We are delighted to share with you this recipe for an old Jamaican classic: Duckoonoo.
This snack has been a staple of many Jamaican homes for decades. In fact, it is not being given its full due if we were to just call it a snack. It’s been a mainstay in many a family and has had pride of place in lunch boxes (bags really) of farmers, construction workers, and students. Duckoonoo has had many other names too, including blue draws and tie a leaf.
I’m really unsure what the title blue draws might allude to (there are many stories really), but tie a leaf it has been called because the original version of the snack was made by wrapping the mixture in banana leaves which is sealed tight with the aid of being tied by a string, which might also have come from some part of the banana plant itself.
In more recent times, and in areas far away from Jamaica where it is near impossible to find banana leaves, people have been rather ingenious and have used the likes of tin foil, plastic bags and other food safe bags.
Duckoonoo aka blue draws, aka tie a leaf is very tasty and can be made using a variety of staples including cornmeal, flour, yam, banana, and sweet potatoes or even coco and dasheen.
Follow the steps below to make your own tasty version of duckoonoo.
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut milk
2 fingers green bananas, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup grated or shredded coconut
1/3 cup raisins, optional
Fresh banana leaves/tin foil/food safe bag
baker’s twine, for tying if using banana leaves
In a large bowl, add cornmeal, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and mix until fully combined. Set aside.
Add coconut milk, green banana, sweet potato, and vanilla to a high-speed blender, or grate green banana and sweet potato using a box grater. Process until mixture resembles a coarse batter.
Stir mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then fold in the grated coconut and raisins.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the centre of the banana leaf. Bring the edges of the banana leaf over the batter. Fold the edges under to make a tight package, then tie the blue draws with strips of banana bark or baker’s twine.
If using tin foil, lay a square of tin foil on the work surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the batter in the centre. Hold two adjacent sides of the tin foil together. Roll both sides together until you can feel that you have reached the mixture in the middle. Then roll the left end up toward the centre and do the same to the right edge. For a tight, firm seal.
If using a food-safe bag, spoon two tablespoons of the mixture into the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible then tie the bag. If using a ziplock bag, close the zipper after letting the air escape.
Repeat until all the batter is used up.
Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. Add blue draws parcels, return to a boil then reduce to simmer for one hour.
If you do try, tell us how it turned out. Remember too that you can share this recipe with anyone that you think would be interested to learn how to make this tasty traditional Jamaican snack food item.
And if you ever are lucky enough to take a trip to Jamaica, you’ll be happy to taste a piece of this deliciousness.
Other Jamaican dishes you will definitely enjoy