Our destination was vague, “far-flung NYC” per the subject line of the email, so we set our sights on the outer reaches of Queens and, as the song goes, when we reached Jamaica we made a stop. Our peregrinations included Bangladeshi food in Jamaica Hills, and unexpectedly yummy baked goods in South Richmond Hill. Nearby, in Richmond Hill, we paid a visit to Ousha, a Guyanese vendor who sells tropical fruits and vegetables and is a regular at the corner of Liberty Ave and 114th St. There were two items in particular that piqued our interest:
(Click on any image to view it in high resolution.)
Black Pudding and White Pudding (I’m counting those as one item since they arrived in the same container). These spicy sausages with roots in the British Isles are a distinctly Guyanese variation; both are made with rice, onions, and herbs, but black pudding includes pig’s blood (don’t cringe: in Spain they relish morcilla; in France, boudin; in the Philippines, dinuguan; and plenty more worldwide) and white pudding swaps in coconut milk for the, um, fluid component. The less bloodthirsty among us preferred the white, which is why that recipe was created, or so they say.
Not spicy enough for ya? This is Ousha’s homemade Mango Achar, a pickled condiment known by several similar names and enjoyed throughout the Caribbean, as well as South and Southeast Asia. On a spice level scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means you can’t taste anything other than incendiary heat (and frankly, that’s too much for me, a confirmed pepperhead), this rendition was a 9.5 – maybe even a little higher. Fortunately, it will keep in my fridge for a while.
A very long while.