Diri Djon Djon

This Haitian Creole dish uses Congo Beans which were brought from Africa and remain an important nourishing connection to the land of the Haitian ancestors. ‘Djon Djon’ are a kind of black mushroom that gorws wild in the Haitian hills. Djon Djon boullion cubes may be found or ordered from Caribbean markets. The preparation comes from Rose Marie Paul, who prepared it during a ceremony in Lakou Eugene of the Atis Rezistans during the Ghetto Biennial. We served it with Poulet Legumes


2 habanero chilis, stem removed but seeds in tact

1 green onion, white and green parts, cut into 1″ segments

5 cloves of garlic

1 chicken bouillon cube

1/2 cup tomato paste

5 cloves

1 cup vegetable oil

3 fresh tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges each

2 cups fresh Congo beans, shelled

1/2 fresh coconut: meat extracted and finely grated

3 T tiny dried shrimps

2 T butter

3 lbs djon djon (black mushrooms found in Caribbean markets) or 3 condensed djon djon bouillon cubes

1/2 green bell pepper, finely sliced

Whole sprig of thyme

Small bunch of parsley

3 T rock salt to taste

2 cups rice, picked through and washed


In a large wooden mortar and pestle, pound one habanero, green onion, garlic, chicken bouillon cube and cloves until a rough paste forms. Add tomato paste and mash to combine. Heat oil in large pot. When hot, add paste until fragrant. Add fresh tomatoes and Congo beans, stir and let simmer partially covered for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make coconut milk by adding 2 cups of water to shredded coconut. Massage the meat through your fingers, extracting the milk from the coconut. Strain the liquid through a fine meshed strainer, squeezing the meat to extract as much liquid as possible. Repeat this process two more times, using one cup of water each of the following extractions. Add coconut milk, tiny shrimps, butter, djon djon, green pepper, one whole habanero, parsley, thyme and salt to the Congo beans. Cover and bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add rice, stir, cover and bring to a boil slowly. After about 15 minutes, stir again. Rice is ready when all the liquid has been absorbed. Serve with Poulet Legumes.

Woodblock prints of a dry goods vendor at the local market. This printmaking media was chosen to honor the community of woodworker craftsmen who inhabit the Grand Rue area and work alongside the Atis Rezistans.

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