This Wednesday evening, April 7th, we’re going to have some fun with a ‘Trinidad Night’ at Kasa Castro. Why? For no other reason than to celebrate the wonderful Trini culture and cuisine with its strong connections to India, Africa and Britain. We’ll be serving a Trini Plate ($10.95) with:
- Curried Chicken
- Aloo Channa
- Pumpkin Talkari
- Daal Roti
- And of course plenty of cold Red Stripes will be at the ready
When slavery was abolished in the British empire in 1838, the colony of Trinidad needed alternative sources of cheap labor. In came the first Indians, who today constitute about 45% of the population. The dishes that evolved from this emigration are uniquely Trinidadian using produce, spices and herbs native to the island, joined with a strong Indian influence. I’m so excited to have discovered these new dishes!
The idea for Trinidad Night came from chatting with Adriel, one of our favorite Kasa customers, a Princeton alum, McKinsey consultant and most importantly a Trinidadian. Whilst in the store, he asked me to cook up some Trini food as a special. Since I didn’t know anything about the cuisine, I told him to email me some recipes. I have since discovered that his interests (other than food) involve ‘coming up with ideas and doing nothing with them’. I didn’t let him get away with that though — I managed to get some recipes from him AND get him to cook and taste with me on Wednesday to make sure the food is as authentic as possible.
If you want to try these recipes at home, the trick is to find Chief’s Curry Powder (apparently everyone in Trinidad uses this) or green seasoning — not easy even in such a cosmopolitan city as San Francisco. But my hunt led me to Oriental Lucky Mart in Oakland, where I found not only the curry powder but also the best Jamaican beef patties ever. Just pop them in the oven and get dreamy!
I’m still working on finding Chadon Beni (aka Culantro, Ngo Gai or Ngo Tai), an herb related to Cilantro. I need to check out Vietnamese grocery stores for this fresh herb.
Another cool find was a flag from Trinidad. On Valencia and 24th street, on display at the parking lot, you can practically find ANY flag from around the world.
Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, and if you have any leads on the Chadon Beni / Culantro / Ngo Gai / Ngo Tai, please let me know.