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Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

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Sahina, batter-dipped greens filled with ground split peas, are often sold along with Doubles for breakfast. The traditional recipe makes use of dasheen/taro leaves, which are available in Caribbean markets, but you can substitute collard greens, which are about the same width and consistency if a little more bitter. More tender kale provides a lovely variation as well.


  • 6 large dasheen/taro, collard, or kale leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ΒΌ cup Phoulourie batter
  • Kitchen twine


  1. Wash the leaves with the lime juice being careful not to tear them and set aside.
  2. Cook the split peas in 6 cups of water for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Drain and grind in a food processor to a coarse meal about the consistency of couscous.
  3. Pulse in the garlic, onion, turmeric, scallion, flour, salt, and black pepper. Slowly add enough water to make an easily spreadable paste.
  4. Spread 4 tablespoons of the paste over each leaf, then sandwich 2 leaves together, paste sides facing. Roll the leaves into a long cylinder and tie firmly at both ends with kitchen twine, taking care not to tear the leaves.
  5. Place a steamer basket or colander in a large pot, and add water to the base. (The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer basket.) Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Place the sahina in the steamer basket or colander and cover the pot. Steam for 15 minutes. Remove the rolls and cool. Once cool, slice the sahina into 1-inch rounds.
  6. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or saucepan. Dip the sahina rounds in the phoulourie batter and drop into the hot oil in batches. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels or a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Serve hot.

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