Caribbean Herbs and Spices (the essential list)
Be warned. This will be gonna be along ever evolving list.
Once upon a time, some years ago I had an epiphany. Cultural cuisine is define by taste and technique. Not exactly a life changing revelation but a significant one nonetheless. I mean chicken is chicken in any country. But add some curry or a little masala and you’ve suddenly embarked on a culinary journey.
The flavors in authentic Caribbean cuisine comes from the use of fresh produce, herbs and spices. Following is a list of essentials for any Caribbean cook. Regardless of where in the world you are many of the ingredients on this list will look familiar. That can be credited in part to the large migration of African, Asians and and Western Europeans to the Caribbean over the centuries. Look closely and you will see that the faces and the foods of Trinidad is a reflection of India. Cuba and Spain are close cousins. The Jamaican motto “Out of Many One People” holds true in both our cuisine and culture.
As you read through the list please comment by telling me what did I miss? What’s your favorite spice? How do you use it?
Turmeric a peppery, slightly bitter relative of ginger.; turmeric is used heavily by many Caribbean cooks. Tumeric is one of the main ingredients in most West Indian curries and mustard. Tumeric is also used by Indians and Chinese as an anti– inflammatory medicine.
Coriander or cilantro seeds (the seed of the cilantro plant) is most popular among the Caribbean Indian population. Coriander seeds have a lemony flavor. It is one the ingredients used to make various curries. In Indian cuisine it is combined with cumin to masala, a sauce thickener.