This is a recipe that I am publishing for all my brothers and sisters in the Strength Sport community. It is a tasty method of injecting a tasty, highly nutritional component into your rice, stews, sauces and other recipes.
What follows is a personal observation regarding the value of eating 100 percent organic. Please jump to the next non-italicized paragraph if you just want the recipe.
When I was a young child to teenager going back and forth from the Caribbean to the US, it was the period just before (and the beginning of) the Obesity epidemic in the States. There just weren’t that many overweight people when I was a kid. My early to late teen years coincided with the paradigm shift in food production in the US and consequent rise in obesity. I remember coming back to the US – every year or two – and literally noticing a greater percentage of obesity with each trip. Meanwhile back in my “home” country of Haiti, most people had a hard enough time eating every day much less worry about getting fat. Amongst the vast majority of the population, having sufficient resources to fatten up would have been very welcome indeed. Yet even amongst the upper classes (who were often fantastically wealthy) obesity was a rarity.
So people were generally slim and, furthermore, I remember noticing that younger adults who did manual labor (peasant farmers, construction workers, etc) were often incredibly ripped. Those men and women could have made a fortune on Instragram had they been born a generation later. The phenomenon that foreign adults remarked on most frequently was a huge increase in libido (I was a teenager couldn’t notice a difference as my libido was already in the stratosphere). The Caribbean was (and remains) a place were some people’s marriages went to die. The often heard remark is that “there must be something in the water”. Close, but no Monte Cristo. My thesis that everyone was (and in the poorer more rural parts of the country, still is) eating 100 percent organic produce, meat and dairy. We did this not because organic, local produce was a thing back then. Big chain stores and processed foods were rare. You bought most of your food in the outdoor market from peasant farmers. You ate lots of fruit and vegetables, ate meat and fish occasionally (it was expensive). You also get a lot of sun and therefore aren’t deficient in Vitamin D. Basically, if you ate this diet in sufficient quantity (not too much or too little) it’s like being physically turbocharged. You are firing on all cylinders. Epis or Sofrito is the perfect example – it combines all of the proven health benefits of garlic, ginger, hot peppers, green herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc.), cloves, onions and more. A friend of mine eats a few spoon-fulls, uncooked, instead of taking vitamins. It’s hard to think of a better, more bio-available way of getting quite a few vitamins and minerals in one go.
The base of much of Caribbean cuisine is “sofrito” or “epis” (as it’s referred to in Haiti). I think the best possible translation in English is probably “wet spice”. This preparation can be used in just about anything but especially in rice, marinades, sauces and stews. There are many different variations depending upon the eventual recipe. I whip up a batch of sofrito/epis at least once a week. The components vary, but for me the back bone of any “sofrito/epis” is the fresh garlic and ginger. I make a special effort to make my epis/sofrito as jam-packed as possible with various nutrients. In case you were wondering, it tastes amazing. Below are the components of my current epis\sofrito recipe:
NB: All components of this recipe should be sourced organically for the reasons I alluded to above.
Fresh Garlic, peeled (this should be one of the building blocks. The amount is up to you depending on the eventual quantity. )
Fresh Ginger, peeled (If at all possible not from China)
Fresh Curcuma , peeled – also you may want to wear some gloves when peeling and cutting, as it stains quite a bit. This is not traditional, but I like to add it for the color and health benefits.
Onions and/or shallots
Habanero or Scotch Bonnet Peppers – OK, this depends on how much heat you like. I live in Europe where the Habanero come from either Kenya or the Netherlands – they are weak AF. If I used 2 Habanero from the Caribbean or the Yucatan in my recipe, I’d be crying. For now, however, 2 from my current sources provide a decent amount of kick. Also, as with the Curcuma, keep the gloves on while handling these. Anybody who has every cut Habaneros without gloves and then gone to the bathroom shortly thereafter can tell you why.
Bell pepper (partial) – for color and fiber
Cloves, 2 or 3 should do it.
Fresh cilantro and parsley
True sea salt (no additives).
Apple cider vinegar or lime juice
A bit of water.
Put all of these ingredients in a food processor and mix to the consistency you see in the picture. You will have to be the judge regarding the essential components and the liquids, but that is actually quite fun. In most cases, sauté this mixture in a bit of coconut oil before adding it to the rice, quinoa, stews or whatever. Note that depending on the recipe some people may add tomatoes or what have you. This an infinitely adaptable recipe.
Pro Tip – for the best and quickest Guacamole recipe known to mankind, add sofrito/epis and peeled avocado halves in a bowl. Thoroughly mix/crush with a fork until you achieve the required consistency. You may want to add a pinch of sea salt to taste.