I've read about 'Rundowns' in a number of my vegetarian cookbooks, to name a few: Delicious Jamaica; Caribbean & African Cookery, and The Rasta Cookbook, but 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.
Caribbean Vegetable 'Rundown'
Serves 4 - 6
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
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