Haitian Chenchen!

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Hello friends and fellow foodies!

One thing that has caught my attention for some time now is the fact that even though Dominicans and Haitians share the island, the air and much of the culture, we know so very little about Haitian culinary culture.

I’ve had the privilege of always having at least a Haitian in all of my classes and I’ve made a point of trying to get them to share some traditional dishes.

Chenchén is a very traditional southern Dominican dish but Haitians also have their version. I had my Haitian students guide me in this endeavor. I have tried to keep the original spirit of the recipe as alive as possible, while, as usual, adding my own touch.

Haitian chenchen

Haitian chenchen

Haitian Chenchén is a very nutritious dish, maybe more than the Dominican version, because to the already rich corn they add beans. It’s also highly delicious. I mean, what can be bad about corn and beans?!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of chenchén corn.
  • 1 can of evaporated milk.
  • The milk of one coconut. (Or one can of coconut milk)
  • ¼ of the fiber of the coconut (if you actually used a real coconut of course)
  • 4 tbsps. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Anise
  • Salt to taste.

You can see how to make regular chenchén following the link. When the chenchén is ready for the oven just add the beans.

Haitian chenchen

Haitian chenchen

Ingredients for the beans.

  • ½ lb. Red beans (Haitians generally use black beans) previously tendered. (Unless you’re using canned beans, in which case you don’t need to)
  • 1 red onion.
  • 1 cubanela pepper.
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic paste (natural)
  • 1 tbsp. Tomato paste.
  • 1 stalk of celery.
  • Cilantro and cilantrico. (coriander)
  • 1 bouillon cube (optional)
  • Salt.

Preparing the stewed beans.

Haitians stew their beans slightly different than Dominicans. Dominicans generally use more water while Haitians like to add water only to cover the beans and keep adding as the beans consume it. Interestingly enough, the Haitian way allows for a faster cooking of the beans.

So, stir fry your ingredients, add the beans and enough water to just cover the beans and keep adding water as it needs it until tender. Once ready, set apart.

Preparing the Haitian chenchen

Now we go back to the point in which the chenchén was ready to go in the oven. That’s when you add the beans, mix and allow to continue to cook together for a few minutes.

Then put in the oven until you have the desired consistency.

Hope you enjoy your Haitian chenchén as much as we did.

A big hug from the warm Caribbean in which the island shared by Dominicans and Haitians deliciously simmers.

Arturo

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About Arturo Féliz-Camilo

Escritor. Consultor. Historiador. Cocinero tradicional Dominicano. (Writer. Consultant. Historian. Dominican traditional food cook)
This entry was posted in From the culinary lab, International food and Inventions, Traditional Dominican Food, Vegetarian, Vegetarian - Lactoovovegetarian, Vegetarian - Lactovegetarian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Haitian Chenchen!

  1. Amber says:

    Chenchén sounds quite delicious! Thanks for elucidating the differences by region. I learned so much from this post!

  2. Karen says:

    I have visited both countries…one island shared by the two but such different cultures. One thing that is the same is the warmth of the people.

  3. It’s very trouble-free to find out any topic on web as compared to books, as I found this article at this web site.

  4. aviard says:

    You would be shocked how much overlap there is. I’m Haitian-American and I adore Dominican food, mostly because it so much like Haitian and vice versa. Depending on the cook and the style it can be EXACTLY the same or completely different. Its quite amazing. I hope you have the chance to experience more. I remember how excited I was when I found out you guys call Manba Manba lol I haven’t had the Dominican one but I imagine its close or the same. And Casabe=Kasav.

    • How cool is that? I’m pure Dominican and always have a hard time finding original Haitian recipes. I have a lot of Haitian students, which is how I got some recipes. It’s always exciting. Last year I was in NYC and I saw a Jamaican restaurant. When I bought the food it was almost exactly a northeastern Dominican dish, so I completely get your feeling with Dominican and Haitian food! Thanks for sharing! A big hug!

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