Are you the kind of person who loves experimenting with new recipes? Have you ever tried cooking Caribbean recipes? Caribbean cuisine is exciting for any food connoisseur because it fuses together sweet fruit flavours with many different spices. All the dishes make you feel like you have spent an entire day lying on a palm-fringed island.
Most Caribbean recipes make use of a variety of ingredients and spices, and many also feature a number of fresh fruit and vegetables. These include mangoes, coconut, pineapples, papaya, bananas, ginger, oranges and sweet potatoes. In addition to many fresh fruit and vegetables, Caribbean recipes often include lots of seafood; reasonable, since the Caribbean consists of a chain of islands. Popular seafood found in the recipes includes conch, crabs, lobster, prawns, mahi-mahi, marlin and red snapper.
The seafood is usually prepared by being grilled with butter and garlic, although it is also popular to steam and boil dishes such as lobster. Rich sauces and delicate grilling are derived from French influences. Another popular way for preparing fish is called ‘blaff’. This method, derived from the island of Martinique, involves marinating fish in limejuice, garlic and hot peppers. The fish is usually then poached in the marinade as well for an extra-nice flavouring.
Traditional Caribbean seafood recipes come from each of the islands, since each has a specialty dish. For example, Trinidad and Tobago are known for dishes with cascadura fish and crab. The island of Barbados is known for its flying fish, while conch is very popular in Haiti, the Bahamas and Belize.
Although it isn’t easily found fresh in Britain, conch is a main ingredient in many popular Caribbean recipes; many people use fresh clams as a substitute. Often, conch recipes will be used to make soups, salads and fritters.
The spices seen in any Caribbean cooking guide will generally be similar. You will find spices like allspice, bay leaves, black pepper, cilantro, chillies, coconut, cinnamon, curry powder, nutmeg, sugar, coconut, lime and vanilla. Most Caribbean dishes are known to be moderately hot, too. However, many of the spices which create a good spicy flavour need not be overpowering. If you’re looking for a challenge, though, hot sauce can be added for extra flavour.
One popular spicy mixture is called garam masala, which is a blend of different ground spices predominant in Indian and south-Asian cuisine. The literal translation of garam is ‘hot’, and masala, ‘mixture’. Usually, garam masala consists of peppercorns, cloves, Malabar leaves, long pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, star anise and coriander. However, the contents of the mixture will differ depending on regional preference.
Garam masala is typically used in curries, vegetable dishes, soups or stews. The spice itself brings a sense of warmth to any Caribbean recipe. It is usually sprinkled over the top of a dish before serving for added flavour.
Another popular spice seen in Caribbean meat recipes is Jamaican jerk spice. This savoury spice is a blend of chilli pepper, allspice berry and thyme. Other spices such as cinnamon, ginger, gloves, garlic and onion can be used as well to create the jerk seasoning.
Jamaican jerk spice is traditionally used to marinate meats such as chicken and pork before grilling or roasting. Originally, the meat was smoked over a wood charcoal for a nice flavour. The ‘jerk’ style of cooking involves having meat dry-rubbed or wet marinated with this spicy mixture. You can also find recipes which apply jerk spice mixtures to shellfish, beef, sausage, fish and tofu.
The most interesting fact about the spices used in Caribbean food is that they offer great health benefits. The addition of spices creates meals grounded in healthy eating and organic foods. Other health benefits come from the fresh ingredients such as fruit, vegetables and teas.
You will often find that many of the spicy dishes include rice as a staple ingredient. Rice creates a nice base for spices, sauces and beans. However, there are many different-flavoured rice options to choose from, including seasoned and coconut ranges.
Caribbean food is different from other cuisines because of the unusual way it uses ingredients in the recipes. For example, a favourite recipe in Jamaica is boiled green bananas. Caribbean recipes often treat green bananas like root vegetables. This is because they are starchier and less sweet, and also have the potential of being a delicious side dish.
Favourite dishes in general include goat curry, plantain, fried chicken and oxtail stew. Often, these dishes will be accompanied by potato salad or greens. These meals all offer a strong punch of flavour, and will also leave anyone who tries them feeling full and satisfied.
Just as there are favourite entrees found in Caribbean cooking guides, there are also many sweet and palatable dessert recipes. Many popular dessert ingredients include mangoes, bananas, rum and cinnamon spices. If you want to try a Caribbean dessert at home, try making coconut pudding, pumpkin, pineapple or cashew nut cake.
In addition to trying out delicious desserts, anyone trying out Caribbean recipes must sample the cocktails. Caribbean cocktails are known to be sweet and refreshing, with rum as the spirit of choice. Caribbean rum is made of hard liquor which is distilled from sugar cane. Popular drinks include ones such as a ‘dark and stormy’, which is especially popular in Bermuda.
Caribbean cuisine is well-suited to the people of the Caribbean islands who appreciate life through good food and music. It is also the result of different cultural influences from Africa, Britain, Spain, France, Indi and China, which is why the flavours are so unusual and exciting. If you already have a favourite cuisine, you will probably enjoy Caribbean recipes since they are a fusion of foods from around the world.
Start experimenting with different Caribbean recipes so you can impress your friends at your next dinner party. Any Caribbean cooking guide will help you create a menu which will be both surprising and delicious for your guests.