Monday, January 02, 2006

Jamaican Veggie Patties and Coco Bread

Way back in my pre-veg days when I went to school in Gainesville, Florida, I used to scarf down tons of Jamaican meat patties and veggie patties at a little take-out place called Caribbean Spice. For some reason, recently I had an epiphany and figured I should try to make something similar. I poked around the web, but couldn't find a good recipe for the veggie patties, though I did find recipes for the meat patties which gave me some ideas. The patties are often served with coco bread which is sort of a pocket bread and you can put the patty inside the bread and eat them both together. I swiped a recipe for coco bread from somewhere on-line and veganized it. When I made it, I didn't roll it out thin enough and it poofed up a little too much for easily putting the patty into, but I think I've remedied that in the recipe that follows. I'll probably continue tweaking the recipes, but here's how they stand now.

Coco Bread

2 packages active dry yeast
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. plain soy milk
1/4 c. soy yogurt
3 c. flour
2 Tbs. margarine, melted

Dissolve the yeast in the water, let it sit for a couple minutes, then mix in salt, sugar, soy milk and yogurt. Add flour and mix until it becomes stiff. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it around until it's well coated. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise for 1 hour.

Then remove dough from bowl, punch it down and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a large thin circle (8-10 inches). Brush with margarine and fold in half. Brush again with margarine and fold in half again so you end up with a quarter circle. Brush the top with a little more margarine and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pieces. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise again for 45-60 minutes. (You need to leave enough room between them so they can rise a little so it's best to use 2 sheet pans with 4 pieces on each pan.) Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until they're just the slightest bit brown on the bottom.

Veggie Patties

For the crust:
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 stick (1/2 c.) vegetable shortening
1/2 c. very cold water

For the filling:
1 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 head green cabbage, finely shredded
1 medium carrot, grated,
1/2 a medium green bell pepper, diced
2 small roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. allspice
pinch nutmeg

For the crust, sift together flour, salt, turmeric and curry powder in a large bowl. Cut shortening into small pieces and cut into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center and add water. Mix gently until a dough forms, then wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté cabbage, carrot and bell pepper in oil until they're starting to get tender. Add tomatoes, salt, and spices and cook for a few more minutes until tomatoes are starting to break down and any liquid has cooked off. Remove from heat and let cool a little.

To assemble patties, remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 10 equal portions (if you have a kitchen scale, they should be around 1.8 oz. each). On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Brush a little water around the edge of the circle and place about 3 Tbs. of filling in the middle. Fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork then gently pierce the center with the fork to allow steam to escape. Once all patties are assembled, bake on a lightly oiled sheet pan at 425° for 25 minutes or until they're just starting to brown a little.


Isa said...

Those patties look great!

Lee from Jamaica Travel and Culture .com said...

The veggie filling looks like a winner. I see you've used the all-important allspice seasoning for an authentic Jamaican taste. Thyme and scotch bonnet peppers are the other two big condiments in Jamaican cooking, I think these would work well with your other ingredients too.

Keep up the good work!


lara said...

wow! looks great.

Anonymous said...

I am a former Gator who also has been suffering a horrible jones for Caribbean Spice. I started scouring the internet looking for recipes. And here you are! Thank you!

Hey, how about you work on the carrot cake? That stuff was wonderful, too!

Chris said...

Hey anonymous - just noticed your comment. Glad I could help your jones. I know of a good carrot cake recipe that I haven't posted yet but did you ever get the bread pudding at Spice? I did post my recipe for that here.

Male Fashionista said...

I have been craving Caribean Spice lately. I grew up in Gainesville and lived off of this place and Taco Bell across the street. I used to live behind that taco bell.

Thanks for the recipe. Im giong to try them out.

tim said...

Good Job! :)

Jen said...

Also, a former Gator (well, always will be). I used to live right across from Caribbean Spice. Went there last year on the way through town-just for their coco bread. My co-worker just brought some coco bread and patties in and I had to find a recipe. Thanks you.

Bette in Orlando, FL said...

Thanks for the veggie pattie recipe. I haven't tried the ones at Caribbean Spice, but the ones sold at Caribbean Sunshine Bakery in Orlando are so good! The differences that I see immediately are there are no tomatoes in these and there is broccolli and corn in them. I wish I could get the recipe for the veggies as I would eat them without the pattie as they are so flavorful.

SET_EYE_GYAL said...

Hello, Great Recipe. I cant wait to try it. I have a question as of what kind of flour did you use for this recipe?

Chris said...

Just plain 'ol all purpose unbleached white flour.

Megan said...

Oh Yay, I'm very glad I found this. We are not vegan but we are Gators! We live 20 hours from Gainesville though and I'm craving some Carribbean Spice. I found your blog while searching "Caribbean Spice Gainesville Recipes" trying to find someone who emulated the amazing taste! Thanks.

Chris said...

Always glad to hear from those in the Gator Nation who miss the Spice just like I do!

Atheist Mama said...

These are seriously yummy!

I made a batch two days ago and they all got eaten in under 24 hours. I only had 3.

My (omni) hubby requested I make some more today, which I'm currently doing :D


Anonymous said...

I highly recommend the "veggie patties" (which are more like empanadas). I made a batch for my parents, who are not vegan, and they were blown away by how flavorful the filling was. My mom immediately asked for the recipe!

For those considering attempting this recipe, I would either halve the portions for the crust or double the filling. I ended up with exactly twice as much dough as I needed. Another consideration is that the crust comes out with a matte texture, so it wouldn't hurt to paint or drizzle a little oil on the surface for appearance.

These things were such a hit in my family, I can't wait to take them to potlucks and show them off to my friends! I'm thinking about making a smaller (i.e., bite-sized) hors d'oeuvres version the next time.

Tyler said...

I just made the coco bread and it seems very dry. Re-traced my steps and followed the recipe perfectly. I feel a 1/4 cup of grapesead oil added to the dough mixture may have helped make my dough more pliable in kneeding and less dry finished product.