Now, around the Caribbean this delicacy goes by several different names. In St. Lucia, they call it Pair-Me, Antigua- Ducana, Jamaica- Blue Draws (I have no idea why it got this name), and I’ve seen other names like Pemmi, Ayaka, Pastelles, Arepas and the list continues, but here in St. Kitts- Nevis (and also in Barbados) its affectionately called CONKIE!
In our sweet twin island paradise, this treat is particulary famous around Easter time and is the envy of those living in the diaspora without a grandmother or aunt who knows the recipe.
The recipe which includes grated sweet potato, grated pumpkin and grated coconut (Phew! I’m tired just thinking about all that work!) is a labour of love.. well according to my mother, and from MY experience, requires a
craftsman craftswoman of experience to get it done correctly.
So for those of us, who are clueless as to how this recipe is made, and who would like to have it more often than ONE time of year, here is a video (1 of about 3 I found on youtube) on how to make conkie.
Disclaimer: Because of the lack of options, I had to opt for this Bajan video. Bajans enjoy conkies around the time of their independence. There is no voice explaining but the visuals are quite clear. Below I will include a written recipe to go along with the video. Say thank you.
- 1large dried coconut, grated
- 3⁄4lb grated pumpkin
- 1⁄2lb grated sweet potato
- 3⁄4lb brown sugar
- 1teaspoon nutmeg
- 1teaspoon almond essence
- 4ounces raisons
- 1cup flour
- 2cups cornflour or 2 cups cornmeal
- 1teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 6 oz melted butter or margarine
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 egg (beaten)
Mix the coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato, sugar, spices, raisins, flour, corn flour, and salt together in a large bowl.
Add the beaten egg, melted butter/margarine, and milk. Mix thoroughly by hand to combine. You should have a thick mixture that drops slowly from a spoon. Add more flour if the mixture is not thick enough; add a bit more milk if it is too thick.
Fresh green Banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap the conkie mixture. If you have these, strip leaves from stalk with a sharp knife then briefly singe them over an open flame to make them more pliable. Cut the leaves into individual 8″ squares.
Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the centre of the banana leaf. Fold the leaf around the mixture, taking care not to rip the leaf.
Steam the conkies on a rack over boiling water in a large saucepan for 1 hour or until they are firm.
Unwrap and enjoy!
- The Banana leaves can be substituted with wax paper or foil.