Jul 21, 2014

Enjoying Honduras' Banana Coast

The area around Trujillo, Honduras is being promoted as the Ban
ana Coast which is much more marketable than the area just to the east called The Mosquito Coast. However, the name “mosquito’ refers to the Native Americans who lived in the area not the insect of which there are many.  

Trujillo is an interesting place.  It is where Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on the mainland of the Americas and where O. Henry hid out while a fugitive from justice. His book, “Cabbages and Kings,” describes Trujillo in the late 1800s and it has not changed all the much since the book was published in 1904. One of the lesser known Trujillo personalities is William Walker, an
American who between 1853 and 1860 made several attempts to take over territories in Mexico and Central America. For a short time he was the self-proclaimed president of The Republic of Sonora in Mexico. Next he invaded Nicaragua and captured the city of Granada, where he named himself president of Nicaragua in 1856. He was run out by Costa Rican forces in 1857.  In 1860 he was arrested by the British in Honduras and turned over to Honduran authorities, who tried, convicted and executed him. The spot where he was executed and this burial site are tourist attractions. 

We have been to Trujillo many times and on our recent trip we
were pleased to see that things are finally being spruced up for the expected influx of tourists arriving on cruise ships beginning in October.  The area has had a hard time recovering from the 1998 hurricane. 

When we visit Trujillo we stay at a friend’s beautiful house in agated community high on a hill above Trujillo Bay near the small Garifuna village of Santa Fe.  Casa Alta or Casa 17 is the ultimate getaway. The three-bedroom house has all the modern conveniences, a pool and a sweeping porch with hammocks.  Ah, the good life away from everything.  

One of the shore tours that will be available to cruise people will be a fun experience playing in the natural pools and waterfalls on the Rio Grande River between Trujillo and Santa Fe.  After a refreshing swim guests are then treated to a traditional Garifuna meal of Sopa de Pescado (fish soup) with Muchuca (plantains). The staff kindly shared the recipes.

Sopa de Pescado 
4 cups fish stock (chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted)
2 crushed cloves of Garlic
one diced sweet pepper 
salt and other seasonings to taste
1 cubed yucca (or potato)
1 sliced onion 
1 cup coconut milk
1 or 2 fish (The Garifuna use red snapper but any fish will do).

1. To the fish stock add onions, sweet pepper, salt, and any desired spices.  Give it a little kick with jalapeƱo peppers. Add yucca (or potatoes), sliced onions, and coconut milk. Cook until the yucca is tender.
2. Cut fish in half, score. Bread with light crumbs. 
3. Fry the fish.
Place fish in a bowl. Pour the soup over it. Serve with machuca on the side with a few slices of lemon. 

2 yellow plantain – peeled and cubed
2 green plantain – peeled and cubed
¼ teaspoon salt 
2 Tbs grated coconut

1. Boil the plantain with salt until soft.
2. Add coconut. Mash together until similar to mash potatoes. Traditionally it is mashed African style with long wooden pestle in a wooden mortar. Serve on the side with the fish soup.