The Caribbean comprises over 7000 islands situated south east of the Gulf of Mexico and north of South America (www.worldatlas.com). Well known destinations include Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Its cuisine results from a mélange of cultural influences, with a fusion of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Indian, Chinese and indigenous cooking styles.
According to Global Gourmet, the islands were originally occupied by two Native American tribes, the Arawaks and the Caribs. The Arawaks were credited with introducing early barbecuing techniques – they used native green sticks called barbacoa to grill food, while the Caribs were allegedly the first to use chilli peppers to spice their foods.
The first European settlements began in 1492, after Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas. He introduced sugarcane to the islands. Other foods introduced by the Spaniards included coconut, coriander, aubergines, onions and garlic. They were followed by Portuguese, British, French and Dutch settlers, who have all influenced the food and culture of the region.
The slave trade saw many Africans brought over to the islands to work on the plantations. They introduced foods such as okra, plantains and ackee.
During the mid-1800s, the african slave trade was abolished and plantation owners turned to India and China as their new source of cheap labour. They brought with them their own unique cooking styles, such as curries that are still part of the cuisine today.
Ingredients used in Caribbean Cooking
Some common ingredients used on the islands have been listed below:
- All spice - also known as Jamaican pepper or pimento, the flavour resembles cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It is popular in Caribbean cuisine, particularly the famous jerk chicken.
- Ackee – native to West Africa, this exotic red fruit is the national dish in Jamaica and is served with saltfish. Ackee is often cooked as a vegetable and is considered by some to taste like scrambled eggs.
- Cassava – also known as yuca or tapioca, is an essential root vegetable in the Caribbean. It can be cooked in many was, such as baked, fried, mashed or added in stews.
- Molasses – a by product of sugar cane.
- Okra – Also known as lady fingers and bhindi, its seeds release a gooey liquid and are used as a thickener in soups and stews.
- Pigeon peas – another native of Africa, pigeon peas are used in many soups and stews, as well as the famous rice and peas. Other beans, including kidney beans, red beans and black beans are also frequently used in Caribbean cooking.
- Plantains – resembles a banana but is starchier and not as sweet. You can find green and yellow plantains.
- Rum – the drink was discovered in the 17th Century when molasses was fermented with alcohol.
- Scotch Bonnet – considered to be one of the hottest chillies in the world is used to flavour Caribbean dishes. Be sure to use gloves when handling these fiery little devils.
Online resources for Caribbean Cooking
- Cook and post any Caribbean dishes, they can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
- No limit to the number of entries.
- Link this event announcement on your post, as well as the Simply.food page. Compulsory.
- Use of the above logo is not compulsory but using it helps us to spread the word.
- Multiple entries and archived entries allowed only if they are linked with both announcement page and reposted.
- Event starts on 1September 2013 and finishes on 30 September 2013.
You can enter by linking your recipe URLs below, alternatively email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if the link does not work. Please include the following:
- Your name
- Your blog name
- Recipe name
- Recipe url
- Picture of your recipe (image should not be larger than 300 pixels).
Please put Flavours of Caribbean in the subject line of your email.