Fresh Culantro Leaves aka “shado beni” ( bundle)
known in Jamaica as spiritweed, MAKE Caribbean herb, green seasoning
Widely used as a seasoning in Thailand, India, Vietnam, the caribbean and other parts of Asia. The thick Ngo Gai leaves retain color and flavor very well when dried. The leaves and roots are most typically added to stews, soups, marinades, and other sauces or chutneys. An important ingredient in sofrito.
- Greant for ,
- Trinidad green seasoning
- making Sofrito,
- meats ,soups ,eggs and more.
- Trinidad Green Seasoning
Widely used as a seasoning in Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia. The thick Ngo Gai leaves retain color and flavor very well when dried. The leaves and roots are most typically added to stews, soups, marinades, and other sauces or chutneys. An important ingredient in sofrito.
Culantro is an herb that has a similar aroma and flavor to cilantro, but they are not the same plant. It has long, serrated leaves and looks a bit like long-leafed lettuce. Culantro has a stronger flavor than cilantro and is therefore used in smaller amounts. Unlike cilantro, it can be added during cooking rather than afterward. You will find culantro specified in recipes for dishes from the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Asia.
Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) grows similar to lettuce, with leaves around a central rosette. At the peak of its growth, a culantro plant can be 1 foot tall and the leaves as much as 2 inches wide, and it will produce a blue flower if permitted to bolt. Culantro is a member Apiaceae family, which includes carrots, celery, parsley, and parsnip. Culantro is used as both a culinary and medicinal herb. In food, the leaves are often added during cooking because it has a very strong flavor and aroma, which diminishes nicely under heat.
TRINIDAD GREEN SEASONING RECIPE
The one key ingredient when it comes to cooking any meat or fish dish in the Caribbean, is the green seasoning mix that’s used in the marinating process.
There are several variations of this seasoning mix, but this is one that I’ve tested and perfected over the years.
1 bundle of Culantro aka “shado beni” (about 1-2 cups)
1 stalk of celery (include leaves if you have it)
1 head or garlic (about 11 cloves)
4 green onions (scallions)
1 bunch of fresh thyme (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup of water
pinch of salt (optional)
2-3 shallots or onion (optional)
2 pimento peppers (1 banana pepper or 1 Cubanelle)
*Food processor or blender.
Peel, trim and wash the ingredients and let drain.
Then rough-cut into smaller pieces so it’s easier to manage and work in the blender or food processor.
Add all the ingredients into your food processor or as in my case, a blender including the water. You may be required to move around or push down the ingredients occasionally so it all gets worked by the blades.
Personally I like to liquify my blend to the consistency of pesto or even a bit more liquid. However you have the choice at this point to make a bit more chunky-like if you wish.
After a few pulse actions you’ll find that everything blends together quite easily. Here’s a picture of the finished green seasoning :
From this batch I have a plastic container that I pour half into and keep in the fridge for everyday use, the other half I pour into a freezer zip lock bag and freeze until I get through the batch in the fridge. Since you probably won’t be using the seasoning as much as I do, I suggest you divide it into 3-4 portions, keeping 1 in the fridge (can last for 2-3 months) and freeze the rest.
You can also get a ice cube trays and fill each ice cube area 1/4 up with the seasoning mix and then freeze. Then when it’s frozen, you can dump the cubes into a freezer bag and place back in the freezer. Now whenever you’re cooking, all you have to do is grab a cube and use.
You’ll notice that after time the once brilliant green color will go darker, don;t be alarmed. That’s natural!
Culantro is used as both a culinary and medicinal herb. In food, it is often added during cooking because it has a very strong flavor and aroma, which diminishes nicely under heat. Medicinally, culantro is known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Differences Between Culantro and Cilantro
Culantro is a completely different plant from cilantro. The two are botanical cousins (though not in the same genus) and look nothing alike, so it's easy to differentiate them by appearance.