Get to Know Staff: Kali in Wellness

We’ve been getting to know River Market staff by recipes that are meaningful to them – our latest is from Kali, in the Wellness department:

The week of Christmas 2012 I spent in Port Au Prince, Haiti. I was volunteering at Hospital Bernard Mevs/Project Medishare as an EMT, but more realistically an ER/Trauma nurse. This was post-earthquake Haiti. While the natural disaster had occurred two years before, the lack of infrastructure and poverty made you believe it had been just yesterday.  The hospital had more resources than any of the other facilities in the area, but a little more than a year previous, this same hospital had been housed on the airstrip in tents. All supplies at the hospital had been donated after the earthquake from countries around the world. Things that are never used in the United States were commonly used there. It was the wild west of medicine- hence my expanded responsibilities far out of my legal scope of practice.  That week I saw more broken femurs, machinery accidents, gunshot wounds, closed head injuries and babies delivered than I thought possible to fit in to that small amount of time. You might be wondering what this has to do with food….

The volunteer staff were housed in the hospital compound, which was protected on all sides by tall concrete wall. The front entrance had a huge metal gate which was attended 24 hours a day by armed guards. We didn’t leave except by guarded motorcade. The food in the compound was bad, I was grateful for it, but it was bad. A typical breakfast was a ketchup sandwich, sometimes with a piece of mystery meat, usually not. One morning I woke up and I was out of jerky and Larabars from home. The ketchup sandwich just wasn’t happening that morning. I needed some real food. I had heard rumors that there were some street food vendors not far from the hospital, but I hadn’t seen them while driving. The Haitian staff at the hospital could come and go as they pleased so I asked one of the Haitian EMT’s “is there food out there?” pointing through the gate, he nodded. I cajoled him into going to get me something. What he returned with was pure gold. It was burrito shaped and made with puff pastry. It was fried, so fried it was saturated with grease, but was still very crispy, and very hot. I could barely hold it, and definitely couldn’t bite into it. Inside was shredded chicken, pickled cabbage, carrots and peppers. It was phenomenal.  After doing some research, I have come to learn that this is a typical street food called a Haitian Pate (patty). The pickled portion of the filling is called Pikliz. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. A modified recipe follows below.

You will need:

  • 1 package puff pastry (or make your own if you like)
  • One recipe Pikliz- found below, or use store bought fermented cabbage and vegetables of your choice.

Pikliz recipe:

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large carrot
1 cup bell pepper (green, orange, red)
1 onion
2 scallions
Spicy chili peppers sliced, amount to your taste
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
12-14 peppercorns
2 cups vinegar
1/2 lime juice

4 cloves (traditionally used)

Add enough vinegar to cover the ingredients in the storage container. Allow to marinate for about 5 days before use.


Chicken Filling:

  • 1 pound chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-4 tablespoons Pikliz with vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup water

In a pan, add oil, and chicken. Stir fry meat until it starts to cook. Add all remaining ingredients with water last, while stirring. Cook on low heat for 10 – 15 minutes or until water evaporates. Let chicken cool then shred with a fork.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut puff pastry dough into desired amount of squares or rectangles, each roughly 4 inches square. Place enough of the filling in the center of each square so that it can be folded over and sealed, about 2-3 tablespoons. Pat the edges with water and fold dough into the desired shape. Squeeze the edges closed.
  2. Place on baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush top of each patty with beaten egg. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.