This recipe was prepared by Immacula Cadet during the 2013 Ghetto Biennial. Tchaka is traditionally prepared for the Vodoun god of agriculture, Azaka. The recipe was used as a framework to present the collisions between US food policy and Haitian experience, which can be read here.


1 green onion

3 cups dried yellow corn, broken into large pieces

1 tsp of baking soda

3 cups Barlotti beans

1 pie pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into fist size pieces

1 coconut, cracked, removed from shell and finely shredded

1 lb lardons cut into large cubes.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

6 T rock salt

3 habanero chilis

1/3 cup vegetable oil plus 2 T for Boy

Small bunch of parsley tied with several sprigs of thyme

4 T butter

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 cups flour

1 lemon


Fill a stock pot 1/3 full of water and place over medium heat. Add the whole green onion and bring to a boil. Wash broken corn and add to the water along with baking soda. Add enough water to fill two thirds of the pot, bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 50 minutes until corn is al-dente. Wash beans and add to stock pot. Return liquid to a soft boil and cook for an additional 40 minutes. Add pumpkin, lardons and garlic continue cooking covered for 40 minutes. By this time, the liquid should have reduced so that the pot is half full.

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 into the stock pot through a fine meshed strainer, squeezing the meat to extract as much liquid as possible. Repeat this process using two cups of water for each of the following extractions until the pot is three quarters full. Return to boil.

Add 3 T of rock salt, oil, 3 habaneros, and the bundle of parsley and thyme. By this time the beans should be tender. Remove the squash to a separate bowl and mash with a large wooden pestle until smooth. Add 10 ladle fulls of broth from the simmering soup. Integrate the liquid fully into the pumpkin mash. Pour thinned pumpkin mash through a fine mesh strainer into the soup, working the meat to extract the fine pulp. Return pumpkin pulp to the bowl and add several more ladle fulls of broth, working the pulp to extract as much soft material as you can. Strain into pot, working the soft material through the strainer. Discard pumpkin solids. Add 2 T butter and chicken bouillon cubes. Continue cooking while Boy are made.

Make Boi dumplings by dissolving 1 T rock salt into 1 cup of water. Work the flour together with 2 T butter and 2 T of oil until combined. Add salted water and knead dough until fully integrated. Roll the dough in your palms to form dumplings that are the length of a finger and twice as wide. Drop into the soup and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Just before serving, add juice from one lemon.

Ingredients for this meal were sourced at the historic Iron Market
Drawing by Lee Lee

Create a website or blog at