Shrimp Wontons or Wantons is one of those snacks I grew up eating at the many Chinese restaurants and food trucks in San Fernando Trinidad as a young fella. Fresh from the fryer and dipped in a basic sauce of soy sauce and pepeprsauce, it was the ideal thing to eat after dad, my younger brother and I would go watch Kung Fu movies on a Saturday afternoon. It was usually the appetizer for an amazing full-on Chinese meal, as you could ONLY get in Trinidad and Tobago. Ask any Trinbagonian and they will swear that 'our' Chinee (Chinese) food is unlike any you'd find elsewhere.
A while back I did a more traditional recipe of this "fried" channa (chickpeas), except it was not fried but done in the oven for a more healthy twist. And I know many of you who are familiar with this crunchy snack will certainly find it strange that I'm topping it with grated Parmesan, but I assure you that the addition of the cheese compliments the overall flavor of it. During my primary school days this was sold by street vendors outside the school compound in paper cone shaped parcels and one of the 'choice' snacks for me at recess and lunch.
Here's another one of those spicy condiments I grew up enjoying with many of the street food sold outside the gates of my secondary school in San Fernando, Trinidad at recess and lunch time. Usually used a a dipping sauce for Pholourie and Saheena... and as a topping for doubles and aloo pies. But I think we most enjoyed it on it's own as a thick savory sauce when our taste buds craved something exciting (especially when we didn't have enough money for the pholourie). You'll find that I did stray a bit from the traditional type recipes, however you'll enjoy the subtle complex flavors.
I've had a weakness for these delightful fried dough balls served with spicy chutney, ever since my school days. I'd guess that at least 50% of my weekly allowance went directly to the vendors outside our school compound, selling pholourie and other popular street foods in San Fernando (Trinidad). There was one spot where they sold them straight from the fryer dripping in hot grease, but the lines were always longest there. Would explain why as soon as the recess or lunch bell would go off, it was like an Olympic 100 meter dash to get out the gates and at the front of the line. I dare Usain Bolt to get in our way or try to outrun us.
You never really associate baked beans with the Caribbean, but it was a norm in our home and the more I speak to others around the Caribbean I'm finding out that it's not that uncommon. Unfortunately, it was the stuff from a can... which mom did wonders with, by adding other local ingredients to add additional flavor and to help stretch 1 can (say 'tin' in the Caribbean) for a family of 6 (actually I don't think dad ate it, since he didn't fancy 'sweet' food'). This recipe is my rendition of baked beans Caribbean style - from scratch!
I grew up in a house where food was NEVER wasted, so 'butter' containers (empty ice cream, butter and margarine containers mom would wash and reuse) stacked in the fridge was a norm. Usually packed with whatever leftovers there was from the night before. So finding the same in our fridge is not that surprising. This fried rice recipe is something I usually do when I want something quick, filling and delicious to eat and I have some leftover rice in the fridge.
Not sure if it was the way I was dressed/looked or the washed-down accent I used in placing my order, but the doubles vendor inside West Bees supermarket in Diego Martin (Trinidad) took time from her busy lunchtime line of customers to warn me "son be careful eh, this rheel hot". Pepper choka is one of the many SPICY condiments you'll find at most street vendors throughout the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Scotch Bonnet (known locally as congo pepper) peppers, roasted and made into a chunky sort of salsa.
Pholouire is one of those popular vegetarian street foods you'll find being sold throughout Trinidad and Tobago, alongside "Doubles" and Aloo Pies. Usually served hot out of the fryer, with a side of spicy chutney (mango | Mango chutney, tamarind sauce, coconut or cucumber) and relatively cheap. This recipe is a sort of hack version (save you time), showing how you can use a pre-packaged mix with great results. If you're looking for a 'from scratch' recipe for making pholouire, click on Recipe Index at the top of this page.
Breakfast was usually a grab and go routine for me as a young fella on the islands during the week, as I went to school in the city and it meant leaving our sleepy village very early in the morning. I had to take a 2nd taxi (shared) when I got into San Fernando (2nd largest city in Trinidad) to make it in time for the first bell. So weekends was when mom would go all out with whatever we wanted for breakfast. Now this sort of breakfast was never included as I only developed a liking for many of the ingredients you'll see me use, during my travels across the Caribbean as an adult.
When some of your youngest fans get their mom to contact you "mom can you contact Chris to see if he can do a Caribbean taco recipe for us?" you know you have to jump into action. So the first thing I cranked out was the topping for said taco. During the summer months this also works as a great topping for grilled burgers and hot dogs. And when those cold wintry weekends kicks in and I want to brighten up my mood... I put a side of this with my eggs at breakfast! Versatile indeed!