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.
Antigua and Barbuda is an island nation in the Caribbean. Their capital city shares the same name as the capital city of my home province: St. John’s. Like many Caribbean countries, their economy relies on tourism– beach vacations and scuba diving excursions. Check out this local’s travel guide, which also highlights today’s dish:
This week, the national dish of our nation contained ingredients not available in Northern Alberta. I dug in to do a bit more research and found a popular dish that sounded really interesting in both the ingredients and the method of preparation. Ducana is a common side dish in Antigua and Barbuda made from fresh coconut and sweet potato. Ducana is ranked #2 on this list by Carnival and this list by TasteAtlas, #5 on this list by TripSavvy, and highlighted on this post by Sandals, this post by Travel Noire, this article by Visit Antigua and Barbuda, and this article by Antigua-Barbuda.org.
We followed this recipe by Tara’s Multicultural Table:
I’d never cooked with fresh coconut before, let alone open one myself. I’ve seen it done on Caribbean beaches for Pina Coladas, but to do it ourselves we had to check in with a YouTube tutorial:
Once we got it cracked open, we drank the juice and shredded the flesh.
Next, we combined all the ingredients, rolled them into parchment paper (because we didn’t have banana leaves), wrapped them in tin foil, and dropped them in boiling water. It should’ve only taken 30-45 minutes, but after 45, ours were still really mushy so we left them for 30 minutes more.
When our Ducana came out of the pot, it smelled delicious. We let them cool for a few minutes and then dug in. They were way too sweet. The flavour was good and I really liked the combination of sweet potato and coconut, but this dish definitely did not need sugar. Our Ducana was more of a dessert than a side dish, and I was only able to eat one of my two before it became too rich to stomach. That said, I really enjoyed it with some whipped cream 🙂
We wouldn’t make these again, but they were fun to make. Stay tuned for next week, a country I had never heard of!