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Saltfish and Broad Bean
I have heard that the more things change the more they remain the same all the time.
However, the more things remain the more boring they become, too. For example, the
other day I heard someone saying that oxtail will not taste good without butter bean. So, I
kept quiet because I know that is not true. For one thing, I have cooked oxtail without all
the ‘traditional ingredients’ and it tastes very good, you know.
But the tendency to make Jamaican foods stay in a time warp seems to be the order of the
day among some of our friends. And, when I say a time warp, I mean the consistent run-
of-the-mill day in day out cooking one style all the time.
Many years ago, I challenged my wife to make Stew Peas & Rice without the salt beef
and pigtail. She was very surprised that the stew tasted just as good without all the extras.
Because of that, her Stew Peas & Rice dish is very toned down compared to when we
first got married.
But this belief that some things will only be worth the time to cook if we follow just what
was taught to us many years now by the older folks is not good.
I am taking this one step further to say that oxtail stew does not have the monopoly on
broad beans or butter beans as some people call them.
Yes, I know that saltfish is enough to serve with other carbohydrate-based foods as
dumpling and rice but a little change is in order sometimes to make things
So here is a nice little non-traditional recipe…Saltfish & Broad Bean
½ lb Boneless Saltfish (Baccaloa)
1 Medium Onion
½ Green Bell Pepper (thinly sliced)
1 can Broad Beans
½ tsp. Tomato Ketchup
Boil the saltfish in water for 20 to 25 minutes. While the saltfish is on the stove cooking,
sauté the onion and green bell pepper in the skillet. Open the can of broad beans and
drain the fluid from the beans through a strainer. Put the strainer with the butter beans
into the pot with the saltfish five minutes before removing the saltfish from the stove.
Now, drain the water off the saltfish and add cold water to the pot…without the broad
beans. Use your finger to separate the fish into small pieces and then add the fish to the
sautéed onions and green bell pepper. Use a wooden spoon to mix the fish and the rest of
the other ingredients together.
Add the ketchup and broad beans to the pot and mix around all the ingredients for a
minute. Cover the pot for three minutes. Turn off the stove and serve your Saltfish and
Broad with the starch of your choice…Yah Mon!
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