A couple of months ago I spent a few weeks in Trinidad. It is a beautiful island with fabulous beaches. My wife and I have some good friends who kept inviting us over the years and I am happy that we finally accepted. We returned home with wonderful memories of Maracas and Scotland bays, The Nylon Pool off Pigeon point in Tobago and a lot of good times spent with good friends. We also brought back some T-shirts, koozies and other souvenirs. In addition to all of those things, I also brought with me, a craving for some good chow, so yesterday I tried my hand at assembling two of them for the first time. Before I get to the nitty-gritty, let me relate to you how that came about.
Chow is a kind of pickled dish that as far as I know, has originated in Trinidad. You can find that in many road side stops which sometimes consist of a little table with an umbrella. There are many varieties, including what they call sour cherries which are more closely related to gooseberries. My favorite is the green mango one. Now, that was all fine and dandy as they say, but on our boat trip through the Caroni swamp, I got to sample one that convinced me that I needed to learn how to make this dish. We got a guide with a boat who knew those water ways and he was entertaining and efficient. The guy gave me a card, but I can’t quite figure out what I did with it – sorry pal. Anyway, there were tree crabs and snakes coiled on tree branches that the boat passed under. He anchored, or I should say tied the boat to a branch, and took out some fishing equipment that he distributed among us. He then proceeded to create this amazing chow. It was so delicious that I kept bugging everyone and eventually googled up some more tips about the ingredients. Turns out, you can use a lot of different ingredients in creating this distinctive side dish.
The two that I have put together yesterday were:
- An attempt to imitate the swamp chow. It consisted of a green apple and some Kirbies. The dressing included some hot Trini pepper sauce, garlic, lemon juice and salt.
- The second chow was composed of a large green mango doused in the same dressing.
They were both a smashing success with my wife, my niece and me as well. I will tweak them a bit in the future, but for now there is very little of them left in the fridge. I never thought that mango with salt and pepper could be this tasty. This is definitely going into my salad repertoire.