Food Word: Ducana
Word of the Week: Ducana
What is it? A sweet potato dumpling made of grated sweet potatoes, grated coconut, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Other ingredients that can be added include grated carrot or pumpkin, raisins, butter or margarine, and vanilla extract. To get the best taste, ducana should be boiled in toasted banana leaves (fresh off the tree!), but if you must, you can use pre-packaged banana leaves or wrap in foil.
Why I like it? Ducana is a popular local dish of Antigua & Barbuda. It’s typically served with salt fish (salted cod stewed with seasonings and tomato) & chop-up (a side dish of eggplant, okra, and spinach) so it’s sweet, salty, and spicy all at the same time! I also like that ducana can be eaten hot, cold, or fried to get a crunchy outside. As a matter of preference, ducana can be soft or firm – I like mine in the middle!
Anything more? Several other Caribbean islands, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines & Trinidad and Tobago, make their own version of ducana. A cousin of ducana is pastelles, which is also wrapped in banana leaves. In Antigua, ducana is eaten on special occasions like Good Friday and Independence Day (November 1st).