The Food Blog

Friday, January 27, 2006

Jamaican Blue Drawers

Blue Drawers, Duckunoo, or Tie Leaf are the names that are given to this boiled pudding of West African origin. Jamaicans are very fond of this starchy, green banana-based boiled pudding, which is enjoyed as a snack or dessert.
Many people from different parts of the island use these names interchangeably when entertaining their guests or family members with this fare, whenever possible.
Since I am from the eastern side of Jamaica, these names are the only ones that I can remember being used to name this delicious treat. And although these names were common, we were reluctant to use "blue drawers" in front of adults, fearing we would be admonished to have manners and respect... because using the word ‘drawers’ is slang for underwear. How this word became synonymous with a boiled pudding is still a mystery to me.
I could speculate that ‘drawers’ are the banana leaf ties that are used to tie the prepared batter before it’s added to the boiling water, but that is just my guessing – honestly I don’t know why the name ‘blue drawers’ came about and I’ve never checked.
With all that said, the taste is what we’re interested in…not history. Irie? Cool.
Another very important thing about blue drawers is that it is traditionally made with the banana leaves as the exclusive binder. However if you live in a place where banana leaves are not available, what do you do? Or even if you live somewhere where there is an ample supply of banana leaves but you’re not able to get any immediately…use aluminum foil.
And that’s how we will make this ‘blue drawers’…yah mon!
Blue Drawers:
2 cups Green Banana (grated)
1 cup Sweet Potatoes (grated)
1 cup Coconut Milk
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1 cup Flour
1 tsp. Vanilla Flavoring
4 tbsp. Raisins
2 tbsp. Cooking Oil
4” x 6” Aluminum Foil Sheets
Twine or Cord.
Note: This recipe calls for grated green bananas and sweet potatoes…please remove the skins from the vegetables before you grate them.
Use a large mixing bowl and add, the grated bananas, sweet potatoes, flour, baking powder, salt, and cooking oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients.
Warm the coconut milk on a low fire. Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the coconut milk and sweeten. Next, add the sweetened coconut milk to the rest of the ingredients and mix everything together until the batter is formed.
In the meantime bring water to boil in a saucepot.
Use the wooden spoon to add four to five spoonfuls of the batter to an aluminum sheet. Bring the two long sides of the sheet together to hold the batter in place. Fold them together to retain the batter inside. Fold the two ends of the sheet and tie the blue drawers with the twine, cut the excess twine.
This takes a little practice, so if you don’t get it at first, big deal. Do it again.
Repeat this process for the rest of the batter and then add all the blue drawers to the pot of boiling water. Let the pudding cook for about 45 minutes.
When the blue drawers are ready remove them from the boiling water and let them cool to room temperature.
Remove them from the aluminum sheets and serve as is or with ice cream. You can also eat them with a little honey and ground cinnamon.


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