How to Make Caribbean Tomato Choka Recipe
For Peters, culinary education is not a one-way street. Although she learned a great deal from her family, she was also able to provide an exchange of abilities based on her upbringing and the skills she learned from Kit an’ Kin. “I love the idea of intergenerational learning because it’s great to have a different perspective,” she says.
Like the time her grandmother accompanied her to a big food concert where her signature dish of rice and peas, passed down from generation to generation, was on the menu for a group of 300 people. For a gathering of this size, the dish had to be prepared using an oven instead of a traditional cooking pot on the stove, which Peters’ grandmother did not think possible. “She looked so skeptical, because you put on‘you mess up his business,” laughs Peters. “But it came out. Little moments like those are what I love the most about this process: bringing my family together.
The knowledge that Peters absorbs and shares is not only for the elders, but also for the younger generation. Peters is motivated to create a series of children’s cookbooks exploring hyper-regional Caribbean cuisine and diasporic riffs.
“I have a niece and she’s three now, and I really want to tap into that cross-generational learning and create something for her that’s culturally relevant,” says Peters. Inspired by the genre of “my first cookbooks”, Peters intends to put her own spin on children’s cookbooks by sharing the national dishes of the Caribbean countries: ackee and saltfish for Jamaica, cocoa tea of Granada and Trini callaloo. “All of these different islands have food that is revered there and kids grow up eating it, so it will be for Caribbean kids or any kid with an interest in food,” Peters says. As a multi-hyphenated designer, Peters will write and illustrate the books herself using watercolors.
There are a lot of projects to juggle, but Peters’ passion is palpable. “I like to think of myself as a culinary anthropologist, in the sense that I am for Caribbean culture in terms of food, art, music and general traditions and for maintaining this connection between generations.”
Peters is doing it on a grander scale with Kit an’ Kin and her cookbook project, for which she’s expected to launch pre-orders in August. But on a micro level, Peters brings friends and family together at home around the table, where she could be found serving up tomato choka, a summertime favorite that’s versatile and celebrates seasonal produce.
“Choka is perfect in the summer because you have the grill and want to cook something really quick and also have veggie foods,” says Peters. “Choka is basically a method of burning a vegetable over fire or charcoal, then pounding it with seasonings, a shot of acid, and cilantro.”
Peters served his with prawns, roti and bhaji (a dish of cooked spinach). You can have it for breakfast or as a side dish for dinner, but the ease of preparation and robust flavors make it a crowd pleaser. “There’s the fresh aroma of fried garlic, cilantro, lime juice and summer tomatoes,” smiles Peters. “It goes so well with everything and it’s so easy to do and do.”