By: Derline Pierre-Louis, Guest Blogger
Reading about sauce pwa congo took me back to living at home with mom. Sunday after church, the table would display two or three whole fish, fried or cooked in sauce, a fresh cooked beet, watercress, fresh cooked carrot salad, a glass bowl of white rice, which can be eaten on its own, sauce pwa congo with coconut milk-depending if we were having guests and they did not eat coconut milk in their sauce pwa and of course juice made from either corosol, papaya, or mango or limes to name a few.
All from her garden in the backyard or bought from a Haitian or Latin market. The food was tasty, of course, but fresh, not from a can. You know how long it take to cook fresh pwa congo from the tree or dried pwa congo from a bag? Thank you for this trip back to salivating memory taste bud trip.
Pwa congo is pigeon peas. Green peas is pwa france or pwa vet. Pwa france/vet is sweet so we'd soak it in salt water to reduce the sweetness, and it can make it's own sauce or is sometimes mixed with pwa congo because pwa congo is more expensive, so to stretch it, green peas would be added. However, when cooking pwa france/vet with rice, it doesn't need to be soaked in salt water, as the water cooking the peas and rice has salt and that reduces the sweetness.
It's the same concept with Lalo and spinach. Lalo is a different green from spinach and has a different texture and preparing it can be tricky. If not cooked properly, it can become slimmy like overcooked okra (kalaloo). People form L'Artibonite are experts in this dish. When you see Lalo sold in restaurants, it is usually mixed with spinach, to stretch it. It's not commonly found in the markets and are imported from Haiti. This information varies slightly or drastically depending on which part of Haiti you're from.
What is your favorite Sunday food memory in Haiti?