Oil down (pronounced ile dung) is Grenada’s national dish, but it can also be found in other Caribbean countries. It is basically a coconut milk- based stew with a starch, leafy veggies, chilies, onions, and salted meat. The starch is typically breadfruit, but I had no luck finding any at Kroger. The employee looked at me like I had five heads when I asked, so I figured that it was a lost cause. I read that you can sub potatoes, yucca, or other starchy vegetables for the breadfruit. Thankfully Kroger is globalized enough to have potatoes, so I went down that route. I think I deserve bonus points to redeem myself, though, because I was able to allocate callaloo to make the leafy green portion of the stew more authentic. Salt cod is the most common meat addition. I used a lot of it when I cooked my Caribbean breakfasts. Torpedo-shaped dumplings called spinners or sinkers are frequently added to the stew. They are simple to make and fun to roll out.
3 cups coconut milk
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 habanero chili pepper, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp turmeric
2 large potatoes or 1 breadfruit, peeled and cut into 6”X 1” sliced
8 ounces salt cod, soaked overnight
1 cup callaloo, chopped
1 cup water
For the dumplings:1 cup flour
¼ tsp salt
water, as needed
To make the dumplings, mix the flour and salt together. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Divide the dough into thumb sized balls. Roll the balls into thick snakes with tapered ends. Cover and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and habanero pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions are golden. In a separate bowl, boil the salt cod. Drain, rinse, and repeat twice more. Add the cod, coconut milk, water, thyme, turmeric, and breadfruit/ potatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the dumplings and callaloo, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dumplings are done and the breadfruit/ potatoes are tender.
The oil down was not too bad. It certainly was not my very favorite meal, but I harbor no ill feeling towards it. I really enjoyed the dumplings (aka sinkers or spinners). One day I hope to get my hands on some breadfruit because I would love to try it out. Potatoes just are too plain. Breadfruit just sounds interesting and fun. 54 meals down, a little less than 200 more to go!