Sunday, September 6, 2009

Oil Down

We were invited to an Oil Down Saturday. I had no idea what that was so we decided it was a must to attend. Basically, you have to think of a bunch of guys cooking in the back yard on a weekend. It's that sort of event. The Oil Down itself is a type of dish which is made of local ingredients and cooked in a pot over open fire till done.

The guys in charge of this event were Cuddy and Justin. Two local taxi operators who showed us how to prepare the food. Here Cuddy explains how to clean and prepare breadfruit. It is similar in taste and texture to potato when cooked.

The Breadfruit is layered on the bottom then topped with a layer of meat.

This was mostly chicken, turkey and salted pig tails. They were marinated in cooking peppers, salt, shadow benny and onion.

Another layer of Bread fruit and assorted pieces of pumpkin, yam, and green papaya followed by yet another layer of marinated meat.

This was topped with more breadfruit plus green banana, carrots, a layer of callaloo which is the leafy top of dasheen.

Dasheen is another starchy root. With a 50:1 starch to protein ratio here I guess it wasn't required. The seasoning was a sprig of fresh allspice, ketchup, mustard, and several bottles of both red and green cooking sauce.

While all of this is going on, everyone gets a turn grating coconut and turmeric in a large bowl. This plus the inevitable blood flowing from everyone's fingers makes up the cooking liquid.

Water is added then the gratings are squeezed dry. The liquid is then poured into the pot until it is visible.

Once the liquid boils dumplings are added and then it is time to sit back and have something cold to drink as we wait for the oil down to occur.

Oil down is when the liquid is no longer visible hence the oil has gone down.

Once oil down happens the pot is cooked and it is time to serve it up to 50 hungry people. Along with the myriad of desserts and appetizers the cruisers brought to share there is certainly nobody going to bed hungry.