Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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Welcome!

To Tati Miya's Cooking, our Haitian cuisine blog.  This site is all about Haitian food, Haitian recipes, culinary culture and ressources as it pertains to learning how to cook Haitian food, lifestyle, entertainment and accessing ressources available in the United States, Haiti and the rest of the world about Haitian food and culture.

Haiti is one of the two countries in Latin-America which does not speak Spanish.  Just like Brazil, Haitian cuisine is a land of culinary delights it is as rich and diverse as its people and history.  Although the basics are the same but the cooking styles varies from one region to the next to offer their own distinct flavor.  For example, the northern region adds cashew nuts in its cooking while the southern region adds coconut milk and the central region dry fish predominate.  Haitian cuisine is a mixture of African, Native Indians, French and Spanish which enables it to have  a unique flavor and aromas while maintaining known flavors




Giving the bounty of the New World, Haitian cooking is composed of exotic fruit, vegetables, tubers  and roots such as yam, sweet potato, chayote; Spices and herbs are use carefully.   Therefore, Haitian food is not hot to the tongue.  Savory dishes ranges from  Akasan a porridge made out of corn and Kasav that we have inheritated from the first natives; Tyaka a stew that resemble Cachupa from Cape Verde, Tom-tom like West African Foutou, Riz a Djon Djon a black rice blacken by dried mushroom which is much like Paella Negra from Spain to mouth watering gratins from our French legacy. However, dessert is almost entirely French to the exception of a few  that are typical to the Latin American Caribbean cuisine. We welcome you to explore our site and hope that you'll be able to cook a Haitian meal for your family in a short span of time.  No meal is done without a good choice of music, please browse the selection of classical and modern Haitian music that we have selected for you and enjoy a well deserved Haitian meal.





Haiti today


Today when one talks about Haiti they associate the country with poverty and hunger.  It creates a level of discomfort to even almost being a taboo subject to discuss Haitian cuisine for, it is almost believe that Haitians as they are daily grappling with hunger they are just scrapping by to survive and hence almost has no culinary culture.  As true as it is that Haiti is experiencing socio-economic problems it does not discount the fact that food culture is as alive and important to Haitians as to a Brazilian living in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, someone living in the ghetto of Spanish town, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.  Good eats is appreciated everywhere.  Truth to be told is that, Haitians celebrate food and take pride in their culinary culture.  From the elite to the modest home that one enters, as soon as one penetrates a Haitian home you are offered something to eat or drink.  It is believe throughout Haiti that one has to always cook extra as one never know who is going to come by while dinner is being served.  Food is always shared; plates are always crossing the gate line from one neighbor to the next.  It is never too meager to share even when it consist of only a plate of cornmeal (polenta) perfumed with smoked herring.

The Haitian plate

For the past twenty years the Haitian plate has changed from being a well balanced nutrition where, rice would be eaten once or twice a week and cornmeal, bulgur wheat and millet were cooked on specific days of the week to one today that consist primarily of rice due to massive import of the latter.  Years ago a Haitian weekday dinner would look almost like this:  Sunday you would serve white rice with kidney bean, white bean or pea sauce or the Riz national made with brown rice rather than white, Djon Djon or rice with pea sauce and a poultry dish.  Between Monday to Thursday one would alternate between corn meal, millet and bulgur wheat serve with some type of meat, Friday which is a holy day one would serve white rice with seafood, Saturday would be the day for bouillon (Sancocho) which is a hearty stew.

Dinner

Dinner in Haiti is eaten around noon up until 4pm which is considered very late.  The Haitian plate looks something like this: rice, corn, millet or bulgur wheat is always serve either mixed with beans or peas or cooked on its own accompanied with a bean or pea sauce.  Meat or seafood is served in a sauce, fried, grilled or etouffee with a variety of vegetables called “Legume”.  The meat or seafood is served first with plantain and some kind of root or tuber and salad once eaten one go on to the rice, corn, millet or bulgur dish.  Dinner is always served with a fruit juice or a fruit shake or simply a glass of fresh water.

Breakfast

Haitians normally have an early start; their days depending on their social class may begin from four am to 6pm.  Breakfast however starts with a cup of coffee and bread or on its own while one waits for breakfast to be prepared.  Breakfast consist either of corn meal with avocado or on its own, pasta, roots and tuber served with wither sautéed liver or dried fish with avocado or watercress, Akasan which one can say is the Haitian cereal version served with milk, vanilla essence and bread and butter, oatmeal porridge style with bread and butter or simply milk chocolate and bread. The frugal, bread and jelly or jam with Juice.  Savory morning dishes are served often with either a citrus juice such as lime, orange or chadeque “grapefruit”
Snack

Haitians snacks all day on a variety of things.  The favorites are Haitian paties (Baked puffed pastries) filled with meat, chicken or codfish or "Pate kode", Haitian style empanadas filled with smoked herring or chicken, "Papita", plantain chips, sugar cane, mango, kenepe, or any fruit that is in season makes a wonderful snack or they refresh with a cup of “Fresco” shaved ice; “Royal” cassava bread with peanut butter or a fritter with pickle. There are various choices and they are all natural and healthy.

Super

After six in the evening, Haitians normally serve porridge, homemade consommé or they do take out for Fritay which is composed of fried plantain and other roots, with Tasso or Griot (fried pork) and fritters, ragout or consommé. Nowadays there are numerous food stands serving barbecued chicken which one can either purchase with fried plantain or boiled plantain and yucca.



Drinks

Haitian food is always served with a natural fruit juice, homemade. Shakes are always perfumed with vanilla essence.  Milk is served in the morning or at night, Haitians enjoys fresh milk right out of the cow they boil their milk with the addition of salt, lemongrass, cinnamon or star anise.

Haiti being the land where coffee made its first implentation in the new world, it is the land where coffee reign suprime.  It is served black, sweet and very strong. 

Tea has a different connotation in Haiti.  Haitians believes strongly in homeopathy. Herbal cures are an integral part of Haitian’s health care regimens and saves the poor from the rural areas where medical access is difficult to cure ailments.  There are what Haitians called Herbal doctors (dokte fey) and vodou priest are also experts in herbal remedies.   Every leaf, trees and fruit is an element for healing. 

Everyone has a remedy for an illness and tea is taken mostly for that purpose or ginger tea for heating during the raining season. Wellness is seen as a direct result of one’s direct connection with the spirits, the environment and food intake and disconnection can cause imbalance which can be repair by the means of infusions and a cure regiment that consist of a series of infusion and baths.

Dessert

It is not often that dessert is part of the menu during the week and dessert is mostly found in the elite social class and upper middle class on Sundays.