I refer to them as hand pies because they are eaten out of hand. Trinis call them pies, but Jamaicans and people in the other islands call them patties. I guess the Brit patty or paddy was “islandised” to patties. There are so many ways of making pies and the fillings stuffed into the pastry, it all depends on your personal taste as well as the ingredients you have available to you.
We Trinis like our aloo (potato) pies long and thin. I’ve been discovering lately that there’s a lot less potato and a lot more dough in the pies these days as vendors try to make as much money using as little ingredients as possible. I’ve never been a fan of beef pies because I’m not that much of a trusting soul as to how fresh the meat is or if it’s really beef and fish pies sometimes have bones to deal with.
Doubles vendors usually sell pies as well and both these foods are cheap and filling although the doubles are getting smaller and the pies have less aloo. These are still quick meals that everyone regardless of financial status or social standing seem to enjoy especially on early mornings on the way to work. Just make sure you don’t spill any of the sauce on your shirt, blouse or necktie.
The most popular of the pies is the aloo pie as these are not expensive and fills one’s tummy as good as anything else. Potato with cheese is also nice, but a cheese pie is simply exquisite, once its not too spicy as one won’t want to be burping during an early morning meeting.
Pies can be downsized for cocktail parties and limes or enlarged to make a family meal. We grow a lot of different veggies so I experiment with combinations of flavours. Every few months I try to supply my household with a variety of pies and that permits me and my kitchen some down time. I try to do a few dozen different than what can be easily found on the streets. You can also choose from a variety of dipping sauces such as tamarind, mango, or coconut chutney.
The same procedure is used when making dough for all the other pies
Ingredients: two cups of all purpose flour, one tsp baking powder, one cup of water, a dash of salt, one cup of vegetable oil for frying.
Method: Place flour in a medium bowl, add the baking powder and salt, Slowly add water and fold the flour in order to capture air (this will make the pie crust light) set aside. Take the flour mix and break it into small balls.
Let balls sit for fifteen minutes. And as you cook each filling take the dough balls and roll them out.
Spinach and feta cheese pie
This may have originated in Greece or Lebanon but I had it and loved it as a simple flavourful lunch.
Ingredients: half bunch of spinach with feta cheese, four ounces of feta cheese, one medium onion minced, and four cloves of garlic minced,
Wash the spinach and cut into one-inch pieces. In a skillet add one tsp of vegetable oil.
When hot add the garlic and onion, let cook for about one minute then add the spinach mix and cover under slow heat for twenty minutes.
When finished add the feta cheese and set aside to cool. Once this is finish you can add the spinach and feta cheese, place on the dough and fold so that there is no space for leaking.
Use a fork to press the sealed edge tightly’ In a medium skillet add the cup of vegetable oil bring to a boil and place the dough in, let cook for one minute and flip it to let it cook to golden brown on the other side.
Sweet potato and cheese pie
Ingredients: one pound sweet potato, one medium onion chopped small, two cloves garlic minced, one cup grated cheddar cheese.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into one-inch pieces, place the potato in a pot and cover with water, let cook for about fifteen minutes and drain.
Smash the potato and add the cheese, onion and garlic, mix well, you can use the oil from the spinach and feta cheese to cook this recipe or you can use fresh oil.
Again roll your dough and place the filling fold (you can add a dash of cumin for a spicy taste.) Heat the oil and add the place the dough gently so it does not splash and burn you. Let cook for one minute and flip and cook until golden brown.
Salt fish with vegetables
Ingredients: three ounces boneless salt fish with one medium sweet pepper finely chopped one medium onions minced tomato cut into small pieces and garlic minced. In a regular size bowl add all the ingredients. Use your hands so that the salt fish is well worked in with the other Ingredients. Roll your dough and add some of the filling, fold when filling do about five so that they can all go into the skillet with the hot oil. Again cook for one minute on either side and remove and set to cool.
Pak choy and chicken
Ingredients: One head of pak choy washed and chopped finely, half pound of chicken breast skinned and seasoned with salt and pepper, one medium onion minced, three leaves of chadon beni, four cloves of garlic minced, and one seasoning pepper. In a small pot add one cup of water bring to a boil, add the chicken breast cover and let cook for twenty minutes.
When finished remove and strip into small pieces. In a medium pot add one tsp of vegetable oil. When hot add all the other ingredients, cover reduce heat and let cook for fifteen minutes. Add the chicken pieces and mix well.
Like the other recipes roll out your dough and add the filling. Again roll your dough and place the filling fold. Always use a fork to press and seal the open edge. Heat the oil and add the place the dough gently so it does not splash on you. Let cook for one minute and flip and cook until golden brown.