Haitian Potato Salad
When I was asked to cook a Hatian dish, my first moment of panic happened at the word “cook” and then again at the word “Hatian”. It’s not that I am incapable or incompetent when it comes to cooking, but being in a foreign country trying to use the different utensils, finding a kitchen and getting ingredients for a dish I had never made seemed like a large task. I eventually picked a potato dish that included carrots, green peppers, onions, and mayonnaise. It was actually a relief to find something so simple because it reminded me of a potato salad that I had tried a while back. Growing up, I had taken French classes all through elementary, middle and high school. Some of those classes were similar to this French class here at Daystar and I remember we did a unit about francophone countries around the globe. Some of those included France, Canada, Senegal, Haiti and Niger. I remember someone cooked a creole dish that also included potatoes and mayonnaise so when I found this recipe, I had to try it.
The process was easy enough and I was able to get the help of a friend of mine to supply me with utensils in order to cook. I decided to switch up the recipe a little and instead of boiling the potatoes with the skin on, I peeled them, diced them and boiled them with the diced up carrots. I think it helped speed up the process because it only took about 8 minutes. I wasn’t able to find red bell pepper either so I had to leave that out of the recipe. It makes me wonder how much it would have changed the taste of the dish had I included them. I’m not sure if the salad was supposed to be served warm, but to me, potato salad has always been cold so I made the decision to simply put the salad in the fridge over night and put the mayonnaise on it in the morning so as not to let the mayo get sour.
The next morning, I opened the fridge and could smell the onions even from outside the closed container which was what I was aiming for. I had hoped that making the dish the night before and letting the ingredients sit and let the onions seep into the rest of the dish would help enhance the flavor, which I think it did. Overall, I was really proud of my first attempt at cooking a Haitian dish here in Kenya and I look forward to the next opportunity we have to cook for the class.