No, that is not a misprint in the headline. “Ital” means “Vital” in Rastafarian on the island of Jamaica.
The Rasta religion has become notable over the past thirty years after having originated in Africa
during the 1930’s. Today it symbolizes the reggae culture throughout the world and it is still revered
among Jamaicans living in poverty.
Rasta is not so much a religion as it is a way of life. Rastafarians are deeply involved with issues
throughout the world including poverty, oppression and tyranny. Much of the Rastafarian faith centers
around smoking marijuana or “Ganja” as a means of communicating with God.
And as in any culture, Rastafarians translate their beliefs into their cooking.
Ital cuisine is exactly how it translates from Rastafarian. Essential food that ignores salt, anything
artificial or additives and meat. It is a culinary skill that uses traditional technique with only available
Key ingredients include coconut and coconut milk, Scotch bonnet (Habanero) peppers, allspice, herbs
such as thyme and any fresh organic fruit and vegetables. Seafood and grains are also prevalent in
Rasta Pasta, a term that has come to describe Rasta cuisine. Ya Mon. Most grains are corn or flour
based making the Ital chef the Bossa of the Masa in the Rasta kitchen.
Here are a few simple Ital recipes.
Dreadlocks Camarones ala Diabla
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
½ Cup Red Onion, Diced
2 Cups Semolina Orzo
16 Oz. Coconut Milk
1 Tbs. Jamaican Jerk Rub
14 Oz. Fresh Tomatoes, Seeded and Diced
¼ Cup Green Bell Pepper, Diced
1 Habanero Pepper, Seeded and Minced
½ Cup Black Beans, Soaked
½ Lb. Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined
1 Scallion, Sliced
Sauté the garlic in olive oil in a large Dutch oven for 1 minute. Add the onions and sauté until soft. Add
the pasta, stir well and throw in the coconut milk and jerk spice. Simmer with lid on for 15 minutes,
stirring and then add the tomatoes. Simmer 1-2 minutes and add peppers. Stir in the black beans and
shrimp and cook until shrimps are pink.
Garnish with scallion and serve,
4 Plantains, Roasted Sliced
2 Cups Red Beans, Cooked
2 Cups Black-eyed Peas, Cooked & Chilled
1Tbs. Rosemary, Chopped
1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme, Chopped
1 Red Onion, Diced 1 Red Pepper, Diced
1 Yellow Pepper, Diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
1 Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
1 Bunch Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Tbs. Chili Paste
Serve on a bed of wild greens. Garnish with raisins, toasted pecans, and shredded coconut.
Keep jamming Mon.