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.
It's not strange to see me in a parka, winter boots and full "blizzard" gear during the coldest of Canadian winters, tending to my grill with loving care and admiration. Ever since I started playing with fire and smoke on the $15 charcoal grill from Canadian Tire about 25 years ago at the back of the basement apt we rented in one of the most run-down areas of town, I've been a huge fan of bbq and grilling. Yes, there is a difference (so the "experts" will have you believe), but this post is not about the differences between BBQ and grilling, but rather the basic idea of getting the most flavor and best texture from chicken on your grill.
I'm not a huge fan of turkey, especially when it's done the traditional North American way - roasted in the oven. I much prefer getting the cheaper cuts like the necks (Curry Turkey Necks) and in this case, wings. Though a bit tougher than chicken wings, I find that they hold up well to the Caribbean way of stewing and the outcome is quite delightful. Tender pieces of meat, with a wonderful gravy which is excellent on rice, potato, dumplings, roti or ground provisions. The key is in the way we'll season, marinate and finally braise these turkey wings in a process which is most traditional to the Southern Caribbean.
Over the years I've shared countless recipes for making jerk marinades, sauces, how to make finger-licking Jamaican jerk in the oven and classic jerk on your grill and bbq. As we continue our annual July Month Of Grilling I thought I'd shift focus and share a gluten friendly version of this classic Jamaican jerk marinade for our friends who deal with gluten intolerance. A jerk marinade which goes well with fish, shrimp, pork and in this case, some chicken legs which we'll marinate before slowly cooking them over a moderate coals-fire in the back yard.
Curry channa and aloo (chickpeas and potato) is a classic vegetarian curry dish hailing from the Caribbean... with a strong Indian influence. Due to the fact that Indian indentured laborers where brought in from India after slavery was abolished to upkeep the sugarcane industry. I started adding chicken to the mix as a means of adding more flavor and added texture to the mix. Plus it's a great way to use chicken breast, without it going dry and bland. I may have mentioned that I'm no fan of chicken breast - more a dark-meat kinda guy. In this recipe we'll cut back on the overall cooking time by using canned chickpeas (Channa) and in an upcoming post, I'll show you how to use shrimp instead of chicken.