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 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.
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 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.
After sharing a pic of this Jerk Chicken Stirfry on Instagram, I had someone comment "what is leftover jerk chicken?" I do agree, there are many Caribbean dishes which always seems to be gone by the end of the meal. Keeping in mind that I make additional dishes with leftover jerk chicken (chicken salad, fried rice and stirfry) I purposely make extra every-time I make jerk chicken (same can be said about Stew Chicken as well). This an absolute WINNER in my home and I'm sure it will make a delicious impression on you and your family.
Last weekend I was asked "what's your specialty?" in reference to what I cook and without hesitation I said it's not so much a dish or category of food, but technique. As we continue July's Month Of Grilling, I'm sure you can tell that I quite enjoy working with the raw heat of the grill. The essence of the fire changes the overall dish in such a manner that's almost impossible to duplicate on a stove or oven. While we're not using pimento wood to give the burgers that unique "Jamaican Jerk" depth, I assure you that you'll be amazed by what a simple jerk marinade can do to basic ground beef.
"Dad, can you make me chow?" No Mango! "How about shrimp?" That was the brief discussion between Tehya and I a few weeks back when she got her routine craving for mango chow. A spicy pickle usually made with green (tart) mangoes, or any of the variety of fruits we have in the Caribbean. Had to admit, it was a brilliant idea. We both enjoy shrimp cocktail and with the sort of spicy base.. could this be the "Caribbean" version of shrimp cocktail?
After moving to Canada I was exposed to many 'new' ingredients, which were not found in the typical Caribbean garden or market. One such ingredient which became an immediate hit with my taste buds was asparagus. Normally I'd grill them, but early in the season when it's still a bit too cold to go outside and spark up the grill, I like doing this sort of stew (stir-fry for many). Based on the method we use for making a saltfish (salted cod) stew in the Caribbean, this is certainly one of the best ways to enjoy asparagus.
Here's another one of those dishes I hated as a kid growing up on the islands. Both the smoked herrings and the cabbage were etched into my don't eat list, but as an adult they're two ingredients I not only use on the regular, but crave. The scent of dad roasting the smoked herrings (back then the choice were whole fish) on an open flame to give it extra flavor and to help remove the skin and bones, wasn't pleasant. That said.. even when using the fillets as I'm about to do, know that it will impart a distinct scent throughout your kitchen/home.