Archive | Fish

The Ultimate Garlic Shrimp Recipe.

The Ultimate Garlic Shrimp Recipe.

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In the Caribbean we have an abundance of wonderful seafood in our waters, including some of the most tasty shrimp you’ll ever enjoy. Sadly, I don’t recall this dish ever being made by mom or as a matter of fact.. I had never seen it done on the islands when we were growing up. However this is a go-to recipe for me when I need my shrimp fix! The natural sweetness of the garlic and the creamy texture you get when you add the chilled butter, is just outstanding.

 

You’ll Need…

1 lb medium shrimp
pinch salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon chilled butter
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (flat leaf)
1 scallion
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 heaping tablespoon diced garlic
pinch black pepper

Side Note: For this recipe I used organic garlic which I secured form a local farmer here in Hamilton and I must admit (been using the same garlic since) that without any doubt.. this is the BEST garlic I’ve ever used. Fleshy, sweet and a unique overall garlic flavor. You can use any garlic you have (fresh) access to, but getting organic garlic is well worth the effort (and price).

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You’ll be surprised how quick and simple this recipe is to put together. Chop the scallion and parsley and finely dice the scotch bonnet pepper as well as the garlic. Clean, devein and wash the shrimp and drain dry.

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Heat the oil in a heavy/wide saucepan on medium heat and go in with the cleaned shrimp. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

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Remember to stir so the shrimp cooks evenly. Now add all the other ingredients except the chilled butter and cook for two minutes. We DO NOT want to burn the garlic, so stir well.

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Turn the heat off (or on very low) the heat and add the chilled butter, stir as you do so you get a rich and creamy sauce.

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The diced scotch bonnet pepper (remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling such hot peppers) is optional, but I quite like the slight kick you get to balance the natural sweetness from the shrimp and garlic. Yes, that gentle 2 minute cooking will allow the garlic to take on a gorgeous sweetness.

This gluten free (use gluten free butter – read label) is best served hot/warm and goes well with pasta and on toasted bread as a sandwich. Tehya and I had had them on ‘hops‘ bread.

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Grilled Stuffed Peppers.

The Ultimate Grilled Stuffed Peppers.

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This past summer our annual Month Of Grilling was a huge success with fans around the world.  One of the featured recipes this year was the grilled stuffed peppers, where I played around with some classic “Caribbean” ingredients to achieve what I believe is a delightful way to do stuffed peppers. Though this recipe was done on the grill, you can easily prepare it in your indoor oven with great success.

 

You’ll Need…

5 bell peppers
3 cups cooked rice (long grain parboiled brown)
2 scallions (chopped)
1/2 medium onion (diced)
1 cup shredded saltfish (salted cod, prepared)
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (diced fine)
1 tomato (diced/seeded)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
1 tablespoon parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

IMPORTANT: Use boneless salted cod and still check to make sure there are no bones as you prepare the salted fish.If you’re doing this recipe gluten free, please pay attention to the cheese (and every ingredient listed) you use as if it’s processed it may have trace amounts of gluten.

* NOTE : To learn how to prepare the salted cod, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-4xn6sFpIQ

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Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the core (seeds etc) and give them a wash and turn over on paper towels to dry. Dice the onion,  scallions and tomato into same size pieces. Then finely chop the parsley, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper. Remember to not include any seeds from the scotch bonnet and wash your hands immediately after with soap and water after handing it. Grate the cheese and set aside. You’ll need to precook the rice in salted water.. I used long grain parboiled brown rice.

Above I have a link to a video showing how to prepare the salted fish (cod in my case). Soak in cool water, then place in a pot topped with water and boil for about 20 minutes Drain, rinse with water and shred. The goal is to remove most of the salt the fish is cured in and to re-hydrate the fish.

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Heat the olive oil in a deep pan on a medium/low heat,  add the diced onion, 3/4 of the scallion, thyme, black pepper, parsley and tomato cook for about 3 minutes on low. Then add the salted cod and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The cod is fully cooked, but we want to get the rich flavors from it in the stuffing.

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Allow the filling to cool a bit, then mix it with the cooked rice in a large bowl. Then add 3/4 of the grated cheese, mix well and get ready to stuff the peppers. As mentioned I did these on the grill so I opted to use my cast iron pan to grill these on. Basically all you have to do is drizzle on some oil (or use cooking spray) and place the peppers on there to be stuffed. TIP: If you find that the peppers don’t sit evenly on the pan, you can cut the bottom of them so they level off.

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As you grill heats up, top each pepper with a bit of the cheese and scallion we reserved.

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Grill indirectly for about 30-40 mins.. be sure to turn the peppers so they cook evenly. My grill was set at about 375 F, the lid was covered and if you’re wondering..  indirect simply means the pan was not directly over the heat source of my grill.

If you’re doing these gluten free stuffed peppers in the oven  - 375 F on the  middle rack and I would recommend covering with tin foil to start, then remove the foil the last 5 minutes of cooking so you get those lovely charred edges. If you want you can also hit the broil setting for 2 minutes.

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I do hope you’re liking the fact that we’re now featuring Caribbean type gluten free recipes (thanks for all your emails). I encourage you to be creative with the stuffing.. even if it means using 2-3 different types of cheese!

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It’s important to note that I didn’t use any salt in this recipe as the remaining salt from the salted fish will be enough to season this perfectly. But you can always taste the stuffing and adjust accordingly. If you want you can dice the bell peppers we trimmed off (top) and add it to the stuffing or you can use them as a lid for presenting these tasty stuffed peppers at your dinner party.

 

 

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Jamaican Callaloo With Shrimp.

Jamaican Callaloo With Shrimp.

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As I’ve discussed in my Cookbook, there’s much debate in the Caribbean when it comes to callaloo. In the southern Caribbean it’s a delicious soup-like dish made with young dasheen bush leaves, flavored with crabs (for the most part) and simmered in coconut milk. However in Jamaica, callaloo is the bush or plant (amaranth) which is prepared in several different ways, but most popular is Jamaican Callaloo With Saltfish.

In this version of cooking Jamaican callaloo ((amaranth, chorai bhagi), we’ll bypass the salted fish and go with some precooked shrimp. However you can certainly use fresh shrimp for even more flavor.

 

You’ll Need…

2 lbs Jamaican Callaloo
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (or olive)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (your fav salt)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 cup small shrimp (pre cooked)
1/2 cup water
1 medium tomato diced
1 scallion
2 sprigs thyme

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Wash, trim and chop the callaloo into ribbons. If using some of the stem, do try to use the tender ones and try to scrape of some of the outer skin. Thinly slice the garlic, chop the onion, scallion and tomato and finely dice the scotch bonnet pepper.

Heat the oil in a wide pan on a medium flame, then go in with the onion, garlic, black pepper and scallion. Drop the heat to low and let that go for about 3-4 minutes.

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It’s now time to add the shrimp (if using frozen-precooked shrimp, wash and squeeze to remove most of the water) , stir well and cook for another 3 minutes. Yes the shrimp is already precooked, so you can easily add them near the end, but I quite like adding them now to enhance the flavor of the dish. If using fresh shrimp, cook for about 3 minutes, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Add back the last 3-4 minutes of cooking.

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Turn the heat up to medium high and go in with all the other ingredients (not the water  or lemon juice yet) and stir well. It may seem at first that your pot is not large enough, but the callaloo will wilt down. After a couple minutes, add the water and cook until tender.

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After about 10-12 minutes, taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Here is where you’ll personalize this dish by checking to see if you like the current texture of it. Some people like their Callaloo very tender, while other like a slight bit of texture to it. In my case it was close to where I like it, so I went in with the lemon juice and turned up the heat to burn off the remaining liquid in the pan.

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The lemon juice will help balance the flavors of this dish and quite honestly elevate it. This dish (please review all the ingredients) can be considered gluten free and if you want to add a bit more flavor you can use coconut milk as a replacement for the water. Not the classic Jamaican callaloo with Saltfish or Chorai bhagi with saltfish as we would call it in Trinidad and Tobago, but I assure you… you’ll love this take on cooking Jamaican callaloo.

 

 

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Taro With Stewed Saltfish Caribbean Comfort Food.

Taro With Stewed Saltfish Caribbean Comfort Food.

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After seeing the price of dasheen at the market, I opted for the much cheaper taro as I had a craving for what we call ground provisions, in the Caribbean. Dasheen, yams, eddoes, sweet potato and cassava all fall under the ‘ground provisions’ umbrella – also known as ‘food’ in Jamaica. The taro is very similar to our beloved dasheen, the main difference being it’s white in color (when peeled) and a bit milder in taste.

 

You’ll Need…

2-3 lbs taro (dasheen)
1/4 teaspoon salt
water for boiling the taro
2 medium tomatoes
3 scallions
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs thyme
3-5 tablespoon olive oil
pinch black pepper
1 onion
1 cup shredded saltfish (salted cod)

To learn how to prepare the salted cod (any dry salted fish) watch this video (click): How To Prepare Saltfish.

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Do wear gloves or coat your hands with some vegetable oil as the sap/starch from peeling the taro can cause some irritation to your hands/fingers. Using a sharp knife or potato peeler, remove the other skin off the taro (discard). Also remove any blemishes and cut off any previously cut areas (like the stem area) to expose the fresh interior. Cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces  and place in a pot covered with water on a high flame. As it comes to a boil add the salt , turn down to a rolling boil and cook until tender. Taro cooks faster than dasheen, so in about 10-15 minutes it will be fully cooked. Pierce with a sharp knife and if there’s no resistance you know it’s fully cooked.

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Drain and set aside as we get to the next step of the recipe..stewing the saltfish!

Prepare the salted fish by boiling in water, drain, rinse with cool water and shred (watch the video mentioned above). Then slice the onion, garlic, scallions and scotch bonnet pepper. Remember you can use more or less scotch bonnet pepper and do wear gloves when handling them (wash your hands with soap and water immediately after).

Heat the olive oil on a medium flame (large sauce pan) and go in with the shredded salted fish. Let that cook for about 3 minutes (low heat) before adding the onion, garlic and black pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes, then add the thyme.

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After 2 minutes add the tomato, scallions and cooked taro. Stir well and cook for another 3-5 minutes to infuse the taro pieces with the stewed salted fish.

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We didn’t add any salt to the stewing of the salted cod as the residual salt from the curing process will be enough to season this dish. If you want you can also add some bell peppers for extra flavor and vibrancy (with the colours). Besides being very delicious, this dish can be considered gluten free as well.

Do serve warm.. btw this is a one-pot dish!

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Sweet Potato Crab Cakes Recipe.

Sweet Potato Crab Cakes Recipe.

If you’ve priced or purchased crab meat from the fish market or grocers you’d know how expensive the stuff can be, so making crab cakes can be a bit hard on your pocket. My love for crab cakes is deep, so I came up with this recipe for using canned crab meat which is very inexpensive. With the fresh herbs, the slight kick from the finely diced scotch bonnet pepper and sweet (and creamy) undertones of the sweet potato, you’ll be quite pleased by these budget friendly crab cakes.

You’ll Need…

1 can crab meat (120g)
pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1 cup bread crumbs
1 lb sweet potato
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon chopped parsely
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (diced finely) – no seeds
1 scallion diced
1 cup veg oil for frying

Notes: You can use 1 egg to bind everything if you find the batter is overly wet or soggy. Remember to drain and squeeze the crab to get rid of water and please don’t don’t use immitation crab nor expensive lump crab.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in half, then boil in salted water until tender. To know if they are fully cooked, pierce with a pairing knife and if there’s no resistance it means they’re cooked. Drain and mash in a deep bowl. As the mashed sweet potato cools, you can finely dice/chop the other ingredients.

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It should be cool now, so go in with all the ingredients, except the crab meat and bread crumbs… mix well.

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Fold in the crab meat, then chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes so everything firms up a bit. Now roll into balls (golf ball size), after-which you’ll need to roll the balls in the bread crumbs, pressing down gently so the crumbs hold on.

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Heat the vegetable oil on medium (olive oil will give it a good flavor as well) in a wide pan, then press down on each crab cake ball to form a sort of patty.

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All you have to do now is fry them on each side until golden brown, drain on paper towels and enjoy!

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I would suggest that after forming the patties that you place them in the fridge to chill and firm up a bit so they hold their shape while frying. These sweet potato crab cakes goes well with the garlic sauce I shared a while back or you can opt for  a ranch dressing you’d normally get at the supermarket.

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Herb Crusted Basa Fillet Done The Caribbean Way.

Herb Crusted Basa Fillet Done The Caribbean Way.

Herb crusted what? I’ll be first to agree that during my childhood days in the Caribbean, you’d never come across such a recipe. But the new generation of chefs and home cooks are experimenting with great success. We had fish four ways growing up.. fried, curry, stew and in fish broth (pronounced broff). Mom was a traditionalist and her dishes reflected the mentoring she got from her mother and aunts before her.

Basa (Pangasius bocourt, similar to catfish) is one of the most inexpensive fish you can get in our city at the various Asian markets and the good part is .. they are fillets. So you don’t have to worry about bones especially if you want to get your children eating fish.

 

You’ll Need…

2 Basa Fillets

Herb crust…

2 slices of bread (white bread with crust removed)
1 tablespoon parsley
1 scallion
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme (fresh)
dill optional
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

dressing…

1  1/2 tablespoon mayo
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper

* You’ll also need about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Remember to wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers (wash your hands with soap immediately after) and don’t use any of the seeds.

Remove the crust off the bread (and break into smaller pieces) , give the scotch bonnet, scallion and parsley a rough chop and remove the tiny leaves off the thyme stem. Add it all to a food processor and blitz until you have a crumbly consistency. Add in the salt, melted butter and grate in some lemon zest. Pulse a couple times and get ready to dress the fish.

Wash and pat the basa fillets dry with paper towels, then drizzle on some olive oil on a parchment lined baking tray and place the filets on it (no oil on the fish itself). The oil will add subtle flavor and prevent the fillets from sticking as it cooks in the oven. Add a bit more oil if using tin foil instead of parchment paper. Preheat your oven at 375 F.

As the oven comes to temperature lets give the fish some more flavor and help keep it moist when it’s done doing it’s thing in the oven. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients mentioned for the dressing, then lather it onto both pieces of fish.

I simply used the back of a spoon to paste this creamy sauce over the Basa fillets. Now it’s time to get crusty! Pour half of the herb crust we made over each fish and gently press down on it so it holds on the creamy dressing.

In the 375 F oven, middle rack for about 15-20 minutes.. depending on how thick your fillets are and how well done you like your fish.

Not you conventional Caribbean fish recipe, but I assure you it’ will be a ‘go-to’ recipe the very first time you give it a try. The herb crust will certainly stand out and the fish itself will be tender and moist from that lovely dressing we started off with.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated!

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Simple Oven Jerk Fish Recipe.

Simple Oven Jerk Fish Recipe.

With Easter around the corner I’ve had several requests for fish recipes, so I thought I’d share a simple technique for making Jamaican style jerk snapper (fish), but with store bought jerk marinade and in your oven. I agree that making your own jerk marinade is much better and using a grill with coals and pimento wood is what true Jamaican jerk is all about. However this is all about convenience and exciting flavors.

 

You’ll Need…

2-4 lbs Red Snapper
1/2 lime or lemon (for washing the fish)
1 heaping tablespoon of jerk marinade
1 tablespoon orange juice
pinch salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon veg oil

* Use your favorite store purchased jerk marinade.

Scale, trim (gut) and wash the fish with the juice of 1/2 lime or lemon.. rinse with cool water and pat dry. Cut two slits on the back (both sides) of each fish to allow for the jerk marinade to penetrate and do all-kinda good things. Stuff the cavity of each fish with a bit of thyme and scallions (bruise or crush with your knife to release the flavors) and sprinkle a bit of salt and black pepper.

In a small bowl mix the jerk marinade (use your fav) and orange juice, then brush it onto both sides of each fish. Try to get some in the cuts we made. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for about 1/2 hour (max 1 hr as the marinade will start to cook the fish after that).

Now preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Drizzle on the veg oil so the fish won’t stick as it does it’s thing in the oven. Set the baking tray on the middle rack in your oven and let it go for about 15 minutes. Then flip over and cook for another 8-10 minutes. This depends on how thick your fish are and how well done you like your fish.

There you go, a simple but exciting jerk fish done in your oven.. no need for an outdoor grill. Remember if you’re serving this to kids be mindful of the bones of the fish. If you decide to use fish fillets, try to get some with the skin still on and reduce the cooking time (again, depending on the thickness of the fillets) by about 1/2.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated!

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Coconut Curry Mussels Done The Caribbean Way.

Coconut Curry Mussels Done The Caribbean Way.

Very much like the ‘Curry Lobster” recipe I shared a while back, Mussels is not something you’ll find normally being prepared in the Caribbean, unless it’s at one of the many high end restaurants we have catering to a mainly tourist clientele. This curry mussels recipe is basically my take on a shellfish which is readily available in Canada.. where we presently call home. I’m sure you’ve heard of PEI mussels!

 

You’ll Need

2 lbs mussels
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 Shallot (minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 large tomato diced
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 scallion
1 cup beer – optional
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil

Note: I like using a good Caribbean lager beer… like Carib! But you can use any beer you enjoy. I used my fav madras curry blend out of the Caribbean, but you can certainly use whichever curry you enjoy.

Mussel Tip! Their shells should be tightly closed when you buy them, or they should close when you tap them. They will open their shells to try and cool themselves off as they cook, so no open shells at the end of cooking means they were dead to start, and probably not safe to eat.

See the tip above for selecting your mussels. Wash under cool water, remove any debris or strings attached to the mussels and get ready to cook. Dice the tomato, scallion, garlic and shallot. Remember to wear gloves when handling the scotch bonnet peppers, wash your hands immediately after with soap and water and don’t include any of the seeds of the pepper.

In a wide saucepan heat the oil on a medium flame, then add the shallot and garlic. As we’ve done in other curry recipes, turn the heat down to low to help gently cook the garlic and shallot for that exciting base of flavor.

After about 3-4 minutes, go in with the curry powder (low heat still) and cook for another 3 minutes. This will toast the curry to really bring out the flavors of the spices which make up the curry blend. Then add the diced scallion, turn up the heat to high and go in with the mussels.

Top with the finely diced scotch bonnet pepper, coconut milk, salt, tomato, black pepper and beer (stir well). Bring to a quick boil and cook for about 4-5 minutes (until the mussels open).

I like to finish this off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (not mentioned in the ingredient list as it’s a personal choice) and top with the chopped cilantro. The sauce will be thin compared to other curry dishes we’ve prepared before, so don’t think it’s soupy and a mistake. Get some good bread and tuck in for real flavor.

The sauce will be thin compared to other curry dishes we’ve prepared before, so don’t think it’s soupy and a mistake. Get some good bread and tuck in for real flavor.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Caribbean Style Tuna Sandwich Spread.

Caribbean Style Tuna Sandwich Spread.

During my early years in Canada, mine was the typical immigrant story. Little money, hard work with long hours (school in my case) and quick meals. This meant eating a lot of what we would we would call “bachie’ (short for bachelor) food.. mostly canned fish and meats which were fast to put together and paired with crackers and/or bread. I ate canned tuna, salmon and corned beef in various forms and to be quite honest, got very creative at it. This is one such recipe. Where typical tuna salad or spread is given a serious Caribbean makeover!

 

You’ll Need…

2 cans tuna
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon mayo
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced cucumber
1 scallion diced
1/2 avocado diced
1/4 lemon (juice)
1 seasoning pepper diced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon peppersauce (hot sauce)

* There’s actually no cooking involved, but you will need a few minutes to dice everything to assemble.


I purchased tuna packed  in water, so after opening the cans, I tried my best to squeeze out all the liquid as I could. Then flaked it into small pieces (don’t overwork or it will become mush) in a large bowl.

Finely dice the onion, scallion, celery, cucumber (peel and deseed) and seasoning pepper (aka pimento pepper), then add it to the bowl with the flaked tuna. Now go in with the black pepper, pepper sauce (your fav hot sauce or finely diced scotch bonnet pepper) and mayo. Give it a good mix to incorporate all the ingredients.

After mixing well, top with the cubed avocado and before mixing, squeeze in the lemon juice on top of the avocado so along with adding a nice citrus punch, it will prevent the avocado from going discolored.

You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt as I’m trying to cut back on my salt intake and I find that canned tuna is packed with a high amount of sodium. Please taste and adjust accordingly. Now gently fold in the avocado so as not to overly crush the delicate pieces… squeeze in some more lemon juice if you like!

Now get your favorite bread ready for a what I promise is a unique Caribbean style tuna sandwich. Place on crackers and pass around at your next party… watch you guests go into a feeding frenzy! Go ahead..take all the credit!

Store in the fridge if you make it in advance… and it will remain fine for a couple days in a sealed contained as long as it’s in the fridge. You can also use this to top some Boston lettuce and other greens for what I believe is a stunning tuna salad.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Baby Pak Choi With Salted Cod The Caribbean Way.

Baby Pak Choi With Salted Cod The Caribbean Way.

One of my favorite dishes growing up on the islands was when mom would make pak choi with leftover stewed pork. The slight crunch from the pak choi (not over-cooked) combined with the flavors brought to the game by the tender pieces of stewed pork with hints of ginger.. I may have to get that one done very soon as I now have a craving. Back to the pak choi with salted fish recipe… This version is just as tasty, as I find that the bits of salted cod brings it’s own unique flavor to the finished dish.

You’ll notice that I added this recipe to the vegetarian section as the salted fish can easily be omitted with great results. I would just double up on the onion and garlic for added flavor.

You’ll Need…

2 lb baby pak choi
1 cup prepared salted cod
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 large onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
2 tablespoon olive oil

Optional – Cashews and/or sliced almonds

Double wash the pak choi as there’s usually sand/dirt between the stems and drain, then chop into 1/4 inch pieces (cut across into ribbons).  You’ll need to boil the salted fish (cod) then rinse and shred. The boiling will remove most of the salt it was cured in and help hydrate it a bit. If you don’t boil the salted fish in water before using it will be too salty for use. Watch this video if you’re unfamiliar with working with salted fish (click link) : How To Prepare Salted Fish. Try to purchase boned salted fish to avoid having to pick out the tiny bones.. but still keep an eye out for any bones which may still be present in boned saltfish.

Now heat the oil on a medium flame in a wide pan and add the diced garlic and onion. Reduce the heat to low and slowly cook for 3-5 minutes. Then toss in the bits of salted cod (any dry salted fish) as well as the black pepper and with the heat still on low cook for another 2-3 minutes The goal here is to get a ton of flavor created before adding the chopped pak choi.

Raise the heat to medium and start adding the chopped pak choi to the pot. It will wilt as it cooks so don’t get alarmed when you get the feeling it won’t all fit in your pan. Top with the scotch bonnet pepper and stir well. Do not cover the pot or you’ll risk having too much moisture/liquid form.

Cook with the pan uncovered for 5-7 minutes or until you get the desired texture you like with your pak choi. I like it with a slight crunch. You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt to the dish as the remaining salt from the salted cod will be enough to season this properly.. but do taste and adjust accordingly.

If you want to add some cashews or sliced almonds, you can do so the final 2 minutes of cooking. This will add a lot of texture to the dish (and protein). Remember when working with scotch bonnet (or any hot pepper) to wear gloves if your skin is sensitive and do wash your hands with soap and water immediately after. Also note that the scotch bonnet is optional and do not include the pepper’s seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat. The seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds is where the majority of heat will be.

This is a wonderful dish to have with steamed or boiled rice, works well with roti and other flat breads and if all fails.. make a sandwich with it. Superb!  Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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The Best Brussels Sprouts Recipe Ever – A Caribbean Twist!

The Best Brussels Sprouts Recipe Ever – A Caribbean Twist!

Brussels sprouts is one ingredient you won’t necessarily get in the Caribbean, unless it’s in a package in the frozen section of the grocery store. However, we’ve perfected the art of cooking cabbage so I thought I’d use one of the methods we employ to prepare cabbage and adapt it for brussels sprouts. The goal was to come up with a recipe which will encourage my family (and yours) to at least give brussels sprouts a try. Gone are the days of bland soggy steamed sprouts!

 

You’ll Need….

1 lb brussels sprouts
3/4 cup prepared salted fish (cod – shredded)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 table spoon olive oil
1 pimento pepper (aka seasoning pepper)
2 birds eye pepper (or 1/4 scotch bonnet)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Note: I used my fav curry powder, a madras blend out of the Caribbean. If using scotch bonnet peppers, don not use any of the seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat.

Wash the sprouts with cool water, pat dry, trim off  any stems and cut each one in half. Also dice the garlic, seasoning pepper and onion.

Heat the oil on a medium flame and add the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

Now add the salted cod bits (remember to prepare the salted cod by boiling in water to remove excess salt and to rehydrate – watch this video: How To Prepare Salted Fish) and cook for another 3 minutes.

You’ll now have a wonderful flavor base with the salted cod, garlic and onion. Toss in the seasoning pepper and bird’s eye pepper and cook or 1 minute to release it’s wonderful oil… then add all the other ingredients (including the brussels sprouts) and give it a good stir. With your heat still on low, cook for 12-15 minutes. You will get some golden edges on the brussels sprouts.. that’s what we want. Do NOT cover the pot or you’ll welcome moisture and it will go soggy.

You’ll notice that I didn’t add any salt to the dish as the salted cod will still have enough salt (even after we boil it), but do taste and adjust as your tolerance for salt will be different than mine. Squeeze in the lemon juice at the end to brighten up the entire dish and serve warm.

Dare I say that this will be the BEST brussels sprouts you and your family have ever tasted? I recall being invited to a friend’s home when I first move to Canada for dinner and the wet socks scent coming out of the serving dish with the brussels sprouts had me rethinking why I accepted his invitation. Moms could COOK (I later found out), but that wet socks scent stayed with me for years!

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. Oh yea! Leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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How To Cook Curry Lobster The Caribbean Way.

How To Cook Curry Lobster The Caribbean Way.

If I were to count using my fingers the amount of times this dish was cooked in our home growing up, I’d have room left to count 10 other dishes. Curry lobster (or lobster curry as our Guyanese cousins say) never made it to our dinner table as far as I could remember. However curry crabs (simmered in freshly made coconut milk)  served with flour dumplings was a regular thing. Let’s mimic that curry crab recipe, with the use of these succulent lobster pieces for what could only be described as the ultimate curry lobster.

Quick lobster note… lobsters found in the tropical waters of the Caribbean are different than the ones most North Americans are familiar with (like Maine lobsters). The Caribbean lobster tend to be a bit more boney (spiny), there’s a subtle difference in taste and they have no claws. I remember snorkeling in the pristine waters of Tobago (Buccoo Reef) a few years back and catching my first ever spiny lobster. With no means of sparking up a fire and cooking it.. let’s just say that was the last time a lobster got away from me!

 

You’ll Need…

2 lobsters (about 3lbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tomato
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
1/4 teaspoon roasted geera (cumin)
1/4 teaspoon amchar massala (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 cup water

2 tablespoon veg oil
3 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup water to cook the curry
1/4 onion for cooking curry

Wash, clean and cut the lobster into pieces. I used a Maine lobster, so I had claws (crack then a few places for the marinade and curry to do it’s thing from the inside -out)…  season with the salt, tomato, garlic , onion, garlic, green seasoning, amchar massala, black pepper, roasted geera, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper.  Please allow this to marinate for at least 2 hrs in the fridge. Remember to take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you’re ready to start the curry, so it comes back to room temp before cooking.

Heat the oil in a deep pot on medium heat and add the diced 1/4 onion. Lower the heat to low and let it cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the curry powder and 1/4 cup of water to form a sort of thick paste. Pour in the curry mix and cook on low for about 3-5 minutes, until it starts to cook down, go grainy and start to clump. (see images below)

The goal here is to cook off the raw curry taste and to really intensify the overall curry flavors. Turn up your heat if you find that it’s not cooking down. You should have a thick paste, with signs of the vegetable oil you started off with.  If you’ve not already done so, turn the heat up to medium high and start adding the marinated lobster pieces to the pot, stirring as you do to pick up all that great curry flavors from the bottom of the pot. Try to coat all the pieces of the lobster with the curry base we created. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. It will release it’s own juices. Let that simmer for a couple minutes, then remove the lid and turn up the heat.

The goal now is to intensify the combined flavors of the curry, seasonings and lobster. Burn off any liquid. In the same bowl you marinated the lobster, pour in the 1 cup of water and stir to pick up all remaining marinade. Pour in the water (mixed with any remaining marinade) into the pot and bring to a boil.

The lobster will go a brilliant red/orange color as it cooks and stand out brilliantly against the rich greenish color of the curry sauce. With the pot uncovered, let that cook for another 4-6 minutes or until the lobster is cooked to your liking (try to not overcook). Personalize this curry lobster by tasting for salt and adjusting accordingly and the the gravy or sauce should be as thick as you like.

Since I had my mom’s help in cooking this tasty curry lobster, she usually finishes off her curry dishes with a topping of finely chopped shado beni (aka culantro, chadon beni or bandanya), if you can’t source shado beni, cilantro works great. Add when you turn off the stove.

You can get creative by using coconut milk instead of the 1 cup of water, but I personally find that it mellows the overall taste too much and takes away from the lovey flavors of the lobster itself.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Bodi Stewed In Coconut Milk And Salted Cod.

Bodi Stewed In Coconut Milk And Salted Cod.

As a young fella on the islands I fondly remember helping our mom pick (harvest) the mature bodi (bora, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean) which grew on the bamboo branches our dad would place next to the plants for the vine to spread. Something about the long beans cascading down like lengthened streams of water falling from the heavens attracted my attention. Especially when we had a good crop and the beans were the length of long shoe laces. However you had to be careful when picking the bodi when there were still flowers on the vine, as they attracted bees who did their thing pollinating so we could have a continuous crop.

If you can’t source bodi (bora in Guyana) french beans, string beans or any of your favorite green beans will work for this recipe. The one thing you will have to note though is the cooking time for the beans you select. Bodi is a bit tough so it takes about 5-10 minutes longer to cook than other beans.

You’ll Need…

1 bundle bodi (about 1lb)
3 cloves garlic (diced)
2 tablespoon olive oil (veg oil works great as well)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 medium onion (sliced)
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (any spicy pepper)
dash black pepper
1 cup shredded salted cod
8 cherry tomatoes

* Prep salted fish – soak – boil – drain and shred – please use boned salted fish for less work. Click here >> How To Prepare Salted Fish <<<  to learn how to prepare saltfish for use.

Heat the oil on a medium heat, then add the salted fish and cook on low for about 3 minutes to create a lovely base of flavour. Then add the garlic and onion and cook for another 3 minutes on low heat. Stir well.

While this cook wash the bodi, then trim off about 1/4 inch off both ends and discard. Now cut them into 1 – 1.5 inch pieces.

Turn the heat up to medium/high, add the trimmed bodi as well as the other ingredients (except the tomatoes) and bring to a simmer.

Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for about 20 minutes. After-which remove the lid, taste for salt (adjust accordingly to your taste) and turn the heat up to burn off all excess liquid.Should not have any liquid when done.

You will notice that the bodi will not have the brilliant green color you started off with (normal) and you can personalize this by cooking to the consistency you like as I know many people who like their beans with a little crunch to them. Add the tomato (toss), turn the heat off and cover the pot. The residual heat will gently cook the tomato.

If you want to make this fully vegetarian you can leave out the salted fish and start by gently cooking the onion and garlic and proceed from there (for extra flavor you can add a vegetable stock cube). And remember if you can’t source bodi, you can use your favorite green bean with great results. To stretch this dish for more people you can add some cubed potato, but do remember to adjust the amount of salt you add.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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A Classic Caribbean Summer Salad From My Garden.

A Classic Caribbean Summer Salad From My Garden.

After posting the recipe video for this on the Cooking Channel, I got an email from a viewer saying “that’s nothing but saltfish buljol”. Let’s look at this comment for a brief minute before we get to the actual recipe. NO Absolutely NOT!  Yes, there are ingredients in this recipe which may mimic our beloved saltifsh buljol, but when I think buljol I want the key ingredient or ‘star’ of the show to be salted fish. In a good saltfish buljol the salad itself is built around the salted fish, as you want that to shine through. In my recipe below you’ll notice that the salted fish is simply used for additional texture and flavor.

 

You’ll Need…

3 medium sized cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 birds eye peppers
1/4 cup sliced red onions
2 cups cherry tomatoes (or any tomato you have)
1/2 cup prepared salted cod
pinch fresh ground black pepper

To learn how to prepare salted fish (like salted cod) for use, watch this video: How To Prepare Saltfish.

This is so easy you’ll wonder why you’ve never made this before. Basically all you have to do is wash, peel and chop the vegetables. Then assemble in a bowl, top with the olive oil and lemon juice and toss. You’ll notice that I didn’t use any salt as the residual salt from teh saltfish will be enough to balance things.

Tips.

1. If you’re concerned about the raw heat of the peppers, do not use as much as I did and try not to use any seeds. This is where most of that heat resides.

2. To make this vegetarian leave out the salted fish, but remember to add some sea salt (according to your taste).

3. Can be made a couple hours in advance if you’re having guests over and need time to focus on other dishes.

Fresh ingredients from my garden… can’t tell you how much I loved this salad, especially since it was the reward for my work earlier in the spring. This salad has that true Caribbean vibe and is enough for about 6 people as a starter.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Caribbean Style Popcorn Shrimp Recipe.

Caribbean Style Popcorn Shrimp Recipe.

After just one bite of Popeye’s popcorn shrimp many years ago I knew I had to find my own version of making this delicious snack. I needed something where I would control the ingredients used and as a son of the Caribbean soil, I knew it had to reflect our love for seafood and passion for rich flavors. But don’t take my word for it, give the recipe a test drive!

 

You’ll Need…

3 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs (see note below)
1 tablespoon Caribbean green seasoning
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (chopped finely)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
pinch teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Note: I like using crushed salted crackers instead of the bread crumbs.

Peel, devein and wash the shrimp (Video demo how to peel and devein shrimp). Then season with the Caribbean Green Seasoning, salt, crushed garlic, black pepper and finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper. Allow this to marinate for 10 minutes.

As the shrimp marinates, prepare the breading station. In a bowl place the bread crumbs (I like using crushed salted crackers as I find the texture and airiness is much better) , in another bowl you’ll have the flour and the final bowl you’ll whisk together the milk and egg.

Since these popcorn shrimp cooks very fast I suggest you bread all of them before you start frying. Each shrimp – dust in the flour, then the egg mixture, then roll in the bread crumbs (you may need to press them down into the bread crumbs a bit) and set aside.

Basically all you have to do now is deep or shallow fry these until they are golden brown. With my flame on medium/high (oil hot) I gently placed each shrimp (do in 2 batches to not over-crowd the pan) and cooked them for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Fish them out and place on paper towels to try and absorb some of the excess oil.

Serve warm with some Caribbean pepper sauce or any sort of dip you like using. (top with some chopped parsley and lemon wedges to make the dish look even more appetizing)

There’s enough popcorn shrimp here for 5 people as a snack and the recipe can easily be doubled if needs be. One bite and you’ll never go back to Popeye’s or anywhere else that serves popcorn shrimp.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Grilled Sea Bass Stuffed With Jamaican Callaloo.

Grilled Sea Bass Stuffed With Jamaican Callaloo.

You knew I’d be ending this year’s month of grilling with a truly wicked recipe.. one that’s very dear to me. This grilled stuffed fish is one of those dishes we try to make at least once a year (summer) when my best friends and I meet. One from Dominica, another from Jamaica and myself the Trinbagonian, connect in a sort of mystical way as we dive into our individual red snapper stuffed with Jamaican callaloo (amaranth, spinach or chorai bhagi) along with some cold beverages. The only talking is after we’re good and stuffed and each of us eying the last piece of boiled sweet potato or fried plantain.

You’ll Need…

2 Sea bass * (medium sized)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 lime
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper diced finely
1 scallion

Stuffing

3 cups Jamaican callaloo
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper

Notes: I much prefer using red snapper for this dish, but the prices were too high for my wallet (the reality of not living in the Caribbean). If you can’t source Jamaican callaloo, you can use spinach or any of your favorite greens (Swiss Chard, Pak Choi.. collard greens?).

 

Wash, trim and chop the callaloo into 1/2  inch pieces and allow to drain dry in a colander. Heat the olive oil on a medium flame then add the sliced garlic, onion and thyme. Turn the heat down to low and let that soften up for a couple minutes. Now add the cut callaloo and top with the salt, black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper and coconut milk. Turn the heat up to bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and cook with the pot uncovered for about 7-10 minutes.

It will wilt down and go a bit darker in colour.. that’s normal. If there’s any residual liquid in the pot after 7 minutes, turn up the heat and burn it off. Then set aside allow to cool for stuffing the fish.

As it cools, lets make the seasoned oil for adding extra flavor to the fish as it grills.

In a deep bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley,chopped scallion, juice of a lime and finely diced scotch bonnet pepper. Slice the onion in rings and set aside.

Make sure your fish is scaled, washed and dry. Cut a couple slits (not too deep) across the belly of the fish so some of the seasoned oil can get in to do it’s thing. Then spread a (double) sheet of tin foil and brush some of the seasoned oil where the fish will be placed. Now add some of the onion rings and place the fish on top of that. Take 1/2 of the now cooled cooked callaloo and stuff the cavity of the fish. Then pour some of the seasoned oil on top of the fish (spoon it on) and top with a few of the onion rings. Wrap the tin foil to encase the fish and create a package.Repeat with the next fish!

It’s just a matter of grilling as you would normally grill fish. In my case I did it over a charcoal fire (love the flavors you get) but you can also use a propane grill or if you don’t have a grill.. the oven (about 375 F for about 25-30 minutes). I grilled away from direct flame (so indirect heat) and it took about 30 minutes or so (the last 4 minutes I placed the packages over direct heat to ensure I get a flaky fish when it was done cooking).

Do remember to be gentle when flipping them and when it’s done cooking allow to cool for a minute or two or risk getting burned when you open the packages as steam will form.

Serve with some lemon or lime slices and I love having this with boiled sweet potato or steam okras!

I do hope you enjoy this years month of grilling and I look forward to bringing you some more exciting dishes off the grill in July 2014! BTW, do you have any sort of recipe or tradition in place for when you meet with your dearest friends.. friends like mine who took the place of my siblings when I moved to Canada many moons ago?

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Fiery Scotch Bonnet Honey Grilled Shrimp.

Fiery Scotch Bonnet Honey Grilled Shrimp.

As we begin July’s month of grilling as we’ve done in the past, I thought I’d start off with a dish which is very easy to prepare and has the wonderful flavors of the Caribbean in every bite. Don’t be intimidated with the amount of scotch bonnet pepper we used as it’s well balanced with the earthy sweetness of the honey. If Tehya can come upstairs with clean bamboo skewers in hand and say “dad this shrimp was on point!”, I’m sure you can handle the little Caribbean sunshine of it all.

 

You’ll need…

1 pound large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined (16-20)
2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon  olive oil
2 Scotch Bonnet pepper, diced
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 scallion chopped finely

* pinch of sea salt (or any salt you have)

Notes: Wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers and do remember to wash your hands immediately after with soap and water. Do NOT include any of the seeds and white membrane surround the seeds if you’re overly concerned about the raw heat.

 

If you’re not sure how to peel and devein shrimp, watch this video…

 

There are really just two steps to preparing this dish (marinate and grill).. So let’s start off by marinating the shrimp. In a strong zipper bag or plastic container, place the cleaned shrimp and all the other ingredients. Give it a good toss and store it in the fridge for one hour.

As the shrimp marinates, I’d recommend soaking the bamboo skewers in water to help prevent them from burning while on the grill. After one hour, it’s just a matter of threading the shrimp onto the skewers and heading out to a relatively hot grill. If you have a grill pan, you can certainly make these indoors on your stove.

When I cleaned my shrimp I left a little bit of the tail/shell on, just for presentation purposes.. the choice is yours.

Lightly grease your grill surface to prevent sticking (I used cooking spray, but you can dampen a paper towel with vegetable oil and brush) then place the skewers on (medium/low flame) on one side for 3-4 minutes.

After which you’ll then flip them over and cook for another couple minutes. Try not to over-cook them and pay attention to any flare-ups which may cause them to burn. The lid of my grill was covered during the grilling process . Remember they will continue cooking with its residual heat after removing off the direct flame, so factor that in so you don’t end up with rubbery shrimp at the end.

Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and enjoy! I got 5 skewers with the one lb of shrimp and that’s pretty much enough for 5 people (1 skewer had only 2 shrimp though). Your guests will be raving after just one bite, so I would definitely double up on the recipe (just the shrimp as there will be enough marinade) to accommodate their immediate addiction.

Don’t forget to check back all of this month for more exciting and taste-bud challenging recipes off the grill!

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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Saltfish (salted cod) Stir Fry Recipe.

Saltfish (salted cod) Stir Fry Recipe.

In the past we’ve used beef and shrimp as the base for delightful stir fry Caribbean style, but there’s no reason why we can’t use one of the most popular ingredients in the Caribbean with similar or dare I say better results. Saltfish (dry slated cod or other white fish) is a much revered ingredient throughout the Caribbean, so using it to add flavor to a quick stir fry came quite natural.

 

You’ll Need…

3/4 cup salted fish (flaked)
1 cup carrots (julienne)
2 cups cabbage
1.5 cups bell peppers (use any color you like)
2 scallions
1 medium onion
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper

Notes: You’ll need to prepare the salted fish before using. Cover with water in a  pot and boil for about 25 minutes. Drain, rinse (squeeze dry) and shred/flake. I usually get boned saltfish so I don’t have to worry about the tiny bones, but do keep an eye out for any which may still be present.

Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Add the salted fish and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the onion, ginger, thyme, carrots and bell peppers.

After 3 minutes (be sure to keep stirring) add the cabbage, soy sauce, black pepper and scotch bonnet pepper (don’t use any seeds). Mix well!

Here’s where you’ll personalize the dish.. I cooked it for 3 minutes after adding the cabbage as I like a little crunch on my vegetables (especially cabbage) but you can cook longer if you wish. Top with the scallions and get ready to serve.

You’ll notice that we didn’t add any salt to this dish as the slated fish will still have a trace amount of salt and the soy sauce will also help finish seasoning the dish. I would recommend serving this as soon as you’re done, so you get the full freshness of the vegetables. In less than7 minutes, you’ll have a wonderful dish to serve your family. BTW, this saltfish stir fry makes delicious sandwiches.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the latest cooking videos, connect with me on twitter and join our community on facebook. oh yea! leave me a comment below – it’s appreciated.

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