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Caribbean Cuisine Ideas

Are you ready to bring the tropical Caribbean islands into your home? No matter where you live, through the art of food, you can achieve a beach vibe that will send you to a sunny paradise. With amazing tasting Caribbean cuisine appetizers, meals, and drinks, not only will you be sailing away in island bliss, but you’ll also have fun cooking delicious foods. Caribbean cuisine foods are a conglomerate of different cultures that have developed slowly into what is known as the islands’ cuisine. This blog looks at some common ingredients, side dishes, entrees, and drinks that make up the Caribbean island foods of today.

Herbs, flavorings, and common ingredients

Caribbean cuisine flavors are often a combination of sweet and spicy. Two staple ingredients in many meals are allspice and jerk rub. If you can take the heat of spicy foods, then jerk rub is the perfect Caribbean seasoning that adds a kick to many Jamaican-inspired meals. Jerk rub’s two key ingredients are allspice and scotch bonnet peppers, but garlic, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon are just a few additional ingredients one might find in Jamaican jerk rub.

On the other hand, if spice isn’t your thing, yet you still want to give your food a little bit of a kick, pineapples, coconuts, and mangoes are often used to adorn all sorts of dishes, giving them a sweet, tangy taste that counters the spiciness of meals. Whether you want a dessert or even a meat main course, these three fruits will be useful to have on hand as you prepare your Caribbean dishes.

Champion Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Champion Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Appetizers and side dishes

Roti, originating from India, has been adapted to the Caribbean culture. This bread can be filled with curried chicken, goat, shrimp, or vegetables. Plantain is a trademark of the Caribbean. It is prepared in many different ways: it can be fried, mashed, sautéed, and more. Rice and peas, or just plain white rice, commonly serve as side dishes as well. A lesser known dish, called Callaloo, is a healthy side that is great for vegetarians or vegetable-lovers. This dish involves leaves known as amaranth that is sautéed with cooking oil, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, onion, and other vegetables of choice.

Roti, a popular food in Caribbean cuisine.
Roti, a popular food in Caribbean cuisine.

Caribbean cuisine entrees

There are many entrees to choose from when it comes to Caribbean food. Many of the choices involve meat or seafood of some sort, as they are a large part of the food culture in the Caribbean cuisine. Previously discussed in the herbs and flavorings, jerk rub commonly seasons chicken or shrimp. Simply season your meat or seafood like you would with any other seasonings, let sit long enough to marinade, and then grill to perfection. A South-Asian inspired dish that involves curry is curried goat.

This entree takes time to prepare and make, as it’s often prepared for special occasions. If you’re hosting an important event for family, this dish is worthy of a celebration. Marinate the goat meat overnight in Jamaican curry powder, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, salt, and pepper. When ready, brown in a saucepan, add onions and water and simmer for an hour or two. Similarly, an expensive staple food in the Caribbean is oxtail. It involves almost the exact same ingredients as the curried goat, only replace the curry with allspice.

Jerk chicken
Jerk chicken

Complimentary Drinks

When we think of the Caribbean life, warm summer days and relaxing at the beach come to mind. What better way to relax than to have a smoothie? Use any variety of tropical fruit to achieve the perfect drink for a hot day. Oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, and mangoes are just a few of the many great fruits to choose from. Ting is a popular Jamaican drink that is made with carbonated water and grapefruit juice. Chilled, this drink is a great replacement for the standard soft drinks you may normally drink at dinner time. If you’re looking for an alcoholic drink, rum punch will be sure to give your taste buds a kick.

Tropical fruit drink
Tropical fruit drink

In conclusion: Embracing the culture

Who needs to pack up their bags and pay for a costly trip to the Caribbean islands when you can achieve the perfect Caribbean cuisine experience in the comfort of your own home? Caribbean food has largely been shaped by people from wide arrays of countries and cultures who left their impacts on the islands. From African to Amerindian to Indian to Scottish cultures, one can see how the Caribbean has adapted to all walks of life to create its own unique variety of foods. To fully embrace this newfound culture, don’t be afraid to experiment with different meats and flavors than you’re used to. You’ll be surprised by how simply applying just a few flavors from the cuisine of the islands will transform your food into something new.