Trini Carnival: Cassava Pone with a Sweet Backstory and Spiked Mango Smoothies


Two creative desserts were provided by Chris.  As a bonus, the first came with a nice story.  Read on:

Since many Trinidadian desserts are really sweet I picked Cassava Pone since it wasn’t too sweet and seemed very authentic and local. I think Peter or Linda may have mentioned where the word “pone” comes from but I forgot (I don’t think we did.  We don’t know what it means! According to all-knowing Wikipedia, pone is also a name for a type of cornbread in the Southern US, derived from a Native American word.  Triangle trade?) Also, we decided that tropical fruit like mangoes was needed to complete a Caribbean party, so the pone is accompanied by a mango-yogurt-white rum smoothie. Little drink umbrellas would have been the final touch but ran out of time to find some!

Cassava Pone

(pone rhymes with stone not Monet)

I found several recipes for Trinidadian style pone online. Most used cassava but several also included pumpkin. I did research to find a local Caribbean market in the Bay Area. I found great reviews about a Caribbean market: Specialty Foods, Inc. 535 8th St. in Old Town Oakland, CA. Since I work in Oakland it was a perfect field trip during my lunch break. The market was stocked with all sorts of Caribbean delicacies. I filled my basket according to my online recipe with frozen cassava, coconut, condensed milk, etc. One tip I learned is that it takes time and hard work to grate the cassava, so purchase the already grated cassava which I found in the frozen section. When I went to pay, the friendly woman at the register immediately recognized my ingredients and offered to give me her mother’s own cassava pone recipe. She introduced herself as Leilani and said that her family is Filipino and that the recipe is a little different. It has a flan style topping (I suspect that comes from the Spanish cultural influence) but that all her Caribbean friends love it! I was sold (literally). We went back into the aisles and she picked the additional ingredients that I needed. She noticed that I had picked the most expensive can of coconut milk (of course, it must be better, right?) so she traded it for a cheaper – and better! – brand.

The moral of this story is to be open and friendly like Chris.  You never know where it will lead you! Also, a recent study discussed in the New York Times showed that talking to strangers can increase your happiness.  So forget what mama told you!

Cassava (aka Manioc, Mandioca, Yuca) Pone



2 16oz packets of frozen grated cassava (defrost out of package)

4 cups whole milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract/essence

1 cup granulated sugar

1 20oz can young coconut meat (in syrup)

1/2 tsp salt

Dash of pepper

Optional spices: cinnamon, cardamom. (I used about ½ tsp of each.)


1 13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 14oz can condensed milk

2 eggs



Preheat oven to 350 F.

Defrost frozen grated cassava. Tip: first remove frozen cassava from package to defrost since otherwise difficult to scrape out of package when thawed.

Add whole milk, 2 eggs, vanilla, 1 cup sugar, salt, pepper and spices. Mix until ingredients are well blended.

Drain and finely chop young coconut meat and stir into mixture.

Spray 13 x 9in baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour mixture into pan. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes or until top is firm and dry.

To make topping:

Combine coconut milk, condensed milk and 2 eggs in a separate bowl. Blend well and set aside until cake has fully cooked, as above.

When cake is ready, pour topping mixture to cover entire top without overflowing the pan. Return to oven for 45 min or until top layer is dry, bubbly and browned.


Mango-Yogurt-White Rum Smoothie

Adapted from Bobby Flay’s recipe

spiked mango smoothie


2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 cups Greek yogurt

1/2 cup mango nectar

1/2 cup white rum

Crushed ice

2 to 4 tablespoons simple syrup, depending on sweetness of mangoes


Combine mango, yogurt, nectar, rum and a few cups of crushed ice in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Sweeten with simple syrup, if needed. Divide among 4 glasses and serve.


This concludes our Spicebox Supperclub: Trini Carnival Edition.  Thanks for reading!

We’ve just had another Supperclub from a completely different corner of the world.  Check back in a few weeks to see where our latest Supperclub transported us!

Trini Carnival: Introducing the Spicebox Cocktail


Leave it to Dave (creative, precise, also dashing and witty) to not only create a new cocktail worthy of being the Spicebox Supperclub’s signature cocktail, but to make his own infused spirits! This cocktail had it all– mango (one of Trinidad’s best fruits), Indian spices, Trinidad’s Angostura bitters, and the use of the insider-hip ingredient, a shrub (drinking vinegar).  While each of these ingredients has a strong individual personality, Dave’s expert mixing melded them together beautifully and subtly, with the capstone being fresh curry leaves, which added both flavor and garnish.  This cocktail is a winner.


Spicebox Cocktail

1 oz Cardamom and ginger infused rum (see below)
1 oz mango juice
1/2 oz peach shrub
Juice from 1/2 lime
Splash of simple syrup
Dash angostura bitters
Garnish: curry leaf pressed into palm or folded to release aroma and turbanado sugar for rim.
Put all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and stir for 20 seconds (do no shake).
Sugar rim by running lime around rim and dipping glass into sugar.  Garnish with curry leaf.
Pour in chilled cocktail glass up, or over ice in rocks glass.
Nalin Spicebox Cocktail
Cheers, Nalin!
Cardamom and ginger infused rum (enough for party; can be scaled down)
3 cups silver/light rum
20 green cardamom pods cracked
20 1/8 inch slices of ginger

Combine in mason jar.  Swirl daily.  Week should do though no harm in letting it marry for longer.  Strain (I used a funnel with cheese cloth and pressed the ginger with wooden spoon handle, which gave the rum a slightly yellow and cloudy look but much stronger ginger flavor).


Linda, Peter and a pile of mangoes in Trinidad

Come back next week for (finally) some food!