Jamaican Roots in Darwin

Matumba is a fabulous member of our Darwin community and  has lived in Darwin for 16 years. Matumba smiles2

Matumba grew up in Darliston near Montego Bay in Jamaica in the Carribean with his Grandma until he was eight years old. It was pretty simple living, but food was always important, using whatever was grown on the island and available. A real treat and childhood favourite was Cassava Pone- a sweet desert made of grated cassava, sugar and spices. It is like a cake with no flour- there was a lack of flour and only corn maize was available, or local roots Taro and Cassava, which we are happy to be able to grow here!

Matumba moved to London when he was eight to join the rest of his family, but Jamaican cooking still was an important part of life, but a lot of the ingredients had to come from far, but were available due to a strong Caribbean community in London.

After leaving London and travelling in Greece and Australia Matumba settled in Darwin, where he know lives with his family and is happily growing Cassava and other tropical veggies that are so familiar from his childhood.IMG_3756

Matumba shared his story and cassava pone recipe with the GULP team and a large audience of other Darwin community members, with the help of his son Darliston!

Matumba and Darli

The recipe goes something like this-

500g  raw cassava grated

1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
½ tsp. nutmeg or mace
250 g grated coconut- fresh is best
2 cups hot water
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp. melted butter or oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp, ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

  •  Combine cassava with milk, sugar and spices and mix well.
  •  Add coconut, hot water and melted butter.
  • Mix briskly and taste for sweetness desired.
  •  Add more sugar if necessary, pour into greased Pyrex dish.
  • Enjoy with friends
  • cassava pone

Indian roots- A cassava curry

CassavaEarlier this year we held a fabulous roots workshop at The Mulch Pit (in Nightcliff, Darwin).

The cooks

We had over 30 people attending, some cassava harvesting and wonderful presenters sharing their food stories and recipes of the easily grown roots- Cassava and Taro, they included-

  • Matumba and his Cassava pone and Taro chips
  • Grusha and Cassava gnocci
  • Pascalini and Shirley and wonderful cassava leaf dishes
  • Emma and a Pacific taro leaf dish and
  • Bhavini and her cassava root curry.

So a full update of the day and recipes is being worked on- but for now here is Bhavini’s story. Bhavini has lived in Darwin for over 15 years and is also part of our GULP events team, she grew up in England in an Indian family and was passed on many recipes from her mum. In England many ingredients for these needed to be imported, so she is happy to live somewhere they can be grown, and she eats a lot of local produce, growing it and buying it from Rapid Creek Market.

Bhavini explains

Above Bhavini explains the Cassava plant and how it is grown and used..

Bhavini explains2

Below she explains all of the ingredients used for a cassava recipe learnt fro her family; the recipe has a tomato base, so to keep it as local as possible make this when tomatoes are harvested (August- October)

Bhavinis spices

Indian cooking uses a lot of dry spices and each bride is given this nifty looking tin set to store them in on the time of her marriage! Some of these spices can be grown in Darwin, like turmeric and chilli and cardamon and mustard seeds (dry season), of course many of these are very fiddly to harvest and imported cheaply from Asian countries; others are a little harder (like cloves and star anise) as they are from large trees.

Tamarind features as the zingy flavouring to the curry and is a large tree with a pulpy pod and can be found happily growing in the Darwin region, or bought processed from Asian shops.

The cassava root is peeled and cut into pieces and all of the other ingredients chopped.

Here is the full recipe- 

Ingredients

1kg of cassava skinned and cut into 1inch cubes
4 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
1 large brown onion roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
3 bird’s eye chillies (adjusted to taste)
6 curry leaves
2 tea spoons of tamarind concentrate/2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp
2 tea spoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 table spoon olive oil
6 leaves of Thai coriander finely sliced

cassava cooking

 Method

Boil cassava in lightly salted water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1L of water) until tender.

Drain liquid and reserve.

Pound garlic, ginger and chilli’s into a paste using a pestle and mortar.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add cumin seeds and wait until they start to “pop”.

Add onions and curry leaves and sauté until softened (5 minutes).

Add curry paste and dry spices and fry until aromatic (you will feel a tickle in your nose).

Add chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste/pulp and sauté until tomatoes have softened, add 500ml of water and bring to the boil.

Add cassava and cook for 30-40 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Garnish with coriander

Serve with rice and riata

Bhavini curry

For PDF version of Bhavini’s recipe click here