STAR of the Month: Govana cleans up as he cooks - Streetside menu changed from shrimp to chicken

September 24, 2018
The pot of chicken is on the stove at Bobby Lane, Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Stewed chicken and white rioce, done in Govana's style, is sampled and marked excellent.
Govana does the delicate transfer of chicken between plate and hot pot.
Govana applies his preferred Maggi powder.
Govana carefully trims skin and fat from the chicken as he cooks at a streetside kitchen in Bobby Lane, Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Govana scoops out the Chiffon margarine as he prepares white rice.
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For Govana's In the Kitchen feature, he decided to go back to the source of his learning - Spanish Town. The dancehall entertainer is known for his catchy lyrics, spoken in a voice of reasoning that governs rhythms, but when The STAR arrived at Bobby Lane it was uncertain if he would be the governor of the streetside kitchen.

Two tents, tables, a few chairs and a gas stove, along with a small sound system were set up in the lane and a few persons had gathered to see what the excitement was about. Having promised to make curried shrimp, Govana made it his first duty to apologise for the menu mix-up, and noted that he would kick-start the cookout with some stewed chicken and white rice, as suggested by persons from the community. "Curried shrimp never quite fit into the streetside set-up," said Govana, as he busily prepared the chicken parts by removing the skin and fat.

He added that as the day progressed someone would probably return with some fresh snapper fish that he could steam or roast over the fire. Govana was provided with an extra pair of hands by his childhood friend, Tamoy Walters, affectionately called Chef Frank (for the day), who peeled and cut up the ginger, escallion, carrots and potatoes. The Champ deejay sprinkled only a small amount of powdered seasoning and less than a teaspoon of browning on the meat. "I don't want the gravy to taste 'bitterish', so I put as little browning as possible," said Govana.

The secret touch to Govana's stewed chicken recipe was the use of Maggi fish seasoning because he says it has a stronger flavour. As he allowed the seasoning to marinate, the artiste turned his attention to cleaning up the area, noting that if it's one thing that his mother taught him to do it is to cook and keep his space clean at the same time. "No matter where a person is cooking, it is important to have water to wash and clean the area around them," he said.

The smell of the stewed chicken and the Chiffon margarine added to the white rice blended perfectly in the air. By the time Govana turned his attention to the lane, it was filled with supporters, friends, and his family members giving the food their nods of approval. UK-based reggae fusion recording artiste Stylo G was also one of the persons who dropped in unannounced to show his support for Govana, just in time to have a plate of food shared for him to give his review.

According to Stylo G, the Fourth Generation artiste Govana deserved a full 10 out of 10 rating for the taste and looks of the stewed chicken - and even more for the white rice.

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