Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week we find ourselves back in South America, in a country I had never heard of before. Suriname is a small, tropical rain forest country that borders northern Brazil. Suriname is the only sovereign nation outside Europe where Dutch is the official and prevailing language of government, business, media, and education. Suriname is also considered within the culture of the Caribbean. It is evident that Suriname presents a complex and diverse heritage, which we hope will be highlighted in the food.
The national dish of Suriname is Pom, a traditional chicken and root vegetable casserole. This will be our first casserole of our country challenge. According to this list by TasteAtlas, Pom is the number one dish in Suriname. This is a really interesting article by International Cuisine about the history of Pom in Suriname. We went back to our trusty pals at 196 Flavors for the perfect and easy-to-follow Pom recipe:
Preparing Pom is not a quick venture, but it is enjoyable. This meal took over 4 hours altogether and was a two-person job. We started by chopping everything up and cooking our chicken and vegetables on the stovetop. The recipe suggests you peel the tomatoes– that was way too tedious for me so I skipped that step. There were surprisingly few spices involved in this recipe; only nutmeg, salt, and pepper for added flavour.
While everything simmered, we used a blender to grate our parsnips. We had to use parsnips as pomtajer/taro root was not available in our area. According to Google, parsnips are a good substitute for taro root. We greased the pan, spread the parsnip crust mixture, poured in our chicken and veg, and topped it with more parsnip crust and some slices of butter. Pom bakes for two hours and we waited very (im)patiently.
Our casserole crisped up perfectly. The smell throughout the house was amazing. We served it up and enjoyed with cold beer. The texture and consistency was awesome and the flavours were mostly enjoyable. We found the citrus to be overwhelming and a little bitter. Otherwise, this was a really enjoyable meal and we bet the leftovers will be even better.
Happy eating!! See you next week!