With the natural abundance of fruits we have in the Caribbean I'm surprised we didn't have a wider jam and jellies culture, when I was a kid on the islands. To be honest, the only jam mom would make was guava, sour cherry and Pommecythere (ambarella). However with all the artisan -like initiatives lately, we're seeing more and more creative use of our fruits. We've come to realize that we can still enjoy tropical fruits when it's out of season. If you're from the Caribbean you'll know exactly what I mean when I say we eat 'seasonally'... take sorrel for example. We only drink sorrel at Christmas time. Why? In this recipe we'll take two of the most common topical fruits and make what I believe is the perfect marriage of flavors and texture.
With the increase in demand for both vegetarian and gluten free recipes, I thought I'd take one of the most traditional dishes of the Southern Caribbean and remove a key ingredient - meat! Meat lovers can tune in here for the Chicken pelau video. This one pot dish was a must whenever we'd spend a day at the beach, go to the Oval to watch touring cricket teams and whenever pigeon peas was in season. Back then freshly shelled peas were used, but today living in North America I have no choice but to reach for the canned stuff. I assure you, you won't know there isn't meat in this dish when it's done 'bubblin' and you serve yourself a plate.
Most people who are new to Caribbean cuisine at one point or the other, always end up trying to make Jamaican style rice and peas (peas and rice?). Sadly if you're not seasoned at making rice and peas, it can be a bit challenging. You always risk ending up with rice which is overcooked and soggy. With this in mind, I decided to share a fool-proof way of cooking Jamaican rice and peas, with the same flavors and texture you'd get from the conventional method of cooking this dish. However we'll employ the use of a rice cooker!
I was recently challenged to put together a coconut rice recipe, however the recipe must be foolproof. According to the person who emailed me, they have a difficult time cooking rice as it usually ends up a messy mush in the pot or under-cooked. They were looking for perfectly cooked coconut rice, grainy in texture and rich in Caribbean coconut flavors. Being a rice dish I thought it would be a good time to also have it appeal to vegetarians and friends on a gluten free diet at the same time.
One of the fondest memories I have growing up on the islands was corn season. We always had a small patch of corn planted among the pigeon peas at the back of our home, so come harvest time, we'd indulge is some of the sweetest corn one could imagine.
Where did the taste, flavor and scent of tomatoes go? As a kid on the islands I remember helping mom and dad in the garden, which meant getting between the tomato bushes during harvest time to pick those lovely beauties off the tree (yes, I’ve had a love affair with tomatoes since as early as […]
I’ve noticed the past few months that there’s been an incredible amount of requests for more vegetarian and gluten free type recipes. As you may or may not know, a vast majority of the food we cook in the Caribbean are naturally gluten free and with the abundance of fresh vegetables, we’ve mastered vegetarian cooking […]
Collard Green or collards is not native to the Caribbean, so it’s not something we would refer to as being traditional. However, with our love for dasheen bush, spinach, Jamaican callaloo (chorai), Bok Choi and just about every other green there is, it’s natural that collards will find a loving home in my kitchen. If I […]
If you’re looking for a way to add a wicked punch of flavor to boring cauliflower, look no further. Along with the wonderful flavors of a good Caribbean style curry, this recipe is also vegetarian and can be done gluten free (check your curry powder to ensure there’s no gluten-flour additive in it). Based on […]
As I’ve indicated in the past, I’m addicted to avocados or zabouca and/or pear as it’s also known in the Caribbean. However the variety of avocado grown in the Caribbean is much different than the ones you’d get from California, Mexico and other Central American countries. Ours are much bigger, different texture (less creamy and more cheese […]