By Chris De La Rosa
While most chokas are meant to be as spicy as you can tolerate and very basic, it 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.
1 medium eggplant
2 large tomatoes
2 Cubanelle peppers
8-10 scotch bonnet peppers
1 head garlic
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 the vegetables, you can certainly do this in a very-high heat, 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 — something my great grandmother and her ancestors would traditionally use to grill and cook on — to grill everything.
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 one 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.
This recipe is courtesy of Gourmand Award winning cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot.com, Chris De La Rosa. With over 450 printable recipes with step by step cooking instructions and demo videos, PLUS over 1 million social/fan connections globally every month, CaribbeanPot.com is the world’s #1 resource of Caribbean Culinary Culture. Connect with Chis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caribbeanpot/.