Caribbean Cookbook: Divali in Trinidad

November 2, 2013


These make amazing appetizers served with your favorite chutneys. In Trinidad, we use dasheen leaves (no stems), but feel free to use spinach if the former is unavailable.

1/2 cup ground split peas powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon roasted geera powder (cumin)
1/4 teaspoon amchar massala (optional)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (aka saffron on the islands)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch spinach or ‘dasheen’ leaves (if using spinach, blanche it with the 1 3/4 cups boiling water, then set it aside to cool for later use )
2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying


1. Cut spinach leaves as finely as possible. Blanche, squeeze dry and set aside.

2. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together

3. Add spinach and water from blanching. Mix until smooth and set aside for two (2) hours. In this time, the yeast and baking powder will cause the mixture to rise to almost double its size.

4. Once mixture is ready, heat oil in a deep pot or pan on medium heat. When oil is boiling scoop out portions of the mixture (traditionally this is done with hands but you can use a spoon), size dependent on how big you wish your saheena to be, and drop them into the oil.

5. Let fry for 4-5 mins and remove from pot. Allow excess oil to drain off and then let your saheena cool.

6. Serve with your favourite chutneys (spicy, savoury or sweet).