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Grenadian Oil Down Recipe

Grenadian Oil Down Recipe

Oil Down is a Grenadian dish consisting of salted meats, fresh Caribbean vegetables and dumplings simmered in a large pot and flavored with heady aromatic spices. It is regarded as Grenada’s national dish and is often made in large servings to be served at cookouts and other social gatherings. 

This dish, although it is the national dish of Grenada, does not have a set recipe; instead, its exact ingredients and methods often vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even family to family. 

Oil Down, a name that comes as much from the method of preparation as its ingredients, is also made in nearby Trinidad and Tobago. However, Grenada’s variation is different in that it includes dumplings, turmeric, and dasheen leaves. 

Many of the ingredients used in Grenadian Oil Down are unique to Grenada and other nearby islands. It is a common dish served around the island and can be easily found at many restaurants and gatherings throughout the country. The ingredients can also vary depending on the season and what is readily available. 

Origin & Cultural Significance

The term “Oil Down” also refers to the method used to prepare it. As the mixture is left to simmer in its pot for over an hour, the coconut milk is absorbed into the salted meats and vegetables and all of the liquid is cooked down, giving it the name “oil down.”

“Oil Down” also refers to the social gatherings held in Grenadian parishes in which this dish is often the centerpiece.  

This dish is prepared in a “packed pot” style. The order in which the ingredients are “packed” into the pot changes depending on the area and style but generally the meat is packed first, and then the vegetables, with the dasheen leaves and dumplings left on top.

The stew is not stirred throughout its simmer. Its little involvement required in the cooking process, as well as the ample ingredients involved, is what makes Oil Down a popular and easy dish to serve many people at once.

Oil Down

Grenadian Oil Down

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes


  • Salted pigtail - 2 lb
  • Chicken thighs or backs - 2 lb
  • Caribbean Green Seasoning - ½ cup
  • White onion, chopped - 1 medium
  • Coconut milk - 4 cups
  • Ground turmeric - 4 tbsp
  • Chive - 1 sprig
  • Thyme - 1 sprig
  • Breadfruit (cut into large chunks) - 1 lb
  • Unripe (green) bananas - 2
  • Carrots, chopped - 3
  • Dasheen greens - 4 oz
  • Okra, cut into halves - 1 ½ cups
  • Salt
  • Habanero pepper - 1
  • Dumplings (frozen or fresh) - 1 lb
  • (Opt.) All-purpose flour - 1 cup
  • (Opt.) Salt - ½ tsp
  • (Opt.) Water - ¼ cup


  1. In a bowl, mix together uncooked chicken and ½ cup of Caribbean Green Seasoning. Set in refrigerator to marinate. 
  2. In a large pot, fill it with water and put pigtails in the water. Set to boil. NOTE: If pigtails are not available, salted herring and cod are popular alternatives.
  3. After 25 minutes, drain the pigtails. This cleanses off the excess salt. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of coconut milk and 4 tbsp turmeric. Whisk. 
  5. In a very large pot, sautée the onions until aromatic and translucent. 
  6. In the same large pot, set marinated chicken in a layer at the bottom. Layer the pigtails on top of the chicken. 
  7. Add prepared okra, carrots, pumpkin, breadfruit, unripe bananas, and habanero pepper, along with 1 tsp salt, into the large pot. 
  8. Place dasheen leaves as the top layer in the pot. If using frozen dumplings, also put them in the pot.
  9. Pour the coconut milk and turmeric mixture into the pot, covering the contents. 
  10. Cover and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pepper. Make sure there is still some liquid left in the pot by the end and stir before serving.

To make fresh dumplings:

  1. Add dumpling ingredients to a small bowl, kneading until a smooth dough forms. 
  2. Roll dumplings into small cylinders, about the size of a lighter or your pinky finger. 
  3. Place dumplings into the pot with 30-45 minutes left of simmering.


As some of these ingredients are unique to Grenada and other Caribbean islands, there is a chance substitutions will be necessary. Chopped spinach can work in place of dasheen and salted cod or herring can be used in place of pigtails. The Caribbean Green Seasoning can either be homemade or store-bought.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 797Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 5489mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 38g

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