As many of you may know, I'm obsessed with cooking on an outdoor fire/grill/BBQ, so during the winter months I'm always looking for ways to recreate those same flavors indoors. YES I do brave the harsh Canadian winters and make use of my propane grill in the garage, but when temps hit below -40 C (with the windchill), iman not going outside. This recipe is a sort of tribute to Canada and the flavors of fall, while still delivering a unique Jamaican Jerk element.
Curry Crab and Dumplings is one of the most iconic dishes on our sister island of Tobago. If you've ever had the pleasure of hitting the beach at Store Bay (where you also catch the glass bottom boats to Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool), you've surely walked pass many of the food vendors selling this classic curry dish. While I've shared this recipe before, I was asked via Instagram to share a simplified version that's easy to prepare and just as tasty as the classic I shared about 4 years ago.
Here's another one of those classic soups you'll find being made on a Saturday throughout the Caribbean, with each household putting their own personal twist on things. While it's loving known as Red Peas Soup, the key ingredient in most cases is usually red beans (Kidney Beans). And though in this recipe I didn't use any ground provisions (I explain more in the demo video) it's also customary to add stewing beef and/or smoked meats as well. I went pretty basic to keep it simple for you to duplicate, while giving you maximum flavor and heartiness.
This roast chicken takes me back to my childhood days visiting my godfather in Princess Town (Trinidad). His chef would usually prepare this for us for lunch... served with steaming bowls of white rice and stir-fried cabbage, carrots and bell peppers. I still remember the fear which would come over me when his massive Great Dane named "Buster" would come begging for food from me. Buster was so BIG, it's rumored that as a kid I could easily ride him like a pony.
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.
As a kid I never had much love for this dish, but as I grew older (and moved away from home / the Caribbean), Corn Cou Cou became a fave of mine. Since mom could never convince us to eat corn Cou Cou it was rarely ever made in our home, except for the odd time she would make it for dad.. usually served with stew fish. While the corn meal and okra are the 'constant' ingredients in Cou Cou, you'll find that the technique and supporting cast of ingredients will differ as you visit kitchens across the Caribbean.
You'll notice that I'm referring to all the 'greens' as spinach in this recipe, so kindly bear with me. I had good crops of Swiss Chard, Jamaican Callaloo (chorai bhagi) and Kale in my garden this past summer, so it was only natural that I did this dish.A dish mom would make for us, however she would use dasheen bush (tender leaves of the dasheen plant) and there were times she would add a bit of cooked yellow split peas to the mix (she had a name for that dish which I can't recall at the moment).
This is one fella you can take out of the Caribbean, but you can never take the "Caribbean" out of him. I've had the opportunity to dine in various countries / restaurants and while many of the dishes I've experienced we're definitely tasty, I will always head back 'home' to the islands when I need something comforting. Such is the case when I eat dishes containing yam, dasheen, green banana, eddoes, cassava and other ingredients we refer to as being 'provision'. I'll always remember weekends when mom would prepare this dish for me, my brother and dad.. my sisters we're somewhat picky eaters.
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.
This is definitely one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood. Seafood was our mortal enemy (with the exception of fried King Fish) of ours when we were kids, however this fried dried curry shrimp was something we always requested from mom. Normally served with hot-out-the oven coconut bake. Unlike traditional curry shrimp where you'd normally have a gravy or sauce and sometimes you'd find pieces of potato in the mix, this curry shrimp is all about that rich and intense curry flavor.