Homemade Hummus, Black Garlic Fried Okra, Geera dusted Cassava Sticks


Oh how much snacking have changed.  And the versatile Hummus has taken on a popularity I doubt anyone thought it would.  Made with a handful of ingredients its smooth creamy texture and ‘dip & eat’ easiness can be enjoyed with an array of cooked and raw foods.  No wonder this Middle Eastern rooted dish is a must at parties and is always in my fridge.  Prior to coming to the US I didn’t know what Hummus was.  In my house, snack for friends comprised of a large stockpot of hot, spicy soup with an assortment of starchy vegetables and gelatinous meats; ears of yellow corn picked fresh from the garden to be roasted on a smoking charcoal grill made of halved oil drums; heavy doughs fried or baked to be eaten with vegetables cooked in tons of garlic and hot peppers.  Ha, even on surprise visits, the lighter snacks were still heavy.

I had a great conversation weeks ago with friend in my head Sonja Sinaswee, Co-founder and Chef behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Our Moving Table.  A monthly roaming supper club that brings “the farm to the fork.”  Scenic landscapes are chosen to host and showcase a well curated menu using seasonal and local farm fresh ingredients.  We, Sonja and I always have good talks but on this day we focused on the evolution of snacking in Trinbago.  We both agreed that one reason for this positive shift in snacking is technology.  With the growing demand for almost every commodity on the twin isles, citizens are working and exercising more, tuning into worldly food culture shows on television and more people can travel the world.  Gone were the days when you’d prepare from scratch, heavy meat and rice dishes for your friends to snack on.  Now, we are opting for food not necessarily healthier but lighter to eat.

Like Sonja, I to love the taste of Hummus with the added layers of tender chick peas, sun dried tomatoes or dusted with Arabian spices.  For my homemade Hummus though, I wanted to play with flavors, incorporate and eat it with Caribbean ingredients.  A dip with hints of lemon, topped with garlicky okras and eaten with smoky, crispy cassava – YES!!  A dip my very Trini mother can relate to and would be willing to try, yuh know.  A dip that might make its way onto our next family gathering?  Okay, it might be an added dish to the cow heel soup and roasted corn 🙂

Using a recipe as a guide from one of favorite home cooks Ina Garten, I topped the Hummus with 1 ½ cups of cooked okra.  Sautéed in olive oil, 1 smashed black garlic, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  For the cassava sticks I used 1.5 lbs. of frozen yucca.  Boiled in salted water and allowed to cool before cutting into sticks.  Brushed with a mixture of 1/3 cup of olive oil, ½ Tbsp. of Geera, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper and baked in the oven for 15 minutes or until crispy.

– I used cooked chick peas, the juice of one lemon and no hot sauce in my Hummus.
– Yes, there are regional variations to Hummus.  Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Arabian varieties.
– For the fried okra, after cutting them I laid them on a plate and allowed them to dry out.  That eliminates any slimy moisture.
– When I’m lazy, I like to brush store bought Yucca and Green Plantain chips with Geera and olive oil, on a baking sheet place in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 so the geera can stick to the chips.

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