In the so called “New World”, the meeting of native Americans, Spanish explorers and enslaved Africans created a dynamic and delicious cuisine. The main crops native to the Americas were yucca (cassava), corn, sweet potato and yautia (taro root). Foods introduced by the Spanish were chickpeas, cilantro, eggplant, onions and garlic. Africans brought important foods and cooking techniques. The most significant were pigeon peas, black-eyed peas, plantain, yams and okra. Their favorite cooking technique was frying which became the most popular way to cook many entrees and snacks.
Listed below are some of my favorite snacks/street foods. I will provide the recipes so you can create these tasty treats in your own kitchen.
Acarra I was introduced to this snack by a friend from Bahia, Brazil. A spicy fritter made of ground black-eyed peas originated in west Africa. http://themessyepicure.com/2010/09/19/black-eyed-pea-fritters-akara/
Alcapurria Savory ground beef tucked inside a masa (dough) made of green plantain and yautia (tarro root), fried until golden and crispy. A signature snack (cuchifrito) from Puerto Rico.
Beef/Vegetable Patties This tasty snack is available all over the island of Jamaica and throughout the U.S. wherever Jamaicans reside. A light, crispy crust, filled with either a spicy meat or vegetables, is baked to a golden brown.
Sudanese Babaghanoush (egg plant dip) What makes this different from the babaghanoush you may have eaten in an Egyptian or Lebanese restaurant is the use of tomato paste and ground peanuts instead of tahini paste.