No actual figs involved – fig is a common term for bananas in Trinidad. I first thought that maybe this was a recipe for plantains, since it’s a cooked curry, but nope, the dish is unripe bananas, in a curry with coconut and salt cod. The recipe is sometimes called “green fig talkari” – talkari being a useful catchall for all kinds of curries.
This recipe is from Sweet Hands by Ramin Ganeshram – she’s a great food writer; I’d recommend checking out her articles on food history and culture, as well as her recipes.
It’s quick and easy to make, you just need to soak the salt cod first. I picked up the kind in pieces rather than fillets so they’d be easier to shred. The curry cooks up quickly, with a good strong punchy aroma.
Both the bananas and salt cod are comparatively mild ingredients, the former giving a subtle sweetness, the latter a nice fishy aroma. The big flavour comes from the curry, garlic, onion, and hot sauce – I used an extra hot curry powder, as well as Trinidadian Scotch Bonnet hot sauce. This is tasty – I like the slightly toothy texture of the cooked green bananas.
The only catch? The goo that sticks to your hands after peeling the bananas. It took me two different soaps, olive oil, and hand sanitizer to get it off!