Ginger “chicken” with sherry (Grenada)

Grenada is a tiny island country in the Caribbean sea and a part of the Commonwealth, consisting of the main island Grenada and six smaller islands in the Grenadines, all of them of volcanic origin. Together they only have 110,000 inhabitants. Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, it has earned the nickname “Island of Spice”, by being a major importer of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, mace, citrus peels and especially nutmeg, of which it provides 20% of the world supply. A nutmeg fruit even appears in the flag of the country. Still, tourism is the most important industry, mostly thanks to cruise ships. Culturally cricket, music (including soca, calypso, rap and reggae) and storytelling are important.

Not surprisingly Grenadian food tends to be spicy. It has drawn influences from Indian food, from curries and daal to Indian sweets and roti (many dishes and ingredients are called by their Hindi names), but also French food to a lesser extent. The national dish is “oildown”, which refers to a dish of breadfruit, meats and turmeric cooked in coconut milk until the liquid absorbed, only leaving some coconut oil in the pot. Besides coconut and the aforementioned spices, many other spices and seasonings are used, such as tamarind, peanut butter, hot sauce, garlic, thyme and cumin. In Grenadian cuisine the name “saffron” always refers to turmeric.

People sometimes complain that Vegventures recipes use too much mock meat. Well, this is one dish that you could make without any mock meats – I used seitan-based mock chicken, but you could use tofu – or even broccoli or green beans, because the main point of the dish is the fragrant, gingery sauce, which I found surprisingly good and not too gingery despite the large amount of ginger powder (yes, it’s 1.5 tbsp, not tsp).

Previously I’ve found marinating seitan as frustrating (or even more frustrating) as marinating tofu, but this time I tried squeezing all liquid from the seitan and it immediately sucked in a lot of liquid. I further marinated it for 24 hours, so it was quite flavourful. I rather enjoyed this dish, more than I thought I would. Especially the onion pieces are very nice.

Ginger “chicken”

Grenadan "chicken"

enough mock chicken/chicken-style tofu/normal extra-firm tofu/chicken style seitan for four people (e.g. two cans Chinese mock chicken)
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
(a few drops toasted sesame oil)
1 tbsp oil
oil for frying
1 small onion
1 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp flour
1/2 bouillon cube or 1 tsp vegetarian “chicken” broth powder
1/2 cup/1.2 dl water
1/2 cup/1.2 dl sherry, divided
parsley for garnish

Squeeze the water out of the mock chicken (if appropriate) or press the tofu. Mix the garlic, basil, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, half of the sherry, sesame oil (if using), and 1 tbsp oil together. Toss the “chicken” pieces well in this marinade and let marinate as long as possible, at least hour, but the longer the better.

Fry the onion in oil until translucent. Add the marinated “chicken” and fry in the oil for a few minutes until slightly browned Combine the water, the remaining sherry, the flour and the bouillon cube/broth powder and pour in. Add the margarine. Let simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it seems to be drying out.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot. (There were no instructions for what to serve it with, so do as you please.)

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