After a week of enjoying some of the best (probably debatable) peppersauce while tasting Barbados, I thought I'd share my take on this classic Caribbean hot sauce. We were in Barbados for the annual Food and Rum Festival and like the rest of the Caribbean, there were an assortment of pepper sauces to accompany every dish we had. Bajans (Barbadians) are VERY passionate about their pepper sauces and while this recipe is not as "traditional", it could rival any we enjoyed while in Barbados.
I'm a HUGE fan of spicy foods, so it wasn't surprising that I fell in love with Scorpion Nuts the very moment they came into contact with my taste-buds. I think it was a couple years back when my sister was here (Toronto) on business and she brought back a bottle each for my dad, sister and myself, from Trinidad. Very similar to typical spicy fried nuts or channa you'd get in plastic bottles in grocery stores or from road-side vendors throughout Trinidad and Tobago, but these were made with Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
Every summer I try to plant many of the herbs, vegetables and peppers I use in the recipes I share, in the little garden I have at the back of our home. Nothing gives me pleasure than knowing what went into growing my food and there's always a sense of accomplishment as well for me. Every year I try to plant a variety of HOT peppers, ranging from the insane stuff to mild and flavorful. This homemade pepper-sauce is not about the mild - unfortunately. We're going for raw heat with the peppers I'll be using, However with the addition of the frozen berries things will balance off naturally.
Any sort of game, including deer (venison) is what we call "wild meat" in the Caribbean and for the most part it's a sort of cherished delicacy, especially around Christmas and Carnival time. I have very fond childhood memories of going hunting with my brother and dad and into my early teens we would venture out with my friends. Though I went to school in San Fernando (city), most of my spare time was spent in the country side of Guaracara, so you'd find that I'm an outdoors person at heart.
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.