Sunday, 6 September 2015

Caribbean Coconut Vegetable 'Rundown': Squash, Peppers, Sweetcorn and Greens

I've read about 'Rundowns' in a number of my vegetarian cookbooks, to name a few: Delicious Jamaica;  Caribbean & African Cookery, and The Rasta Cookbookbut never got round to making any of the recipes in these cookbooks at home.  
But when I saw it on the menu at a restaurant in the big, bustling and diverse city of Bristol, England, I just had to have it.  We went there a couple of years back with friends from Brittany.  I had the Rastafari Rundown with butter beans, corn cob, greens carrot, sweet potato, herbs, coconut milk served with Rice'n'peas and fried dumplings.  It came in an oval shaped enamel pot.  It was my first time and it was really good.  However, the second time we went there, it was not so good - the rice was not good at all and sadly the dumplings were stale, we never went back again. 

Anyway, a 'rundown' is a method of reducing coconut milk slowly to achieve a thick creamy sauce, it is usually cooked with meat, fish or saltfish, but there are plenty of vegetarian variations around. Rosamund Grant, the author of Caribbean & African Cookery writes 'Rundown' could have been taken to the Caribbean from Indonesia by the Dutch.  They have a similar dish called 'Rendang' which has almost the same pronounciation'. 
I have been wanting to make a vegetarian 'Rundown' at home for a long while, and it only happened because I had most of the ingredients and more coincidentally Vegan Mofo prompt was to 'recreate a restaurant meal'.  And what is good, is that this recipe is naturally vegan. 


Its packed with loads of colourful vegetable: butternut squash, sweet potato, red and yellow peppers, greens from my garden and my favourite part of the whole meal was actually the sweetcorn, that were grown locally.  Pretend you enjoying this on a sandy beach somewhere in the Caribbean, not where I am - wet, windy Wales, but it is home and I wouldn't be anywhere else right now.  I am also sharing this with Shop Local hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen; and Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays.


Caribbean Vegetable 'Rundown'
Serves 4 - 6
Ingredient
1 large onions,finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 - 3 red chilli, sliced
4 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh if you have it
3 tablespoons amchar masala (See below)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
1 -1/12 teaspoon ground allspice
400g mixture of sweet potato and butternut squash, cut into cubes
200ml vegetable stock
2 peppers, red, orange or yellow, chopped into cubes
4 black kale, washed, stripped from stalk, and chop leafy greens only
2 corn on the cob, chopped into 4 - 5 rounds (or 1 small can of sweetcorn, rinsed) 
1 x 400ml coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Method
Heat oil in a wide pan.
Add the onions and allow to soften, then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for it to soften.  Then stir in the thyme, spices for a few seconds, then add in the butternut cubes and the sweetcorn and stock, bring to the boil.  Then turn to a simmer and cook slowly for 15 minutes, before stirring in the peppers and chopped greens, allow to simmer and cooking liquid has reduced
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and stir in the coconut milk and allow to simmer on low heat uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce has begun to thicken.  
Serve with either rice'n'peas or fried dumplings. 
For the Trinidad Spice Blend - Amchar Masala
See here for recipe link
Makes 8 tablespoons

20 comments:

  1. That's really interesting - I've heard of rundowns before, but I didn't really know what they involved, or about the rendang thing. Now I know what they are, I'm looking forward to making my own - I love dumplings in all forms, ditto coconut sauces!

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    1. Thank you Joey, I hope you do make your own - let me know. I like crispy pillowy dumplings, still unsure about those that are simmered.

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  2. What a fabulous recipe, Shaheen. I had never heard of Rundown but your recipe looks awesome for the end of summer. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Janet. I am glad you like this.

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  3. I love learning about new culinary styles/dishes, and Rundown is a new of for me. It looks like big bowl of delicious goodness. I really like the way you've left the sweet corn on the cob. This is going on my "to-make" list.

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    1. Oh I am so pleased you like the look of this, yes the sweetcorn I liked it like this, but I know some people would struggle to eat off the cob, so its an option. Let me know if you make it.

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  4. That rundown looks really impressive - I am sure you could serve it at a dinner party and get oohs and aahs - I am curious about the sorts of dumplings you had on yours - are they like scones but cooked on top?

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    1. Thank you Johanna. In the right bowls, it would def. get wow. The dumplings are traditionally known as Jonny cakes, shallow or deep fried, not like scones or puffy dumplings cooked on top at all. I will make them some day and share, should have done it here really, sorry.

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  5. I remember the Rasta cookbook -" ital is vital!" That's how I discovered rice and peas. Think I might just have to make this; thanks 😊

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    1. Ital is vital, yes indeed.
      Hope you have fun rediscovering your copy of Rasta Cookbook

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  6. that sounds divine!... I love the idea of going vegan but I would be so afraid!

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    1. Dom, its a challenge and a way of life - I am nowhere near veganism, just tentative steps really, but I do cook as you know and eat a lot of vegan grub. PS You would have to give up you Eggcellent challenge too, so yes - be afraid :)

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  7. wow wow I love the look of this, especially as rendang was my favourite meal pre-vegan so I love that connection! I haven't found a vegan rendang equivalent that tastes the same as the one a friend's mum used to make about 20 years ago and none of the recipes I've tried taste the same!

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    1. Oh thank you sooooo much. I don't think i have ever had a Rendang have recipes bookmarked for it, so will need to dig those cookbooks out.

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  8. Mmm I love the depth of this dish and the cuts of corn look so cool!

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    1. Thanks VeganVarg. I am pleased you like this dish. Thank you for repaying the compliment and coming by my blog, its appreciated/

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    1. Thank you so much Jennifer, it really has depth and flavour

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  10. That looks amazing Shaheen. Thanks for submitting it to Meat Free Monday, the roundup is now live. PS it's a featured recipe. Pinned!

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    1. Thank you so much Jacqueline. Really appreciate it, I hope to join in as much as I can, but sometimes forget, hope you will forgive me - but I do appreciate the prompt x

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