Tropical Flavors

fruit_displayAre you excited by the fresh tropical flavors of African, Caribbean and Asian fruit and vegetables? Are your taste buds communicating the need for a delicious natural tropical meal? Well you’ve come to the right place, because I share your passion and love a bit of pepper sauce and a hint of spice and coconut in my meals (amongst other fresh flavors).

My on-going task is to learn as many new recipes as possible and to sample the teachings of those who share my passion. I have benefited from several teachers and now chefs whose courses I have already attended in the UK and South Africa. I will be inviting other teachers in the Raw Food community to offer recipes and information that reflect the taste-bud and nutritional needs for our transition to a raw health style. So keep watching this space…

In this plate of food, I see the entire universe supporting my existence.”
— Zen Buddhist blessing


13. Turmeric




12. Dragon Fruit


Dragon Fruit



11. Tamarind

To make a beautiful sauce to go with your fruit, or mix with nuts to make into delicious snack balls.




10. Cho Cho

A gorgeous crunchy fruit which is used as a vegetable.

Cho Cho


9. Raw Marinated Mushrooms Stuffed with Mango and Avocado

Stuffed mushrooms

6 large flat mushrooms of choice
1 tbsp unrefined olive oil
Organic unrefined salt or un-pasteurised, fermented tamari
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 orange juice
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

In a bowl mix the olive oil and salt or fermented tamari. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and toss in the oil. When well coated, lift out and set aside.

In a bowl mix the avocado, mango, orange juice, cumin and cayenne and mash slightly into a rough textured paste. Fill the mushrooms with the avocado mixture and serve on lettuce leaves.


8. Sweet Potato Plantain Soup

Please see the instructions on the image and remember to: add enough water for the consistency that you prefer. Start off with about two cups.

1 small sweet potato, washed, with skin left on
half large plantain, peeled
quarter of small onion
quarter tsp fresh of dried thyme
half tbsp hemp powder
small chunk fresh ginger, or to taste
pinch of salt, optional
2 cups clean water

Do this:
Blend all ingredients together.

I left the blender running for a good few minutes to heat up the soup and also heated the soup bowl with hot water (then pour away), before pouring in the soup.

Sweet Potato Plantain Soup by Sistahintheraw. Photo by © Anita McKenzie

Sweet Potato Plantain Soup by Sistahintheraw. Photo by © Anita McKenzie


7. Spinach, Ginger Parsnip and Sweet Potato Layer

I developed this recipe for the Come Dine With Me Christmas Special for Gina Yashere last year (2011). I have adapted the recipe slightly, instead of individual plate sized portions, I’ve made one larger vegetable layer which proved to be a great demonstration success in my Happy Health Raw Holiday Food workshop last Saturday (1st Dec 2012), as well as being absolutely delicious.

Spinach, Ginger Parsnip and Sweet Potato Layer by ©Sistahintheraw. Photo by ©Simon Senior

Spinach, Ginger Parsnip and Sweet Potato Layer by ©Sistahintheraw. Photo by ©Simon Senior

recipe is for an individual portion – To make one larger vegetable layer (see photo), just increase the amount of vegetables

2 cups baby leaf spinach, washed well and chopped small
small piece of ginger
juice 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp cumin
1 medium parsnip
1 small sweet potato, grated
savoury seasoning of choice
rocket leaves for garnish
Hot pepper sauce (optional), or relish of choice

Do this:
Prepare a ramekin dish by wiping a thin coat olive oil around  inside of dish. This is so that the layer can be turned out easily.

Grate sweet potato, sprinkle with 1 tbsp lemon juice and add cumin and set aside, or toss with raw hot pepper sauce.

Put washed parsnips in food processor with ginger and pulse until mixture looks like rice grains and set aside.

Gently chop spinach leaves until fine.

Arrange 1-2 tbsp of each: spinach, then parsnip, then sweet potato, one on top of each other in equal layers and gently press into dish. Set aside in fridge for about 20 mins.

To serve, carefully turn out of  dish, by turning it upside down on a plate. Garnish with rocket leaves and pepper and or a relish of your choice.

6. Sweetsop

Sweetsop or sugar-apple is a relative of the soursop (guyabano). It is smaller in size and has no soft spikes. Like the soursop it also has sweet, delicious and creamy white flesh and black seeds. The taste is described as a cross between a pear and a coconut. Sugar-apple is a fruit that contain protein.

Like the soursop, in the Caribbean it is eaten raw or can also be made into a delicious juice.

5. Plantain

Plantains may look similar to bananas, but they are vegetables instead of fruits. They are a source of fiber, beta-carotene, calcium and vitamin C and have fantastic medicinal qualities.


4. Bitter Gourd

As the name suggests, this is a strong, bitter chalky flavour tasting vegetable which is packed with nutrients and very popular in Indian, Chinese, Caribbean Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese and Filipino, communities.

Though most of the squash or melon we eat possess a light and sweet flavor, there is nothing mild about bitter gourd/melon.

The exterior of the melon is covered with bumps; the interior resembles any other melon with a cluster of foamy seeds in the center.Many culinary traditions embrace bitter melon and counter the bitterness of the fruit with spicy, sweet, or savory components.In Indonesia, bitter melon is used in salads. Apart from the traditional cooked dishes, it can combined with fresh chilies turmeric and vinegar to make a powerful relish.The powdered seeds of bitter gourd are used to treat an upset stomach and to relieve nausea. A good source of plant protein for vegetarians, the fruit has benefits ranging from easing toothache to calming emotions and eliminating stress.Simple KARELA/BITTER GOURD/BITTER MELON PickleCut karela and ginger into small pieces.
Add salt and pickle powder. Mix them well.
Add lemon juice (2 lemons). Mix well.


3. African Cucumber


2. Cocoa Balls

Photo by Daniel McKenzie-Cossou

2 cups walnuts
2 soft dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa powder
juice of 1/2 orange

To decorate: dessicated coconut

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until the nuts are broken down and mixture sticks together, or to the consistency  you like best, either soft or crunchy. Using a spoon, make equal individual scoops of the mixture and roll into balls. Place dessicated coconut into a container and roll balls in the coconut until covered.

Eat as Kwanzaa treats, serve with raw ice cream, or with kiwi sauce. Balls can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.


1. How to Make Raw Food Taste HOT!

Today we’re looking at 5 ways to make your food taste hot – all very different. There’s bound to be at least one or two that will work for you. And over the weeks that follow I’ll be sharing more recipes, tips and ideas to help you stay raw (or as raw as you want to be) during the colder months.

Hot spices
There are many ingredients that can add warmth to your meal, despite the fact that they are consumed in their raw state. When your body is fed foods that are cooked or that are too cold (from the fridge or freezer), it uses up energy to balance the temperature. Save your energy for something more exciting and add these raw spices to your meals (and thus your body):

* Black & white pepper
 * Ginger
 * Garlic
 * Cayenne 
* Cloves 
* Coriander 
* Chives
 * Cinnamon
 * Caraway
 * Parsley
 * Turmeric

Drinking at room temperature
This may sound obvious to many of you but the temperature of your liquids can affect the temperature of your body. Can you imagine being asleep and waking up to someone throwing an ice cold bucket of water over you? This is how your body reacts when you drink ice cold drinks that shock the system. As with cooked foods, the body’s enzymes and energy is used to try and control the temperature that you have just thrown at it. Try drinking your drinks at room temperature and notice how much easier they go down.

© 2009 Karen Knowler The Raw Food Coach publishes “Successfully Raw” –


Also see recipes below, more coming soon…

Brazilian Nutmeat from Dr. Aris Latham, Jamaica
Tropical Raw Pizza from Chantel Selman of Organic Earth, Barbados


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4 thoughts on “Tropical Flavors

  1. I just love your page and your recipes! I currently live in the Dominican Republic and I had no clue about what food I could eat raw, plus I was a little afraid about what I had heard (some people told me that eating raw ripe plantain would make me sick, that eating raw veggies would give me intestinal parasites, etc) but thanks to your wonderful ideas I am ready to try the raw diet myself and ready to change the way I eat…For the better!

  2. Pingback: 5 DAY DE-TOX JUICE AND SMOOTHIE FAST | The Muslim Vegetarian

  3. Pingback: A Raw Food Delight | Fitnessbuster by Gillian Stephen - Fitness and Nutrition Coaching and Training

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