Here's one of those classic Caribbean curry dishes done a little different, to free up your time in the kitchen. Curry Duck is a hit on the islands, especially in Trinidad and Tobago where a large part of the population is of East Indian heritage (same can be said for Guyana as well) The duck of choice when making this type of curry is the Muscovy (Cairina moschata is a large duck native to Mexico, Central, and South America), which is traditionally raised by many village folks and farms for resale.
While we use the same ingredients and for the most part cook similar dishes, you'll find that as you travel across the West Indies the technique we employ on each island differs. That is exactly the case with one of the most famous dishes coming out of the Caribbean, Curry Goat. A curry goat from Trinidad and Tobago will most certainly be different than one from Grenada and just as unique as one done in a Guyanese or Haitian home. I've shared several methods of cooking curry goat so far, but it seems we've not had a go at a Jamaican version, until now.
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.
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.
Pumpkin and shrimp are two things mom struggled to get us to eat as kids, but as an adult I can't get enough. Looking back I wish I had started eating pumpkin from a younger age as the pumpkins mom would use came directly from the small garden we had at the back of our home in rural Trinidad. Grown organically and under the brilliant Caribbean sun... I still recall mom commenting "gosh this pumpkin cook real gud" every time she made a pumpkin dish.
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.
I may have mentioned before that while growing up on the islands mom never made any sort of curry dishes with pork, so I credit my aunt Victoria (I speak about her in my book) for passing the basics of this recipe on to me, when I lived with her during my early years in Canada. Her version included a bit more cooking (I like my beans with a slight crunch) and a little heavier on the curry, so this version of curry pork with green beans is personalized to my liking.
I grew up with he mindset that tofu could NEVER taste appealing. My mom's cousins were vegetarians and I would always hear them speak about using tofu and soya chunks in different ways and though we were close.. I don't ever recall ever having tofu until my adult years. Caribbean culinary culture is not remotely centered around tofu as most Asian countries and quite understandably so. We don't produce tofu, so why would be be interested in it. If we were to speak about sea food, fish and ground provisions, then we could definitely shine!
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.
When you grow up in the 'country' areas on the islands, you're sure to have a kitchen garden where most of the vegetables, herbs and peppers you use in in the kitchen, comes directly from. My brother and I were gardeners from a very young age (not by choice.. especially when we wanted to run football and not tend to plants). Looking back, it seems we always had some sort of beans planted in that small plot of land at the back of our home. Maybe this is where my love for beans of all types originated? In this recipe we'll use two of my favorite ingredients, string beans and shrimp along with that lovely curry base, this will definitely be delightful.