Trini food is definitely one of my most favorite cuisines. Two summers ago, I went to visit my cousin who’s mother-in-law is from Trinidad. I’d heard great things about her food and she was kind enough to make us a Trini feast. I mean..I have no words for the work and love she put into that meal, it was beyond amazing and I wish I knew how to make it all! One dish that stood out to me was the daal. It was so simple, yet comforting and tasty. I requested the recipe as soon as I got home. I’ve made it a few times now and it always turns out amazing!
The main spice for Trini food is scotch bonnet peppers, which tastes similar to habanero but better. I find it spicier with a deeper flavor than habanero but it is hard to find here so obviously I just end up using habanero. Also the main herb they use is culantro, different than cilantro. But again, hard to find here so I just use cilantro instead. I’ve read that you can do a mix of cilantro and parsley to get the culantro flavor.
I also have a recipe for Trini Chana Aloo on here as well, it’s easy and only has a few ingredients if you want to try more dishes from this cuisine. You can make these two recipes together with some rice and roti for a nice, hearty meal! Hope you guys enjoy this one!
1 cup yellow split peas
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2-3 habanero peppers, finely diced or ground into a paste (you can remove seeds for less spice)
2 stalks green onions, sliced
4 stems culantro (if avail) or cilantro stems, chopped
Handful of chopped cilantro, for garnish
1. Instant pot: Rinse the split peas and add to instant pot with turmeric, salt and approx. 3 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, let pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, then quick release pressure. Open and blend smooth with an immersion blender. Set aside and go to step 3.
2. Stove top: Rinse the split peas and add to a pot with turmeric, salt and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer until daal is fully cooked. Once done, blend smooth with an immersion blender. Set aside and go to next step.
3. In a pot over medium heat, add oil. Once oil is hot, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds start to sputter, add in diced onions and sauté until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Now add in garlic, habanero, green onions and cilantro stems. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
5. Carefully pour in daal mixture and bring to a boil. Add water if needed to thin out the consistency. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice and roti!