This soup recipe originated in South Africa, and the curry flavor is thought to have come from the influence of the many East Indians brought into South Africa to work on the railroads. Where there are groups of people with specific food tastes, ther are bound to be crossovers into the existing cuisine of a place.
I don’t always serve pumpkin pie for desert at Thanksgiving. Sometimes I make a pumpkin cheese cake, muffins, or this spicy soup with an island taste. If you don’t want to use pumpkin, any winter squash will do. Use butternut, acorn, or Hubbard, or for preparation ease, use canned pumpkin puree.
In Jamaica, they call pimento allspice. You can find allspice berries in the spice section of your grocery store, but they are often less expensive bought in bulk at a natural foods store. If you can't find goat meat you can substitute lamb or mutton.
Dal is the Hindi word for several of the legumes or beans that resemble lentils or split peas. In India they can be found both fresh and dried, but here we almost always find them dried. The bean used in this curry is called "toovar dal" and resembles a yellow split pea. Pulses or dried lentils are sometimes hard to digest. So cooks in India where they are staples, say to prepare them with ginger or turmeric to make them more digestible. This recipe contains both.
Chili philosopher John Thorne comments: "Texas prison chili got its good reputation from Sheriff Smoot Schmidt’s truly fine recipe for the Dallas County Jail. Recently, however, a Texas prison chili contest was won by the Huntsville Penitentiary with a godawful recipe that called for twice as much cumin as chili powder and ‘2 handfuls’ of monosodium glutamate. In Texas, this is called crime deterrence."
This method of making chile sauce differs from others using fresh New Mexican chiles because these chiles aren't roasted and peeled first. Because of the high sugar content of fresh red chiles, this sauce is sweeter than most. I harvested some chiles from his garden one late summer day, made a batch of this sauce, and ate every drop as a soup! It makes a tasty enchilada sauce, too.
Ceviche is made all over Central and South America, so it is no surprise that it has become popular in many Miami restaurants. The citrus marinade creates an opaque color and firm texture that mimics the effect of traditional cooking. In celebration of Miami chefs' tendency to borrow from many different sources to create a their own recipes, I have come up with a version using the Peruvian garnish of sweet potatoes, the Ecuadorian addition of roasted corn and a combination of seafood that you are likely to find at a typical Miami table. For a glamorous touch, serve the Ceviche in martini glasses. Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.