Thursday, 8 November 2012


When asked what country are you on this week by friends, no one had ever heard of Suriname! Us included. A tiny country between Guyana and French Guiana, Suriname has a very rich and interesting cuisine - quite different from the rest of South America.  Suriname was a Dutch colony until the 1970's, and the Dutch brought Indonesian and East Indian laborers to work on their plantations. These workers made their favorite dishes with locally available ingredients. Their cooking gradually blended with the native and European dishes (there's Chinese influence too), and all of this together became modern Surinamese cuisine.
I found it slightly challenging to find something that I thought would be distinctive, yet different, considering the Indian influences; we had already "dined" in India.
And now, I have an extra challenge to our tour.....Shawn in no longer eating wheat!

The menu for this stop:

Goedangan (mixed vegetable salad with Coconut Dressing)
Surinamese Chicken Curry 
Bojo Cake (a Coconut and Cassava cake)

My Mom was on her way to visit from Toronto, so I asked her to bring me some Cassava; a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy, tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. .  Cassava, when dried to a starchy, powdery (or pearly) extract is called tapioca. Who knew?

Goedangan (adapted from

  • 1 small head of cabbage
    8 ounces green beans
    2 hard boiled eggs
    1 sliced cucumber
    1/3 cup coconut cream (I used the top part of a can of coconut milk, if you buy the Thai kitchen brand and don't shake it up, there is a thick cream at the top)
    1/2 cup plain  yogurt
    3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    1 small green chili pepper, like a jalepeƱo, very finely diced
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    Juice of 1 lime
    Pinch of salt

    Make the dressing: Whisk together the coconut cream and yogurt. Stir in the minced green chile (to desired spiciness), sugar, coriander, lime juice, and salt. Chill until ready to serve.
    Slice the cabbage into thin strips.
    Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
    Add the cabbage a to the boiling water and cook very briefly, for about 2 minutes.
    Drain cabbage and dump into ice water.
    Bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain green beans and add to the bowl of ice water.
    Drain cooked vegetables into a colander.
    Arrange vegetables on a platter with slices of hard boiled egg and cucumber slices. Drizzle with coconut dressing, and serve extra dressing on the side.

    I like to bake, and was delighted to find a dessert I could bake, that was also flourless! Bojo is a rich flourless cake made from grated coconut and cassava, that is flavored with rum and cinnamon.....and it will certainly be made in our kitchen again!

Bojo Cake

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • 1/2 pound peeled cassava (with woody center removed)
  • 2 cups grated coconut (fresh or dried)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Soak the raisins in the rum (overnight if possible).
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
  3. Butter a 9 inch round cake pan, or 9 inch square brownie pan, and line bottom of pan with  parchment.
  4. Finely grate the manioc root (easily done in a food processor). Stir the coconut and grated manioc root together with the cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. 
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. 
  6. Stir the liquid ingredients into the coconut mixture. Stir in the melted butter. Stir in the raisins and the rum. 
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown on top. 
  9. Run a knife around the edge of the pan while the cake is still warm, then let cool in the pan. 
  10. Cut into small squares or slices and serve. This cake is delicious warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped cream.

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