grew up eating and then knew exactly what I was going to mimic.



Occasionally I grab food from a Guyanese restaurant here in Florida that makes great Caribbean Chinese food. Tropics Restaurant and lounge is the business!! It's dark, and little scary but the food is delicious. Did I mention that they are 45 minutes drive away? Am I greedy for wanting to drive  45 minutes to get some chow mein?

So making a chow mein at home was a no-brainer. I opted to make a delicious chicken and shrimp mix.

Chow mein recipe with chicken and shrimp

How do you like your chow mein?

I love mine with the noodles nice and al dente and the vegetables with a little crunch. If there is cabbage, I also want that crunchy. I hate sappy vegetables and sappy noodles. I also like to get the fat noodles.

I also weirdly, don't like green peas in my chow mein. I'm getting picky right? haha. I would usually pick those out when I'm eating if they are there. So what's the great advantage of me not having to buy it? I'm quite able to put whatever I want in my meal.

So bring on the bell peppers (or sweet peppers if you're from the islands), carrots, celery, and cabbage. Mushrooms are also a great addition or spring peas. Have frozen vegetable packs on hand? Those are perfect too.

How to make Chow mein with cassareep

And don't eat this standing up like I do. I serve dinner in the kitchen and somehow think I need to start tasting it before it gets to the table. Then I end up tasting a little more and a little more.

The flavors are just so delicious. The hint of ginger adds a nice kick.

Tropics sorry, I now no longer need to drive 45 minutes to get your chow mein. You may still see me though, for those wontons.






Yield: Serves 4Pin it

Chicken and Shrimp Chow Mein - Guyanese Style

A chow mein recipe, with Caribbean influence, ram packed with chicken, shrimp and vegetables using Guyanese cassareep for added flavor.

ingredients:


  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs (cut into 1-inch chunks)
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons green seasoning plus 2 tablespoons green seasoning
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 inch fresh peeled grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. cassareep (Soy sauce can be used)
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup carrots (julienne)
  • 1 cup celery 
  • 2 scallions (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet pepper (julienne) (different colors)
  • 8 oz chow mein noodles

instructions


  1. Season chicken with green seasoning, cassareep, black pepper, salt and set aside.
  2. Season shrimp with green seasoning and set aside.
  3. Add oil to wok or deep dish.
  4. Add chicken and cook for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Remove from pot
  5. Boil noodles according to package instructions
  6. Add shrimp to pot and cook for no longer than 7 minutes (till shrimp is pink). Remove shrimp
  7. Add more oil to pot
  8. Saute onions and garlic
  9. Add chicken to pot
  10. Add carrots, bell peppers, scallions, celery, broccoli, ginger and cook veggies until tender (about 5 - 7 minutes) (add more cassareep/soy sauce if needed)
  11. Add cabbage
  12. Add shrimp
  13. Add noodles (I add in batches) and mix everything together.
Created using The Recipes Generator


Indulge in some more dinner options:














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Tobago Crab and Callaloo

A flavorful dish using dasheen bush simmered in a creamy and flavorful coconut sauce with crab.

Crab and callaloo recipe

Welcome, 2018!!

A few days in but better late than ever. After a hectic holiday season with family, I am finally getting back into the groove of getting a recipe up. I am sharing with you an island favorite; a Sunday lunch staple. A delicious crab and callaloo.

This popular side dish is usually a must-have for Sunday dinner. It accompanies the stew chicken, the stew peasmacaroni pie and sometimes coo coo.

And as my aunt says "callaloo must have crab in it" and I was lucky enough to score some at the Caribbean market one day. Finding the dasheen bush was not so easy though. I had to call around to a few farmer's markets before finding a little Guyanese store with some bundles.

Easy Homemade Callaloo Recipe

A substitute for dasheen bush (taro leaves) is spinach which is much easier to find. But trust me, if you can find dasheen bush at any time, grab them. It's also easy to chop and freeze and used to make the callaloo later. In fact, making callaloo packs is a great idea. Throw all ingredients, chopped, into a ziplock back (not the liquid items) and freeze until ready to cook.

This is one of those simmer down dishes. It's also weirdly, a dish that, even though the ingredients are simple and basic, tastes can vary from maker to maker.

My first experience with callaloo as a little child was not a good one, to be honest. I can remember it well. Haha. That meal that day, this was an over peppered, no flavor, mushy and a slimy blend of dasheen bush and ochro. I was convinced then that I would never eat that thing ever again. My mom would make it and I would avoid it like the plague

Callaloo Soup

Then slowly I started taking a little taste here and there, from different people. The smell of simmering callaloo is to die for. So you just really want to take a taste of anything that smells great. So little by little I ventured back into the callaloo game, and it's such a staple for Sunday lunch that I really could not avoid it for too long.

So with my family's help, I've been back in the callaloo game. With a great consistency, just enough pepper, just enough ochro, just enough sweetness to enjoy some callaloo. We commonly eat this as a side, but having it in a cup as a soup is also another great option. In fact, if you make it and want it to be a soup, all you have to do is blend it to a thinner consistency.


And though you can omit crab from the recipe, it is a great addition to this dish. The seafood taste addition takes it's over the top. Blue crab is what is commonly used in Tobago, but any crab can be used.

So go ahead and amp up your Sunday lunch with a side of callaloo. Then use leftovers for Monday soup!!



Yield: Serves 4Pin it

Tobago Crab and Callaloo

An easy recipe for homemade crab and callaloo. This flavorful dish uses dasheen bush as the main ingredient and is simmered in a creamy and flavorful coconut sauce. Crab is a great addition to this popular Trinidad and Tobago side dish which is sometimes eaten as a soup.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 40 MINStotal time: 50 mins

Ingredients:


  • 1 bunch (10 - 15 leaves) Calalloo bush 
  • 1 pack ochro/okra (see notes)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (Make your own)
  • 4 pimento peppers (cut up)
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 3 whole cloves (crushed)
  • 1/3 cup cubed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon green seasoning (Make your own)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 hot peppers
  • 2 - 3 crabs

Instructions


  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. 
  3. Lower flame to medium and cook until coconut milk is down to half amount initially added
  4. Remove crab and hot peppers from pot
  5. Whisk until well blended.
  6. Return to dish

notes

Callaloo bush is dasheen bush, also called taro leaves. Spinach can also be used as a substitute.

I use 2 ochros/okra per bush leaf

When cutting up bush, if stems are bending and not snapping do not use in callaloo. This usually means the leaves are a bit old and stalks can have a bitter taste.
Created using The Recipes Generator


Here are some other Tobago side dishes I think you should try:






Delicious callaloo recipe with crab

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Fruit Sponge Cake

A light and addictive sponge cake, with rum fused mixed fruits. The perfect cake to serve to your holiday guests.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Don Q rum. All opinions are 100% mine.


It is almost the end of the year. Can you imagine that?

This time last year I was gearing up to enjoy my end of the year so much. I had so many events planned to go to. Then later down in the month, I fell sick from what I thought was food poisoning, to learn that I was pregnant!!

I stopped drinking and my plans were foiled cause I was so sick for that 1st trimester. Now I have a 3-month-old and I'm wondering when we're going to take pictures with Santa Claus. Ha.


Since I've had to cut back on the number of events I can go to, I've decided to whip up this adult cake for me to indulge in at home.

This cake is a mix of a sponge cake and black cake, making it a fruitcake.

Black cake in the Caribbean is a rich cake that is packed with dried fruits that have been soaked in liquor over time. Sometimes a whole year of soaking is done, so you know those fruits are intoxicated.

Sponge cake is the little sister cake that the kids can eat. It's the alternative if you don't do alcohol (and even if you do) and I love to eat it with coconut ice cream.

This fruit sponge cake is the merging of the two. A light sponge cake, filled with rum soaked fruits. This is not as heavy as the black cake and takes the simpleness of the sponge cake up another level.


To make this Christmas special, I decided to use some Don Q Gran Añejo. Isn't that bottle gorgeous?

This Gran Añejo comes from Destilería Serrallés which is a family owned rum making business in Puerto Rico since 1865. Their long-standing process explains why they are the #1 rum on the island.

This is a super premium blend of rums aged in American white oak barrels for 9 to 12 years and Spanish sherry casks aged up to 50 years using the Solera aging system.

So this was perfect to get my fruits soaked in. This rum is smooth, and lush with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and honey which paired well with the raisins and sultanas.

I know most people love to sip their rum on the rocks. And if so this Gran Añejo is the perfect substitute for whiskeys in Old Fashioned cocktails. How about making a nice Don Q Old Fashioned? The Gran Añejo pairs well with lamb, steaks or any grilled meats. But I wanted this 80 proof, 40% ALC/VOL to be in my dessert.


It was easy for me to use this rum because I knew their flavors were going to be all natural. There are no additives, coloring or artificial sugars.

I love that Destilería Serrallés is also environmentally conscious as they actively participate in real energy return by having a water reclamation program that allows them to recycle their wastewater. So yes, they do NOT dispose of their water into the ocean.

This rum gave my fruits this amazing flavor. It's best to give it at least a 2-week soak for the fruits to get all that flavor. You bite into it thinking it's a regular yellow sponge cake, then you get a taste of that rum, and you can't stop from taking a little piece more... and more and more.


And if you happen to have leftover soaked fruits and rum, you can go ahead and just take a few spoons and sprinkle it all over a slice, cause I mean, why wouldn't you? Right, no good reason at all.

So here's to having an amazing holiday. Here's to my first Christmas with my little ninja. Here's to an amazing cake made with top of the line rum. Here's to my new normal. And finally, here's to you going to Don Q's website and checking out all their stuff.





Yield: An 8 inch cake

Fruit Sponge Cake

A light sponge cake with fruits soaked in Don Q Anejo. A delicious cake perfect for the Christmas season.
prep time: 35 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 35 mins

Ingredients:


  • 9 oz dried fruit mix (Raisins, sultanas, dried cherries and/or mixed peel)
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups Don Q Gran Añejo
  • 8 oz butter
  • 8 oz brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 9 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice (if no mixed spice make your own mix: 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1 teaspoon nutmeg; 1 teaspoon allspice)

Instructions


  1. Mix together dried fruit with lemon zest and cover with rum. Set aside to soak (One week or more would be the best soak.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 
  3. Grease and flour an 8-inch bundt cake pan.
  4. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs a little at a time until incorporated
  6. Add flour (in batches)
  7. Add spices (Try not to over mix)
  8. Stir fruit (not adding liquid) into cake mixture until incorporated.
  9. Bake for 1 hour or until done. 
  10. Test the center with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean.
  11. Allow cooling a little before taking it out of the pan. 
  12. Place on rack and sprinkle some of the remaining liquid over cake (about 4 tablespoons)
  13. Slice and drizzle with more rum liquid.
  14. Can be served with ice cream or spiced ginger beer

Notes

Time for recipe does not include soaking time

For the best release from pan, butter then flour pan. If using spray, don't use regular butter spray, use one with flour.
Created using The Recipes Generator


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Try these other cakes/bread for the season:













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Callaloo Box - The TriniBago Christmas Edition

A review of the December Christmas box from Callaloo Box.

I received this box for free, but all opinions are 100% mine.


If you still have not heard about this Caribbean subscription box operation then I think you need to get onto the internet a little more.

Callaloo box has been exciting me since they reached out to me a few months ago. And from box, to box, to box I have not been disappointed.

After seeing a few previews of their December box on their IG, I was extremely excited to see what else was in there to bring back some TriniBago memories. Their December box promised to bring the taste of Christmas straight to my door.

I had to wait a bit since I wasn't around when it got delivered but when I got home and saw the contents... I started to dance. Yes... dance.

This box has the quintessential Caribbean Christmas items. The things you know when you see it come out, Christmas around the corner.


Let's start with the condiments

Even though I make my own chow chow, seeing a bottle of Matouk's reminded me of all those ham sandwiches my mom used to make with leftover ham. Homemade bread, ham slices, lettuce, tomato and chow chow. Heaven. My dad would also add some pepper sauce.


Then there is that dry sorrel and mauby. I know most people have a love/hate relationship with mauby and how bitter it can be. But you have to try my recipe with these barks and thank me later. And there's dried sorrel to make your sorrel drink. And the mixed essence would be the perfect addition to making these two drinks. Too bad they couldn't add some punch ah creme in the box.

But the Christmas winner, champions of all champions, take it home item is always that black cake. Yes, there is black cake in the box. I love that it's not a big pound of cake, like what I would make if I was making cake this year. Instead, it's a cute little cake that is perfect for someone who is just getting a little taste of Trini Christmas for themselves.


Yes that is a bite on the cake. I had to make sure that this was a moist, tasty cake before I tell you guys about it. The Black Cake Company did well with this. And it's not short on the rum eh. I was torn between just eating it all in one sitting or savoring it for another day.

Purchasing from Callaloo Box is pretty easy.

They have the option of purchasing a box one time (One-Time Callaloo Box Purchase Option). This would be the ideal box for family and friends for Christmas.It offers seasonings, pepper sauces, marinades and you may be lucky and even get a snack. This box is 39.99. If you decide to month to month or do a one time purchase use my coupon code ZAGAT5 and get $5 off your 1st month

Another great Christmas option is the Snack Box Gift Bundle or the Products Bundle. The snack box bundle (snacks only) offers a one-time 2-month prepayment option (you get 1 snack box per month for 2 months). This box is $29.99

Both boxes are available for month to month subscription (you can skip or cancel anytime you want to. The Callaloo Box option is also available to do one time purchases.

And don't worry if you think you are out of time, they are shipping throughout December but do move quickly if you want them to get it in time for Christmas.


And did I mention that these ladies were featured on Essence.com for their amazing efforts with their product? So you better get in on it quickly.

*Giveaway* As a Christmas present to my readers, we (Callaloo Box and I) are giving away a Christmas Box. Entering is as easy and providing your email address at this link. This is open to U.S residents only.Ends December 10th at 6pm Est!!

Callaloo Box is really a great present to be sent to someone who is missing home, whether it is the snack box or the product box. Make sure you do some digging around on their website to see all their options and make someone happy this Christmas.




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