Pumpkin Fritters from Chef Dezi Banhan at Antigua’s Hermitage Bay
Traditional Caribbean cooking uses pumpkin in some extraordinary ways. In this region, pumpkin is not just something to decorate for Halloween, nor is it something from a can to spice up a Thanksgiving pie. This gourd-like squash is delicious as well as nutritious, loaded with the antioxidant, beta carotene.
This week’s Top Caribbean Chef recipe for Pumpkin Fritters comes to us from the ultra luxurious, all inclusive resort, Hermitage Bay on the beautiful island of Antigua. Hermitage Bay prides itself on serving fresh, local and organic ingredients incorporating a Caribbean and European cuisine. Guests are introduced to indigenous fruits, innovative cooking techniques for local seafood, delicious vegetarian options and premium cuts of meat.
Photo: Romantic ocean view from Hermitage Bay restaurant
Jamaican born Verman “Dezi” Banhan, the Executive Chef for Hermitage Bay since its opening in 2006, has gained a reputation both in Antigua and throughout the Caribbean for his innovative techniques in blending the exotic flavors of the islands. His past Caribbean experience includes The Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, Jamaica, and Carlisle Bay, Antigua. Several years experience in island hospitality afforded him the knowledge and expertise to take on his own kitchen at Hermitage Bay. He returned to his Caribbean roots to provide guests “with the essence of family dinners prepared by my mother and grandmother,” says Chef Dezi. “It is all about love for food and each other. I try to instill in my staff to always view the guests we serve as family.”
Chef Banhan’s menus, which change daily, reflect eclectic cuisine using the highest quality local ingredients. Some example dishes include Bacon wrapped scallop with mashed eddoes and vegetable ribbons and Antiguan cockle linguine in white wine and tomato sauce. The chef and his team fish the cockles directly from a pond near the property. They also visit the local fishermen every morning to ensure they receive the freshest products on the island to serve guests.
Hermitage Bay’s open aired restaurant is located in front of the long sweeping beach. All meals are offered a la carte in the restaurant or can be served around the pool, bar or on the beach. The dinner menu changes daily to ensure the quality of cuisine available on the island each day. Hermitage Bay’s all inclusive rates include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, hors d'oeuvres at cocktail time and dinner, together with a choice of several excellent house wines and all beverages, including premium branded drinks.
Meat of the pumpkin with seeds
Chef Banhan prepares this Pumpkin Fritter recipe for a hot breakfast, but it sounds like a delicious dish for any time of the day.
4 oz shredded pumpkin (cooked 4 minutes and drained)
8 oz flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 oz brown sugar
pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
¾ - 1 cup milk
Sift all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and make hole in middle. Add egg and milk to middle and mix into the dry ingredients. Add extra milk if mixture is too dry. After the batter is ready, fold in the drained pumpkin.
Heat a thin film of oil in pan and spoon 1tbs of the batter into the oil. Fry until golden on both sides. The fritter should be light and fluffy.
Serve with maple syrup or honey
This Top Caribbean Chef sure knows how to start the day! Thanks for sharing with us Chef Dezi.
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Photos courtesy of Hermitage Bay and sxc.hu/rayudu238