Yes, it's time again for the annual July Month Of Grilling and we're kicking things off with one of the best chicken recipes I've ever shared. Growing up on the islands, grilling/BBQ was never really something we'd have at home. BBQ at home wasn't common (I don't ever recall seeing a propane grill), so the odd time we'd have anything close to bbq, it would be takeout or the times we'd have village bazaars, where it would also be on sale. However when we were treated to bbq takeout.. what a feast!
I must have been about 10 years old when my aunt and uncle had gone on vacation in Canada and I spent the nights (weekends) with my older cousin. With an entire house to ourselves, you can only imagine the commess (creative trouble) we got into. It was about 11 pm one night when we decided we'd make fried chicken. Beyond the total destruction of the kitchen (oil and flour everywhere), we ended up with bland over-cooked chicken. As with any true Caribbean child, we employed the use of peppersauce, ketchup and mustard to salvage things.
Mom never swayed from the 'traditional' way of cooking curry chicken (as done in the Caribbean) when she would sort us out with a good curry and dhalpuri roti on the occasional Sunday morning. While nothing can compare to such a classic method of cooking curry chicken, I'm always looking for ways to change things up a bit. In this recipe we'll marinate the chicken in a rich yogurt curry marinade, before roasting it in the oven.
Coconut Tarragon Chicken! Here's another recipe you won't normally see being made in the Caribbean as it's more of a fusion type dish. However with the lovely flavors of the coconut milk and tarragon, I know you'll quickly fall in love with this ensemble. Not heavily seasoned as we normally treat 'chicken', but I wanted the coconut and tarragon to really stand out. It's probably one of the few recipes using chicken breast (notorious for being dry) that I truly adore.
We were into hour 5 of the long drive to Connecticut from Toronto to watch the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors take on the US men's national team in a world Cup qualifying game. My friend who was the designated driver for the trip, asked if I had ever done a curry chicken pelau. The next hour or so we found ourselves engrossed in the possibility of such a recipe and why we thought it was a delicious idea. Though neither of us had tried it before, in our minds it was doable.This curry chicken pelau is a tribute to that trip and the way we dissected the (possible) recipe.
Though we don't have a traditional 'dip' culture when it comes to food, that's quickly changing as we start experimenting with local ingredients, flavors and influenced by cuisines from distant shores. With the Super Bowl just days away, this Jerk Chicken Dip is one of the most requested recipes since I announced I'll be doing a Super Bowl Series (see Coconut Chicken Tenders and Chicken Chili - other recipes in the series).
One of the most popular recipes I've shared to date is a version of the chicken strips mom would make for us as kids, but I was asked recently via FaceBook if there was a gluten free version I had, that I'd be willing to share. With the Super Bowl just days away, I though it would be a great time to share this recipe as it's a great party food idea. This coconut chicken tenders recipe is not only gluten free, super simple to make and quite tasty, it works well for people who are not fans of shrimp (similar to coconut shrimp).
Understandably we don't automatically associate chili with the Caribbean when we envision the meals being prepared in homes across the islands. However, times are indeed changing and we're experimenting with different recipes, ingredients and flavors. Just take a peek at the many international restaurants you'll find in any capital city of any island in the Caribbean and you'll see that our dining habits are changing. Some may argue that it's a bad thing as our culinary culture is quickly losing out to these outside influences. Topic for another day!
With the success of the Pork Chow recipe I shared prior to the summer, I thought I'd share a quicker version using rotisserie chicken one can pick up at most supermarkets, being that it's a great party food idea when visiting friends. As with the pork chow recipe, it's based on the traditional method of making the spicy pickle usually with mango or other tart fruits. Typically I'd classify this as 'cuttas' or drinking food, usually served alongside adult beverages, but it's just as great a side dish for your dinner.
Though this recipe was influenced by an image/advertising poster we saw at a local McDonalds restaurant, the manner in which we marinate, 'bread' and fry the chicken is 100% Caribbean! It's a recipe our mom would use when making fried chicken for us and not unlike many such recipes you'll encounter as you make your way up the island chain which makes up the West Indies. For maximum flavor and texture, I'll highly recommend using boneless chicken thighs, but if chicken breasts are your thing... you'll also have fun with that.