Product Review: MyaBèl

I met Regine Theodat one of the owners of MyaBèl during my work with Port Au Prince StartUp week. I was facilitating a workshop on Social Media and Web Development it was collaboration between us and Regine and we held it at her restaurant. She was aware of my vegan diet and made sure we had food to accommodate me my dietary needs. It was during that time I first had Ayi Ti Manman which is Mango Pikliz. I can not explain how this combo was heaven to me. I have to  say mango is on the top of my list as a favorite fruit and I love pikliz. Which is a traditional spicy cabbage pickle with a vinegar base. We often call it Haitian coleslaw.

I got a chance to ask Regine more about her line and also create some awesome vegan dishes the recipe and interview are below.

 

How did you come to start your line?

MyaBèl has an interesting story, it seems the theme is serendipity. It was just supposed to be a restaurant in Croix-des-Bouquets. My partners had acquired this old garage in Croix-des-Bouquets, and wanted to turn it into a hot spot that would attract people to our home town.

The idea came about in 2012 and we started construction, to turn an abandoned garage into a restaurant. We opened our doors on January 7, 2013. The concept of the restaurant was simple, Haitian Comfort Food with a Spin. So we wanted everything to be very Haitian, all of our staff make our

Because of the distance to the restaurant, one of our clients Katelyn, started asking us to bottle our famous mango pikliz. We did, that took off, so then we bottled our cocktails, and the 2 of our other sauces. We quickly realized the condiment business was bringing in more to the restaurant so then we did a full rebranding and launched the bottled foods part of our products on April 6, 2016.

What inspired the recipes behind your sauces and cocktails?

When I first moved to Haiti in 2010, I expected it would be like every other beach place I’ve been, I’d be drinking tons of cocktails! At the time that wasn’t the case, now there are cocktails galore in Haiti. I just knew that the same way you go to Cuba and order a mojito, you should go to Haiti and order a super Haitian cocktail. So I just started trying to jog my memory with what was a typical Haitian ingredient. Every place in the countryside I visited, I’d ask them what fruit can I find here. What is special about this location. Surprisingly, the locals loved doing that for me. The kids would climb deep into the forest and come out with all sorts of shapes and tastes. Luckily, I have a pretty touch stomach, because I tried everything under the sun. Then we mixed and we did focus groups. I’m really happy with the array of ingredients in our cocktails. We named all after areas of Croix-des-Bouquets, to may more homage. We love the idea that someone that has never been to Haiti, might one day drink a La Rat and know the name of an obscure locality in our hometown.

When we launched our cocktail bar, we had these amazing cocktails and just typical food paired with them. So we started created sauces that would pair well with the cocktails. We had tons of electricity issues at the time, and I had this name stuck in my head – “Ay! Ti Manman.”  Just the concept of a hot spicy mamma in condiment form. I just knew that name needed to be used in our restaurant, I tried peanuts, and hot sauce and finally because we had so many electricity issues at the beginning we landed on a mango pikliz.

Then came the passionfruit ginger sauce and actually a client named that one for us. Then lastly came the Sauce Zansèt which came about because Zansèt means ancestors and we wanted the most basic Haitian ingredients in a sauce.

 

What is the meaning behind your name?

MyaBèl is actual my two partners names put together, Myrelene and Junior Abellard. They named the business before I became a partner, we toyed with the name Myarabel, but it was just too much. As we used the name, we discovered I was very close to Italian for “my beautiful girl.” So now, my husband hopes we have a daughter and name her that.

 

What should we expect from you next?

We are launching 10 new products, 7 non-alcoholic beverages and 3 more sauces in April. Then we are heading for the export market! From us you can expect continued promotion of Haiti. By summer 2017, we hope to be in the US.

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

ingredients:

1 bunch of chopped Kale, stems removed

2 tbs of oiive oil

1 tbs of balsamic vinegar

1 avocado

1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup of sliced strawberries

2-4 tbs of sunflower seeds

3 tbs Nan Tout Sòs (Passion Fruit Ginger Sauce)

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

1. Put the kale and half of the avocado in a large bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands until the leaves are darker in color and tender.

2. Add the strawberries, remaining avocado, and  red onions.  Toss gently.

3. In a small jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Nan Tout Sosm 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Shake until mixed well.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve.

 

Spicy Mushroom Taco

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

10- 15 medium portobella mushroom

1  tsp of chipotle seasoning

1 tsp of cumin

1 teaspoon salt

Microgreens or spring mix

Ay! Ti Manman (Spicy Mango Slaw)

corn tortillas

Directions:

1. Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and heat over medium heat.

2. Add the onion and garlic, stir and lower the heat.  Continue cooking the onion until soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Cut portobella mushrooms into slices and set aside.

4. Add the mushroom slice, Chipotle and cumin , stir and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes.

5. Season to taste with salt.

6. To serve, place some of the mushroom mixture onto a tortilla, and top with microgreens and Ay Ti Manman, spicy mango slaw.

 

Ou La La : Haitian Tostado

Banan Peze

Ingredients

  • 3 Green Plantains
  • 1 tablespoon(s) lime juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Salt
  • 1 cup(s) Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tostonera (Plantain Press)
  • 1 cup(s) Hot Water

Directions:

1. Peel plantains and angle cut each one into 5 equal pieces.

2. In a bowl add the hot water, vinegar, and salt. Add plantain and let soak for 5-10 minutes

3. Heat Oil on medium high heat in a deep fryer or frying pan.

4. Lightly brown the plantains in the oil (Approximately 5 min).

5. Remove the plantains from the oil and flatten each plantain using the tostonera.

6. Soak the flattened plantains in the salt water and carefully back in the oil for an additional 5 min.

7.Remove plantains from oil and place them on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.

 

Additional Ingredients

1 Avocado

1 lime

4 Tablespoon of Sauce Zansèt (Sweet Tomato Pineapple Moonshine)

Ay! Ti Manman (Spicy Mango Slaw)

Micro Greens

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

1. In a small mixing bowl mash avocado with fork. Add juice of half lime, and Sauce Zanset. Add Salt to taste

2. To serve, place some of the avocado mixture onto Banan Peze, then layer of Ay Ti Manman, spicy mango slaw, and top with micro greens.


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