15 Mar

Grenadian Oil Down Recipe

So how about that weather today? It would have been a nice day for, say, June but I don’t think I’m ready for 23 degree weather in March quite yet. It feels like the tropics.

. . . and speaking of the tropics (cheesy segue). . .

It’s time for another Eating the Alphabet recipe link-up where each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, legume, or whole grain from a different set of letters of the alphabet.

February was Artichokes and Buttercup Squash with Buttercup Squash Pasta

March is C and D, and I chose a tuber that I’ve never worked with before:



Cassava is also known as yucca, but you may know it better as tapioca. It’s were tapioca starch comes from, so if you’ve had tapioca pudding then you’ve had cassava.

It tastes a bit like potato and the two can often be used interchangeably.

Cassava is, of course, a good source of starch. It is also high in fibre, and rich in calcium and vitamin C, but deficient in most other vitamins and minerals.


Cassava grows in tropical climates and it is one reliable food source! It grows particularly well in poor soils, even without fertilization, and it is drought resistant.

Cassava is a staple food in Africa but is also served widely in Asia and the West Indies. It can prepared in a variety of ways from savoury to sweet. For this recipe we’re going savoury and we’re going to the Caribbean: Grenada.

The Recipe

Grenadian Oil Down

Oil Down is the national dish of Grenada and is usually made at a big party on the beach, or so I’ve read. I made this in my kitchen, so it’s not quite as fun, but it still tastes awesome.

Oil Down is a coconut stew that’s usually made with meat, but this version is also vegan, so, bonus points!

I’ve made this recipe before using parsnips as a substitute for what turned out to be a rotten cassava. It tastes much better with cassava than parsnips, in my opinion, since cassava has a much more subdued flavour.

Matt was a huge fan of this recipe and kept saying how much he liked it. I love when that happens (especially if the dish is a vegan one, hehe). He especially loved the dumplings.

If you like coconut and if you like dumplings (okay, who doesn’t like dumplings?) then you’ll probably like this recipe. Give it a try.

Grenadian Oil Down

Grenadian Oil Down

from Global Table Adventure


3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 T vegetable oil
1 large cassava
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups water
2 cups chopped rapini (or spinach)
salt & pepper


1 c all purpose flour
1/4 c masa harina
1/2 t salt
warm water, as needed


Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until softened.

Meanwhile, peel the cassava and cut it in half lengthwise. It has a tough, fibrous core (like a pineapple) that you don’t want so cut each half in half again, lengthwise, so you can cut out the centre. Then chop the cassava into 1″ pieces.


Add the curry powder and diced hot pepper to the pot. Stir and let cook for about a minute.

Add in the coconut milk, yucca, and water.

Bring the stew to a boil then reduce the heat to allow it to simmer, uncovered, for thirty minutes.

Meanwhile make the dumplings:

Caribbean DUmplings

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add a little warm water at a time, kneading lightly until a soft dough forms comes together into a ball.

Roll bits of dough between your palms, to make about 20 dumplings that are tapered and about 2″ in diameter.

Now, back to the oil-down. After the 30 minutes are up, stir in the rapini.

Then stir the dumplings in and cook for 15 to 30 minutes more until the stew gets thick and the dumplings are cooked.

Serve with rice.

Eating Alphabet JPG

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16 thoughts on “Grenadian Oil Down Recipe

  1. Ok, so I would say I’ve never had cassava, but I guess that would be a lie since I have had tapioca. I had no idea tapioca was cassava!! This recipe sounds different, but definitely something I’d love to try!

    • Yeah, I didn’t know that either until I googled it!
      In my search I actually saw a few other dessert recipes using cassava besides tapioca pudding. It’s a pretty versatile tuber, I guess.

  2. Fact. I had no idea yucca = cassava = TAPIOCA! I feel like I just won the lottery of vegetable knowledge. Sad a dietitian doesn’t know that, but it’s certainly not a food many eat. Which…only makes it all the more appealing to me. PLUS, my grocery store carries this. And you’re right, who doesn’t love dumplings? (which I’ve never made before). As for the coconut milk…well, I could live on that stuff. Can’t wait to try this for something new and fresh!

    • If you want another random unknown vegetable, you can use callaloo (instead of rapini or spinach) which is the traditional green used in oil down.
      I have no idea where to buy calalloo in my neighbourhood so I just passed on this one.

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  5. You cannot possibly call this stew oildown. It has no breadfruit in the recipe. Any Grenadian will tell you that oildown MUST have breadfruit in it. No substitutes. Never. Real oildown also always contains animal protein. Chicken, fish, pork, beef, or game. My favorite? Tatoo, aka armadillo.

  6. dear Samantha, I am really happy that you know about Grenadian oil down and chose to showcase it on your blog, tasty isn’t it? I am very proud of whomever introduced you to our food and that you fell in love with it. There’s nothing quite like it when you get a really good plate of oil down.

    Unfortunately, what you have on display here is not oil down nor is that recipe in any way close to accurate.

    You show some innovation by adding a side of white rice to the dish, an addition I have never seen done in all my years, or would have ever considered since that dish needs no accompaniment except a delicious drink to wash it down. In your defense, I won’t knock it, that’s the beauty of food you can be as creative as you want.

    But if you are going to create a dish and one that is a countries national dish, I think it’s only fair that you treat it with a little bit more respect and dignity than that. A little google research would have provided you with some more information to validate what you are writing about.

    I’ve never seen cassava added to it either but there’s nothing wrong with substituting one vegetable for another, all personal taste. And oil down can be made with or without the main ingredient breadfruit and still be tasty. Many who have emigrated from Grenada have remastered the recipe when they cannot find the breadfruit in their new country of residence and still find it yummy

    please visit the website of the Grenadian govt. for more reference http://www.gov.gd/articles/grenada_oil_down.html

    “Grenada’s national dish is called “Oil down”. It is a simple, delicious and robust dish, which is very popular in local restaurants. It’s a hearty onepot meal of salted meat, chicken, dumplings, breadfruit, callaloo – made from young dasheen leaves and other vegetables. The whole thing is stewed in coconut milk, herbs and spices to add even more flavour.



    8-10 young dasheen
    1 sprig celery, chive and thyme
    2 medium carrots chopped
    2 green peppers chopped
    1 lb dumplings
    2 tps tumeric (saffon)
    1/2 lb Salt meat (pre-soaked overnight)
    1 large Breadfruit peeled
    2 cups coconut milk
    1 medium onion chopped

    Wash and peel breadfruit. Cut into 8 sections. Remove centre lengthways of each section and cut into half crosswise.
    Wash and scrape meat, cut into pieces and rinse in lime juice and water.
    Remove skins of onions, rinse and cut into small pieces. Remove seeds of chilli peppers and cut into wedges. Chop chives into small pieces.
    Put salted meat into cold water, bring to the boil and drain. Repeat 3 times to remove preserving saly. Put to cook until just tender and drain.
    Saute onions and garlic in hot oil until onions are pale yellow.
    Add chive, thyme, flavouring pepper, salted meat and salt to taste. Pour over 2 cups of coconut milk.
    Add wedges of breadfruit, sugar, green hot pepper and cook until breadfruit absorbs liquid.
    Add remaining coconut milk. Remove hot pepper. Stir to blend well and cook at a reduced heat. There should be no remaining liquid.”
    Serve hot.
    Try your hand at the national dish.

    thx for the feature nonetheless

  7. Loved your recipe! I added breadfruit and salted beef and made the dumplings a bit smaller and round, plus added a tiny bit of sweet potato too and it was delicious!!! thanks for sharing your version as you made it super accessible for someone who isn’t necessarily a purist but just wants inspiration!

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