Oil Down: The National Dish of Grenada


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Central America Caribbean » Grenada » Grenada
September 5th 2009
Published: October 6th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Oil DownOil DownOil Down

Preparing the Oil Down, Grenada's National Dish.
One weekend we got invited to go to an Oil Down, which is a traditional neighborhood party here in Grenada. Oil Down is the national dish of Grenada and is a hearty meal of meat and provisions stewed in coconut milk over an open fire. It is called oil down because the coconut milk simmers down and releases its rich flavored oil into the pot. Yum! It is Caribbean comfort food at its best. Traditionally it is the men who cook the oil down, but this time we all pitched in and helped. It is quite a production to make, with lots of peeling and chopping and grating, truly an all day event. So we gathered everyone together in the afternoon, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.

The first layer of the oil down is breadfruit, which is a giant green orb that you see hanging from the trees around Grenada. Although the consistency is nothing like a fruit at all, more like a potato. Go figure? Then there is a layer of seasoned meat; chicken and trotters and other pig parts (kind of gross looking, but added great flavor). Then a layer of pumpkin and carrot and
BreadfruitBreadfruitBreadfruit

Breadfruit, kind of like our potatoes, is the first layer.
taro root and green figs and okra go into the pot. Don’t forget the seasoning; a little allspice and turmeric and seven thyme and peppers. Top it all off with chopped callaloo (one of our favorite island veggies, similar to spinach). And finally it is time for the vital ingredient, fresh coconut milk. Yes, fresh homemade coconut milk. This labor intensive process starts with splitting the coconuts in half with a machete, then grating the flesh of the coconut into fine shreds, and finally squeezing out the milk. Whew! It’s hard work and took us hours to finish. But once it’s all done, the oil down is placed over an open fire and cooks for a couple of hours. And you know what that means, it’s time to lime. Pour yourself some rum, talk with the locals, and get your appetite ready for this feast extraordinaire!

The great thing about an oil down is that it makes enough food to feed the entire neighborhood and it really brings everyone together. Served piping hot from the cauldron, this delicious food is profuse with flavor. And incredibly filling! We had a great time making this national dish- it was quite an
LayersLayersLayers

Then you layer in the meat- chicken and pig parts.
experience!



Additional photos below
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GratingGrating
Grating

Grating all the coconuts and tumeric to make the "oil" apsect of the Oil Down.
Hard WorkHard Work
Hard Work

All hands on deck to help prepare the breadfruit for the oil down.
On The FireOn The Fire
On The Fire

After it all gets put together, you put the kettle on the fire.
Boil And BubbleBoil And Bubble
Boil And Bubble

The oil down cooks over an open fire for a couple of hours now, while everyone limes.
The Final ProductThe Final Product
The Final Product

The Oil Down is served piping hot, a classic Caribbean comfort food.
Yum!Yum!
Yum!

Jay enjoying the Oil Down.


7th October 2009

YUM
You Landlubbers - I thought you guys must be up on dry dock w/ Blog updates cranking out everyday ! Keep em coming.
7th October 2009

Reminds me of something back home..........
I love food blogs! I can't imagine cooking that much food. But it sure looks yummy to me. Thanks for blogging on this. Now I know what food to try when i get there.
7th October 2009

Would elk work?
Looks like a tasty dish. You can't go wrong with okra and sweet potatoes. I wonder what elk, quail, and pheasant would add? Love, Dad
8th October 2009

Hmm...Elk?
Don't know about elk and quail, but I guess it is worth a shot!

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