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just wanted to share some guyanese cooking with you. it is a diverse place with a great cooking tradition that has influences from africa, east india, britain, portugal, the amerindian natives, china, and finally the surrounding countries of trinidad, venezuela and suriname

we are going to start with a guyanese root stew that has portuguese and african roots

this stew is called metem/metemgee/metagee/mettagee and culinary etymologists are still not sure if the word is amerindian, portuguese, african or east indian in origen (guyana has a great blend of cultures, incluiding chinese and english beyond what i listed above, it is also the country with the largesrt surviving population of amerindians still alive)

first a description...

lots and lots of onions cut into thin rings are sauted until golden yellow (not browned, then garlic, a good amount of thyme, and some bayleaf and a little hot pepper sauce is added to stew for a few minutes longer.

u then put in your saltfish (with salt removed through repeated rinsing/simmering/soaking)which was brought to the region by portuguese and spanish. this is the bacalao or bacala that french and italians also eat. it is well loved by jamaicans, cubans, puerto ricans, trinidadians and haitians as well. and i learned that norweigians and sweeds also relish its particular flavor which is differen from that of fresh cod due to its preservation process.

then u must add your roots ... every country in this area has a flagaship roots dish. and this is guyanas contrbution to the family of oil downs of grenada and trinidad, the sancochos of colombia and puerto rico, and the rundowns of jamaica. the metagee is directly similar to run down and oil down since it contains coconut milk that is cooked until most of the liquid is absorbed into the yuca, yams and potatos leaving them very fragrant, and creamy (yet not too mushy) and a custardy sauce in the pot with lots of coconut oil... no water is used in this dish, only coconut milk

My favorite roots are yuca(cassava, also manioc.. thsi is what tapioca is made from), potato, ripe plantain, and the african yam known as name in costa rico and puerto rico, or yampie or african yam in jamaica or other west indian countries. another great root is the green plantain and the ripe plantain. malanga/taro/coco yam is great. but it disolves and would not really hold up well in this dish

coconut milk is sweet, ripe plantains and onions are sweet, the cornbread dumplings on tiop are sweet. so dont overdo the ripe plantains. and sweewt potatos u want to balance ethem out with african yam/name and yuca and potato for the best effect!

i leave the roots in big chunks. at least two inches.

dump in roots and just cover with coconut milk

season with salt and black pepper and add in some bouyon cubes until it is salty enough.

then bring to boil and turn the heat down.
the time at which you add the fresh fish to stew is depending on how u have the fresh fish, in pieces, whole, in filelts, also on the type of fish and how cooked u like it. im sure you can figure it out as i am no expert but i usually play it by ear

its important to stir deep and not let bottom scorch. let steam escape but u need enough heat to cook all the roots and yet let the sauce reduce to the custardy consistency

towards the end you put a lot of chopped up okra on top and steam that for about `5 minutes (you want tthe potatos and yams and yuca to be pretty soft, not mushy, but soft and with a lot of coconut absorbed into them... by the way potatos are left unpeeled, so scrub them, and also, potatos seam to absorb less coconut milk then yuca and african yam, also plantains absorb no milk.. keep thsi in mind when planning how u want the end result to be)

finally u lay a LOT (its bette rthis way) of DUFF on top. Duff is the part of this dish that will "done yuh" as a guyanese might say. see this is a relatively heavy dish and the duff isone heavenly aspect of it that will combine with the other parts of the meal to make your eyes fianlly roll back in your head, your mouth smile and your body slump into a state of content sleep.

duff is acornmeal and flour dumpling. about 3 to one flour to cornmeal, it has a good ammount of butter in it as well as baking powder. it is seasoned with a slittle salt and a nice touch of nutmeg and enough sugar to make the dumpling sweet (like a sweet cornbread of the jiffy variety, not the souther unsweet variety)

these dumpling s lay on top of the okra and steam at least ten minutes until puffed up and firm.

the inside is light and fluffy and quite fantastic

and finally u also prepare a suac whwere u simmwer lots of chopped up tomatos and green onions together with some butter and olive oil until it is farily nicely stewewd and seasoned with saly.

and that is metem