Trinidad Saheena (recipe)


I made these traditional Indo-Trinidadian appetizers last year as part of my Eid menu. Chopped spinach stirred into a splitpea flour base and then fried, delish! I prefer mine relatively light , especially when fresh out of the oil, but some make theirs denser. The final result will depend on how thick your prefer your batter. Saheena are perfectly paired with your favourite chutney and some hot pepper sauce, plus since there is so much spinach in them you can tell yourself that it’s practically a salad… right? 😉 To date I have not encountered saheena (also spelled sahina) outside of Trinidad and a cursory Google search yielded only Trinidadian pages. I am now quite curious as to whether it goes by different names in other cultures? If you are aware of any other names for this tasty appetizer, do let me know 🙂 Until then, I am submitting this post to the Taste of Terroir ’09. What is Terroir you ask?

From Wikipedia:

Terroir (/t??wa?/ in French) was originally a French term in wine and coffee appreciation used to denote the special characteristics of geography that bestowed individuality upon the food product. It can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place” which is embodied in certain qualities, and the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product. …Some writers include history, tradition, vineyard ownership and other factors. The contemporary meaning of the term clearly goes beyond mere geography, but at that point disagreement begins. Some assert that terroir is distinct from the characteristics imparted by the plant variety, the vintage and production methods (vinification, etc.), and is the product of a range of local influences that are transmitted into the character of the product.”

Trinidad Saheena


1 lb split pea flour
1 lb all-purpose flour
1/2 lb frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tsp yeast (dissolved in ½ cup of water with 1 tsp. of sugar)
salt to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 medium onion, minced
8 cloves of garlic, minced


1. Mix flours, salt, curry powder, onion, cumin, garlic and dissolved yeast mixture
2. Add chopped spinach and mix to combine (make sure spinach is evenly dispersed)
3. Add water and mix to a soft dropping consistency

4. Leave to rise for no more than one hour
5. Remove by the tablespoon and drop into hot oil

6. Take out with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel paper

This recipe is an exclusive TriniGourmet original. Please do not share it or post it to your site without crediting A link back to our site is not necessary but always appreciated 🙂