TCHAKA (tyaka – tiaka – Chaka) – Protein soup
Sooooooo I’m super excited for this new blog post.
1) Autumn is my favorite season of the year. The smell of pumpkin spice, the pies, the not so cold weather, the warmth, and fuzziness of the various scarves, the VARIOUS leaf colors , the boots.
With pumpkin as one of the main ingredients, this is the perfect season for this soup!
2) I never thought this day would come for me to cook tchaka!!! I feel super accomplished!
While researching for this recipe, I came across so many variances with common ingredients: corn and beans.
I chose to adjust this recipe to the best version that fits my childhood memory of it.
I’ve realized that most of us that left home, are only craving the rice and the beans and the pork and the fried plantains.
Some dishes are really hard to find here in the states. This surprises me, living in a melting pot that is New York City. I guess this brings me back to the very purpose of the blog which is to keep the traditional meals alive by making available the very recipes that our grandmothers, aunts, and mothers have been cooking us; moments we took for granted and never really took advantage of.
The Haitian gastronomy is a crucial part of our cultural identity.
Think about it, whenever we post a recipe on a social platform, the first thing that we Haitians do is to notice what’s wrong or right about the way the meal turned out. Regardless of our knowledge of the recipes, we KNOW how it’s supposed to look like and we have such great pride in it. (Although the foods vary per region. Something I experienced while preparing this meal. But that’s a whole other subject we’ll save for later).
” Food is very representative of a [country’s] culture. In order to really get to know a place and the people, you’ve got to eat the food. “
– Emeril Lagasse
I really want to focus on the meals that are at the roots of what distinguishes them as Haitian. And tchaka is one of them.
I mean, when was the last time you had that ?
So let’s cook it this weekend.
This is the easiest meal to cook. Don’t be intimidated by the many ingredients involved in the recipe. It’s simply a rich meal filled with proteins.
All that is involved in it is to boil and pour.
You can choose to have it with meat and coconut milk (which makes it close to a creamy bisque) or without. Makes for a great vegan diet.
- 2 cups of dry corn
- 1 cup of dry red beans (You can also use canned beans).
- 1 cup of chickpeas
- 1/2 of a butternut squash or pumpkin
- 1 garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 to 2 yams and Malanga to liking – optional
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers – quantity optional
- 1 tied bunch of parsley (or simply dried parsley flakes)
- 2 green or red bell peppers
- 2 tbsps of butter
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 6 crabs (krab zomba/krab rouj) – optional
- 1/2 lb of meat of your choice (pork or beef cubes)
- 1 pork leg (pye kochon) – optional
- Adobo seasoning to liking
- 1 can of coconut milk –optional
- 1/2 lb of lard – optional
- Boil corn and beans for 30 to 45 min over a hot fire.It’s ok if they don’t look fully cooked. Additional time will be allowed to finish the cooking. Make sure to keep an eye on the water as it can easily dry up due to the high heat. You can add a few cups of water at a time to prevent it from occurring.
- Boil the squash until tender. Crush in a food processor and set aside.
- Clean and cook your meat. You can find out how here.
- Cut the onions and green bell peppers and sauté them for 1 or 2min in vegetable oil in a deep crock pot, then add the 2 tbsps of butter.
- Add the meat/crab without the meat sauce (originated from the meat boiling) and sauté/stir for about 5 mins. Then add the meat sauce.
- Add the corn and beans (along with their water) into the crockpot. Boil for about 30 more minutes. Add bunch of parsley, vegetables (malanga and yams/optional)
Feel free to add additional water as the mix can dry.
- Add squash juice and coconut milk in your mixture. Stir until homogenous.