Traditional Afro-Guyanese dishes

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Guyana is a melting pot of cultures. The cultures come from the six ethnic groups that make up its people – Africans, Amerindians, Chinese, East Indians, Europeans and Portuguese. Each of these groups has left their stamp in the Guyanese culture, especially in the Guyanese cuisine. To commemorate Emancipation Day, we have the recipes of some traditional Afro-Guyanese dishes to tickle your taste buds. Enjoy.

Conkie

Ingredients:
• 1 coconut
•1 lb pumpkin
• 1 lb cornmeal
•1 oz lard
• 1 oz margarine
•1 tsp salt
• Sugar to taste
•4 oz dried fruit
• 1 tsp black pepper
• Banana leaves for wrapping

Preparation:
• Grate coconut and pumpkin.
• Add all other ingredients.
• Stir in enough water to make a mixture of dropping consistency.
• Wipe banana leaves and heat to make pliable.
• Cut into pieces about 8 inches square. Wrap around filling and tie with twine.
• Place in boiling water and boil for 20-30 minutes.

Metemgee (Metagee)

Ingredients:
• 1 dry coconut
• ¾ lb mixed meat
• 1 lb (approx.) fried fish or salt fish
• 1lb cassava
• 1lb plantain (your choice of ripeness)
• 1lb eddoes, yam or dasheen
• 1 large onion — cut in rings
• ½ lbochroes (okra)
• Dumplings (optional)

Preparation:
• Cover the mixed meat with water and boil for ½ hour. Put salt-fish to soak in water; if using fresh fish this may be fried or placed on top of vegetables about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
• Grate the coconut, pour one pint of water over, squeeze well and strain to extract the coconut milk. Pour over the meat.
• Peel the vegetables, then put the meat and vegetables to cook in the coconut milk. Cook until almost tender.
• Put the salt fish with the skin and bones removed, or fresh fish or fried fish on top of vegetables. Add the onion and ochroes.
• Cook until the coconut milk is almost absorbed.
• If dumplings are used they should be added about 8 minutes before the vegetables are ready.

Cookup Rice

Ingredients:
• ½ lb cooked meat
• ¼ lb salt meat, if desired
• 1 lb (2 cups) rice
• 4½ cups water
• 1 onion
• 1 – 2 tomatoes
• 2 – 3 blades chives
• Thyme and parsley
• ½ tsp salt–more if no salt meat is used
• ½ tsp pepper
• 2 tbsp oil or drippings
• 1 heaped tsp brown sugar

Preparation:
• Wash and soak the salt meat and prepare the seasonings.
• Heat the oil, add the sugar, and fry until it bubbles. Add the seasonings, fry till golden brown.
• Cut the salt meat into neat pieces, and add to seasonings with water, rice, and salt. Put to boil.
• Remove the skin and bones from the cooked meat, cut into neat pieces, and add to the rice when it is nearly cooked. If desired, add a dollop or two of butter before dishing up.

Foo-Foo

Ingredients:
• 2 lb hard yams
• 1 lb cassava

Preparation:
• Wash, peel and cook vegetables in boiling water.
• When cooked, do not remove from boiling water, as vegetables will become cold and unmanageable.
• Remove string from cassava; take cassava from water and pound first before adding yam to mortar.
• Pound to a fine texture until thoroughly mixed.
• Use some of the same warm water for dipping the mortar stick and for adding to the foo-foo to bring to the right consistency.
• Dip a metal spoon in some clean warm water and remove foo-foo in balls from the mortar. Cover and keep warm. Serve in soup or with pepperpot

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