Caribbean cuisine is the quintessential fusion food.
Major culinary influences have come from Europe, Asia, Africa and India. These were brought to the Caribbean through slavery or colonization of the land.
Common ingredients include rice, beans, cassava, coconut, tomatoes, mangos, cilantro, garlic and a variety of herbs. Just looking at that list, you can see that some ingredients such as rice are not native to the area and have been introduced by the Asian cultures, others such as cassava are native to the Caribbean and are common in many tasty dishes.
Spices are also a huge part of Caribbean cooking. Again, we see that there is a melting pot of cultural influences. Throughout many dishes, we see a theme of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and chilies.
Combining all of these spices creates the foundation for the famous jerk seasoning, which originated in Jamaica and was brought to the Caribbean during African slavery.
Jerk is a dry seasoning that is typically rubbed on meat before it’s slow cooked or cooked on the BBQ If you have tried jerk you know there are varying degrees of spice, so be sure to state your heat factor before diving in for a full bite!
Caribbean dishes we can’t get enough of
Goat curry or stew is the national dish of Montserrat – a beautiful Caribbean island. This famous curry is made with goat and mutton, which is brought to a slow boil creating a melt in your mouth, satisfying dish.
Curries were brought to the region during the Asian slavery era, as was roti bread and rice which is typically served with this dish.
Get the recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2369636/goat-curry
Caribbean Beef Patties
Taken almost directly from Jamaican patties these little pouches contain a punch of flavour.
Sealed in a rich pastry shell is beef, onions, garlic, and spices. Today we see a variety of fillings including vegetarian, pork and chicken options.
Get the recipe here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/caribbean-beef-patties
We mustn’t forget the famous jerk chicken! As we talked about previously; jerk seasoning originates from Jamaica and can be used on any meat.
This dish is typically served with beans and rice, as the main entree. Jerk can be cooked in the oven or on the BBQ and has a heat level from sweet to flaming.
Get the recipe here: http://www.africanbites.com/one-pot-caribbean-jerk-chicken-rice/
Desserts are an important part of the Caribbean culture and offered at almost every meal. This is due in large part to the abundance of sugarcane in the region.
Sugarcane juice on its own is a tasty, refreshing treat. It’s also used in many popular cakes, puddings, and of course – Caribbean rum!
A rum punch is a combination of rum, fruit juices and sugarcane (or simple syrup as a substitute) try this recipe on a hot day, and you will feel just like you have arrived on a sunny tropical island:https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/rum-punch