In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

The Ultimate Murtani (spicy choka) Recipe.

Choka.. a spicy condiment made from roasted vegetables and hot peppers (as hot as you can handle) is one of those delectable vegan dishes we enjoy in the Caribbean. While most chokas are meant to be as spicy as you can tolerate and very basic.. usually made with one vegetable (like eggplant or tomato) , this Murtani is meant to be SPICY and made with a combination of fire grilled vegetables, as you’re about to see.

You’ll Need…

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 Cubanelle peppers
  • 8-10 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 head garlic
  • 8-10 okra
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
  • 1/3 large onion
  • 3 leaves shado beni (optional)

Important! While it’s recommended that an open flame (charcoal, propane etc) fire is used for grilling off the vegetables, you can certainly do this in a very high indoor oven as well. Keep the seeds of the scotch bonnet to maintain the heat level and remember to wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after with soap and water.

In this recipe (watch the video below) I’m using my Coal Pot to grill off everything. Something my great grandmother and her ancestors would traditionally use to grill and cook on.

Basically all you’re doing is grilling everything until they are charred and in the case of the tomatoes and eggplant.. cooked all the way through. To assist with cooking faster, I did make some deep cuts into the eggplant.

For the garlic, I cut off the root end to expose the garlic, then I drizzled on 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and wrapped it in foil. This will allow for the garlic to roast evenly on the fire and take on a lovely sweet flavor.

After everything was fire roasted, I went inside and scraped off any excess char and with the Cubanelle peppers (optional as it’s not traditionally used) as they cooled, the skin came off easily (same for the tomatoes).

Remove the stems off the peppers and okra and discard.. and be sure to remove the stem area of the tomato as it can be very tough. Cut the eggplant down the center and scoop out the lovely flesh. Place all of this into your food processor, along with the salt.

Pulse to achieve a chunky consistency. Then scrape into a deep bowl. Top with thinly sliced onions.

The final step is to CHUNKAY! Basically heat the remaining olive oil until you see whispers of smoke, then pour it directly over the sliced onions. Give it all a mix and top with the finely chopped Shado Beni.

Don’t forget to taste for salt yea! Yes, this is meant to be VERY spicy, but you can certainly tailor it to your own liking. A great side for curry dishes or grab some hot Sada roti and dip in.

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