Haitian Beef & Okra

 Today's lunch is my grandmother's food.  It's very nice to get a chance to relax and eat comforting food in place outside of the home, especially in a stressful environment such as school or work.  Right now I'm at school and this will be my lunch today :) 

[11/20/12: Sorry this photo is forever lost :( But I plan to recreate the dish myself soon...stay tune!]

My grandmother's food is usually spicy and it always contain five parts...rice, sauce, meat, plantain and lettuce with tomato (interestingly in my family we don't eat the lettuce and tomato with a vinaigrette, we eat it along with the main entree for texture).  She almost always serves her white rice with some type of bean sauce.  Today's it's black brans, last time was lentils.  Bascially you take half of the cooked beens and puree it with spices and add the other half of the whole beans back into the puree.  Also, when she cooks beans into the rice or peas, to eat we take the tomato spiced based sauce from the meat she prepared and mix it into the rice.

When I moved away from Miami about 10 years ago, I missed both my mom and grandmother's food.  And as a kid I used to watch her cook but I wasn't really paying any attention, I was more busy with riding my bike which to me when I was young felt more exciting to me.   And I regret that now.

During my search a few years later, I noticed that published Haitian recipes were very hard for me to find, and this was 5 years ago when I began to really search for them.  I was only able to find one book: A Taste of Haiti by Mirta Yumet-Thomas.  It helped alot in remembering old recipes and preparing simple ones, but as always different regions cook different ways with different twist so it's wasn't really quite like Grandma's.

I don't particulaly have this recipe of my grandma's but you can try Mrs Yumet-Thomas recipe version by clicking below:

Haitian Beef & Okra / Viand Bef Ak Kalalou / Beouf Avec Gombo

(In translation the second title is in Creole and third in French)

Take a peek into the Haitian culture and explore.  If you ever have any questions, feel free to comment.

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