In true Caribbean style, we have our own twist on the classic North American dish, garlic mashed potato. If you’re new to the site or you’re not familiar with the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago (and wherever else in the Caribbean where there’s an Indian influence), aloo is just another word for potato. I fell in love with garlic mash when I first moved to North America many moons ago and it’s one of those sides I always get whenever we go out for a steak dinner. Maybe it’s one of those things I connected with, that reminded of the Aloo Choka I enjoyed as a boy.
Though they’re pretty similar, the aloo choka is a bit more explosive when it hits your taste buds, as the garlic is raw and not roasted as in garlic mash and the extreme heat (you can control this of course) from the habanero or scotch bonnet peppers adds a new dimension to the overall dish.
4 large potatoes
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1/4 green hot pepper (I used habanero)
* Optional – Add 1 clove sliced garlic to the oil heating process.
Peel, wash and cut in halves the potatoes, then place in a deep pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (when a fork or knife can go through them without any resistance). While this boils… in a bowl, place the garlic, salt and hot pepper and crush to a smooth paste.
I like using a green hot pepper as the flavor is a bit different than a fully ripe one. Plus the green specks in the finished dish give sit some character. After the potato is cooked, drain and add to the bowl with the crushed garlic, pepper and salt. Then mash the entire batch until it’s smooth and free of any lumps.
With the use of salt in the pepper paste we made, there wasn’t any use for salt when you’re boiling the potato. But do check at the end in the event you need to add additional salt (depends on your taste). The final 2 steps are to… top with the thin slices of onion (don’t mix or stir)
Heat the oil until it’s hot (just about to smoke), then pour the oil directly onto the slices of onion on top of the mashed potato. This will semi cook the onion and most importantly it will release some of the distinct onion flavours into the bowl. Now give everything a good stir and serve.
Note: Traditionally I’ve seen people add a clove of garlic (sliced thin) into the frying pan with the hot oil to cook for a minute, before adding to the bowl with the mashed potato. But that gives it a bit of a smokey taste that I’m not a huge fan off.
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