Chickpea Stuffed Plantains Recipe Proves Caribbean Cuisine Isn’t All Meat

“Everyone thinks Caribbean cuisine is about jerk, jerk chicken or barbecue chicken,” Craig, 32, said in a Zoom interview. “But people are more open to Caribbean cuisine now. The jerk chicken is so good they want to know everything about the rest. And over time people are more open and there are so many more vegan options which are increasing year by year.

The brothers are also careful to emphasize that they want everyone to enjoy their book, regardless of their food preferences. After all, while Shaun, 35, spent a year eating exclusively vegan food (and boasts that he saw his weight and skin improve as a result), they are now both flexitarians.

“This book isn’t just for plant eaters,” Shaun says. “It’s important for meat eaters to have balance too.”

One of their uncles is a Rastafarian, herbalist and healer in Jamaica, and they were inspired in part by the Rastafarian Ital diet, proving the nation has a long and genuine tradition of vegan cooking. But this does not mean that “Natural Flava” is limited to such recipes. Instead, I see it in the same vein as recent cookbooks like “The Korean Vegan” and “Provecho,” both of which respect the plant-based foundations of a cuisine (Korean and Colombian, respectively), while by not being afraid. also offer vegan spins that respect the spirit, if not the letter, of tradition.

In “Natural Flava”, this combination is part of what made choosing a recipe so difficult for me. Could it be Rasta Pumpkin Pasta? Tofu jerk? A cauliflower burger with spicy mayo, coleslaw and mango chutney? I settled on these Curried Chickpea Plantain Boats because I love all the ingredients separately and had no doubt that once put together I would love them all the more.

It’s sort of a mix of Puerto Rican-style platanos canoas, sweet plantains usually stuffed with meat or seasoned seafood, and a chickpea and plantain curry that the brothers included in ” Original Flava”. You coat ripe plantains—nothing green, please—in seasoning, and while they roast, you make a quick curry from Caribbean curry powder, coconut milk, herbs (garlic, onion, ginger) and chickpeas. When the plantains come out of the oven, you open them up a bit (like a baked potato) to make room for the chickpea mixture.

When I did all of this, then stuck into a fork and took a bite, the layers of sweet and spicy, creamy and starchy made it clear: I needed more, not just a little. .

Make Ahead: Chickpea curry and roasted plantains can be cooked separately and refrigerated for up to 1 week before reheating and joining.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Where to buy: Caribbean curry powder and Caribbean all-purpose seasoning can be found in international markets or online. Head to the Latin or Caribbean markets for the best selection of plantains of varying levels of ripeness.

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 large ripe plantains (all yellow with a few black spots and no green), peeled
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (any kind)
  • 1 small yellow onion (about 5 ounces), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons Caribbean curry powder (can substitute Madras or other curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • One can (14 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • One can (15 ounces) no salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp Caribbean All Purpose Seasoning (can substitute low-salt or no-salt seasoning)
  • Fresh parsley leaves, to serve
  • Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, finely diced, for serving (optional)

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, thyme, pepper and salt.

Using a sharp paring knife, cut a deep gash in the middle of each plantain lengthwise, stopping just before you reach each end. Carefully separate the two halves slightly. Place on a small baking sheet or rimmed roasting pan and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 35 minutes, or until a metal fork or skewer passes through with very little resistance.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add curry powder and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil, then add the chickpeas and all-purpose seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the oil begins to separate, 5 at 7 minutes.

Transfer the plantains to a serving platter or individual plates and pry open the middle of each from each end. Spoon the chickpea curry over the plantains, sprinkle with parsley and Scotch bonnet, if using, and serve hot.

Per serving (1 plantain and 1/2 cup chickpeas)

Calories: 589; Total fat: 31 g; Saturated fat: 23g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 698mg; Carbohydrates: 80g; Dietary fiber: 10g; Sugar: 31g; Protein: 10g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

Adapted from “Natural Flava” by Craig and Shaun McAnuff (Bloomsbury, 2022).

Michael M. Tomlin