If you’re even a casual listener of reggae music, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard the word “Ital” mentioned at one time or another. Ital has been translated from Jamaican patois slang as “pure,” and that’s appropriate, especially when taking into account that Ital is usually mentioned in connection with food or cooking.
So what is Ital food? Simply put, Ital food is organic, non-processed food from the earth (that is, vegetarian, by most definitions.) “Ital is vital” best summarizes the Rastafarian belief that pure food from the earth is the most physically and spiritually beneficial. One day I will expand on the concept of Ital Cuisine as it really is fascinating. But for now, enjoy two great recipes! These are some of my absolute favorites!
Ital Curry Eggplant Rundown Recipe
Serves 4 to 6 people
- 1 large dried coconut
- 3 medium sized eggplants
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato pureed
- 2 teaspoons of grated ginger
- ¾ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or to taste
- 1 heaping tablespoon of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
1. Bake eggplants in the oven at 400 degrees for roughly 45 minutes or until soft to the touch
2. Cool eggplants, and remove the skin
3. Cut into one inch pieces
Directions: Coconut Rundown
Please note that most recipes for rundown use canned coconut milk instead of fresh coconut for ease of use but depending on the kind of canned coconut milk you use, it may or may not be “ital.” This recipe uses real coconut. (However, you can substitute two cups of canned coconut milk or use this super easy recipe from Cheeseslave that only requires flaked coconut!) Rundown is really boiling down coconut milk to form a custard and coconut oil.
1. Break open the coconut.
2. Taste to ensure the coconut is fresh.
3. Remove the coconut “meat” from the shell with a knife.
4. Cut the coconut “meat” into small pieces and chop up in a blender using the chop setting. Use just enough water to chop coconut in blender. Chop coconut in batches so as not to overload the blender.
5. Blend the coconut in batches until the coconut is a fine consistency and the liquid resembles milk.
6. Use a large strainer to separate the coconut from the milk.
7. Hand squeeze any remaining milk from the residue.
8. In a large uncovered cooking pot bring the coconut milk to a rapid boil then reduce the flame to medium and cook until the water evaporates and about a cup and a half combination of clear liquid (oil) and custard like coconut remains.
9. This takes approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Directions: Bringing It All Together
1. Add onion, garlic, ginger, salt, tomato puree, and curry powder to coconut rundown.
2. Simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add chopped up eggplant.
4. Cook for 15 minutes.
Traditionally this is served with white rice but I have served it with millet as an alternative and it was delish!
|Not my photo – I cannot make my dish look this pretty!|
Carrot Sweet Potato Casserole
- ¾ cup grated carrots
- 1 ¼ cups mashed, baked sweet potatoes
¼ cup baking flour with dash of baking powder and salt (I use 1/8 cup of coconut flour instead)
- ¼ cup coconut oil and ¼ stick butter
- 1 cup coconut milk (make your own or use full fat canned coconut milk – not the rundown style coconut milk)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (I substitute raw honey)
- ½ grated nutmeg
- Small piece of fresh ginger, grated
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into mashed, baked sweet potatoes.
2. Add other ingredients to mixture.
3. Mix until well blended
4. Bake in greased casserole dish for 45 min to 1 hour at 350 degrees.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature. Great both ways!