Grenada’s national dish is called “Oil down“. It is a simple, delicious and robust dish, which is very popular in local restaurants. It’s a hearty one pot meal of salted meat, chicken, dumplings, breadfruit, callaloo – made from young dasheen leaves and other vegetables. The whole thing is stewed in coconut milk, herbs and spices to add even more flavour.
8-10 Callaloo/ Young Dasheen Leaves
1 Sprig of Celery/ Young Dasheen Leaves
3 Medium Carrots Chopped
3 Seasoning Peppers Chopped
4 Green Bananas
1 lb. flour dumplings (white counter flour, salt and water- kneed to a tough consistency)
2 tps Tumeric Powder
1/2 lb. Salt Meat or Saltfish (pre-soaked overnight)
1 Large Breadfruit Peeled
2 Cups Coconut Milk
1 Medium Onion Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic
- Peel and Cut Carrots into 1/2 inch thick coins
- Cut 6-7 Callaloo leaves (the uncut leaves will be placed at the very top to act as a cover)
- Peel and Cut Breadfruit into 3 inch thick wedges
- Peel the green fig/ green banana
- Wash and scrape meat, cut into pieces and rinse in lime juice and water.
- Peel and cut onions into cubes
- Crush or cut the garlic finely
- Make flour dumplings by kneading together counter flour (flour that is made to be boiled not baked), water and salt. Knead the dough until it is fairly tough (nothing is worse than a soft flour dumpling)
The art of oil down cooking is in “Packing the Pot”.
(a) Place all the pieces of breadfruit to cover the bottom and to some extent the sides of the pot.
(b) Spread layer cut up callaloo onto of the breadfruit, this includes the callaloo leaf and stem.
(c) Spread a layer of carrots, onions and garlic, celery, chive and time on top of the callaloo.
(d) Repeat steps b and c until you run out of ingredients or space (whichever happens first).
(e) On top of your last layer of calaloo place your flour dumplings and green fig, salt meat or salt fish or both.
(f) Sprinkle turmeric powder over the pot and season with salt (if you are not adding salt meats or fish) and pepper sauce to taste.
(g) Cover everything with the calaloo leaves that you left uncut.
(h) Pour some of the coconut milk over everything so that it reaches about halfway up the pot. As the coconut milk boils down add remainder of the coconut milk until all your ingredients are fully cooked and you have a little liquid at the bottom of the pot.
Try your hand at the national dish. Or if you prefer you can have it at one of the many local restaurants such as Patricks, Lagoon Road, OR BB’s Crabback on the Carenage. Don’t forget to call first.