Heard of fusion cuisine? If this concept is relatively new to you, then Caribbean cuisine perfectly fits like mere vision. With influences such as British, Spanish, Indian and French, Caribbean cuisine is like a realm full of wonders and colors. The populace itself represents an array of cultures if not qualities that make this type of cooking a gem to behold.
Traditions and techniques are represented and defined by its regions. Dishes are made in accordance to the need and available foods. Many of the recipes are developed and passed from generation to generation, with hopes of preserving the authenticity of local treats and food.
This multi-cultural cuisine is best represented by its unique types of dishes such as the ‘jerk.’ For the locals, jerks are basically seasoned meats which are primarily made from chicken. Preferred items also include peas and curry, along with rice, vegetables and fruits.
In the past, the Caribbean is led by two distinct tribes- the Caribs and Arawaks. While the onset of European invasion proves significant, the cuisine’s firstly-used techniques and food choices are adopted by these two tribes. The Caribs, in particular, are more into spicy foods like chili and peppers, while the barbecuing techniques were initiated by the Arawaks. Local crops such as peanut, cassava and yams are the ones cultivated by this tribe, along with tropical fruits namely pineapples and guava.
Ingredients Utilized in Caribbean Cuisine
Chicken, Pork, Beef, Goat meat
Lobster, Flying Fish, Cascadura Fish, Crab
Vegetables and Root crops:
Taro, Yam, Cassava, Eggplants, Okra, Chickpeas, Chili Peppers, Lima Beans, Peas, Potatoes, Chayote
Guava, Pineapple, Mangoes, Lime, Oranges, Breadfruit, Passion Fruit, Papaya, Avocado
Garlic, Onion, Pepper, Cilantro, Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger
Famous dishes include curry goat, curry chicken and soup-like dish called Callaloo. Another common dish is the Pelau, which combines various meats including beef, chicken and pork.
For the Spanish-speaking people of the Islands, savory and flavorful dishes represent their sharper and distinct taste. And this is accentuated by their use of herbs, seasonings and spices. Seafood is also a major component of Caribbean cuisine. In fact, it is very likely to find a regional specialty with seafood in it. Rice and corn are also part of the locals’ diet, along with coconut and peas.
Because the Islands represent a number of cultures, it is understandable why food represents various regions. For instance, Spanish influence is very much present in the Islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico, while Martinique shows much reference to French food.
In general, this cuisine only shows that diversity translates into good food. History, as expected, may have changed its dimensions but it will never change the color of its people. Caribbean cuisine, for the most part, is like a gem if not a precious stone. Its beginnings may be rough due to colonization but it revealed a brighter and shinier tone. For in truth, colonies and previous histories may affect one’s culture but adherence to these may also lead to recipes that are distinct and well-owned.
Authentic Caribbean Recipes
Breaded Steak (Bistec Empanizado)
Recipe Source: islandflave.com
- 4 steaks 1/4 inch thick or cube steak
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup sour orange or lime
- 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup finely ground cracker meal, salted to taste
- olive oil
- Sprinkle steaks with chopped onion, garlic, juice, and salt. Rub garlic into meat. Marinate overnight.
- Beat the eggs in bowl and dip each steak in the egg first and then cracker meal, coating each steak completely.
- Fry steak in skillet on medium heat until golden brown and well done.
Guinness Bottle Chicken Stew
Recipe Source: caribbeanchoice.com
- 2 lbs chicken breast clean cut into bite sizes
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 10 oz. bottle Guinness or (1 cup)
- 1 cup chicken broth
(or 2 chicken bouillon dissolve in 1 cup water)
- 1 onion diced
- 2 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper deseeded and sliced
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. parsley
- 1 tsp. chili powder
METHOD / DIRECTIONS:
- Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large ziploc bag, then add chicken and shake to coat.
- Meanwhile in a large skillet or wok fry,heat oil, then add chicken fry for 3 minutes on each side.
- Place on paper towel after fried.
- Reduce oii to approximately 2 tablespoon; add onion and garlic saute for about 4 minutes.
- Add Guinness then reduce by half, then return chicken to skillet along with broth paste and remaining ingredients.
- Let cook for 10-15 minutes.
Image Credit: thenibble.com
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Cambodians or ‘Khmer’ people come from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, whose culture evolves around Hinduism. Khmer cuisine is another term used by the people to define Cambodian food; a cuisine which basically includes food items such as rice, noodles, soups and tropical fruits.
Khmer or Cambodian cuisine is noted for its distinctive flavoring known as Prahok. This is a kind of fermented fish paste, which is popularly used by Cambodians in making their native dishes. Coconut milk is another valuable item, since it forms the base of most dishes including desserts. Like other Asian countries, Cambodian meals are served and are never complete without a bowl of rice. For its people, rice is simply a staple along with Chinese noodles.
Cambodian cuisine is likewise influenced by other popular cuisines. The Indians have introduced the ‘kari’ or curry dishes. The Chinese, on the other hand, introduced its culinary expertise through rice noodles and soup dishes. The Vietnamese also had a share of influence by bringing in fresh fruits and vegetables as key food items.
Generally, Cambodian food is characterized as sweet and spicy. The Cambodian people have their own way of creating sumptuous meals by means of emphasizing the food’s natural flavors and by adding a number of sauces, dips and condiments. The hotness and spiciness of Cambodian dishes are likewise compared with that of Thai food but with certain differences. In addition, the cuisine’s dependency on seafood proves to be an advantage, since it highlights the nutritional value of prepared dishes.
Traditional dishes include Moan Dot, which is basically braised chicken with oyster sauce. Another popular dish is deep-fried fish, served with fresh fruits and vegetables. Locals likewise favor Aamok, a type of curry dish featuring steamed fish in garlic, coconut milk, lime leaf, and fish sauce. Cambodian food also relies heavily on homemade sauces and pastes. Aside from Prahok, Cambodians usually prepare Kroeung, a type of spicy paste, which is made of garlic, lemongrass, turmeric and shallots.
Ingredients Utilized in Cambodian Cuisine
Chili, Star Anise, Galangal, Ginger, Kaffir Lime leaves, Lemongrass, Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Shallots, Cilantro
Baby Corn, Bamboo shoots, Chinese Broccoli, Snow Peas, Banana Blossoms, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Beans, Bitter melon, Bean Sprouts, Long Beans, Lettuce, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Eggplants
Durian, Mangosteen, Banana, Mango, Papaya, Jackfruits, Watermelon, Pineapples, Star apple
Poultry, Beef, Pork
Catfish, Cockles, Squid, Lobsters, Shrimps, Crayfish, Crabs, Trout, Clams, Mudfish
Other ingredients used are Coconut Milk, Eggs and Tamarind-based sauces.
Aside from these lists of food items, other ingredients are also used in Cambodian cuisine. Some of which are unusual meats including frogs and turtles. The variances of ingredients along with the people’s unusual tastes for said items somehow make the cuisine different and interesting.
More so, diversity has been given new meaning through the very manner Cambodians incorporate foreign influences into their way of cooking. For in the long run, the people have perfected the art of combining local ingredients with that of foreign spices, to come up with enticing and mouth-watering dishes.
Authentic Cambodian Recipes
Cambodian Spicy Roast Chicken Recipe
Recipe Source: asianonlinerecipes.com
- 1 tablespoon Peanut oil
- 2 Medium onion, chopped
- 250 g Pork mince
- 1/2 cup Unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons Lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 3 Small dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1.5 kg Whole chicken
- 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon Oil, extra
- 1/2 cup Coconut milk
- Preheat the oven to moderate 180oC.
- Heat the oil in a wok and add the onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until golden.
- Add the mince pork and cook for 10 minutes or until the pork is brown.
- Remove the wok from the heat, stir in the peanuts, lime juice, mint and coriander and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Place the chilies, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds, and salt in a food processor or mortar and pestle and process until a powder is formed.
- Remove any excess fat from the chicken, rub the skin and inside cavity with the garlic.
- Stuff the opening with a wooden skewer and tie the legs together with kitchen string.
- Brush the outside of the chicken lightly with the oil.
- Rub the skin of the chicken with the chili spice mixture.
- Place the chicken on a rack in a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and baste it with the coconut milk and pan juice.
- Bake it for another 40 minutes, basting frequently until the chicken is tender.
- Remove the skewer and string before serving.
Red Beef Curry Cambogee
Recipe Source: asianrecipe.com
- 5 cups Red Curry Cambogee
- 3/4 pound beef — diced
- 2 potatoes — peeled & diced
- 1/2 cup peanuts — chopped
- 2 cups bean sprouts
Heat the curry sauce and add the meat and potatoes. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the meat and potatoes are done.
Garnish with the peanuts and serve over the bean sprouts.
Notes : Heat Scale: Medium
Image Credit: cambodia-cooking-class.com
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Through the years, Californian cuisine has changed from simple to diverse. This is due to the many influences brought by migration and foreign settlement. Californian cuisine has also adopted techniques, cooking styles and expertise from various origins, simply because its populations are culturally varied as well.
Many of California’s residents are open-minded and adventurous eaters. In fact, the presence of Fusion cuisine is a living proof of how interesting and uncommon Californians are when it comes to cookery. This openness and appreciation brings in an attitude that is truly real and accepting- a trait which likely encourages culinary diversity and change.
The presence of Asian, Oceanian and recently, Australian immigrants has paved the way for Californian cuisine to really take place. As years pass, interrelations and communications between these nationalities have caused Chefs and professionals to think of a different yet unifying style of cookery. The state likewise adopts food items and ingredients depending on the variances brought by the Californian residents, which is representative of many ethnicities and races. Think of sushi and rolls with a new twist and evidently, you will have the famous California Roll in your plate. Are beef tacos unappealing? Californian cuisine will serve fish tacos instead. All these changes and transitions definitely make the cuisine tastefully good and distinct, which is why more and more people are keen into testing their palate.
In addition, Mexican and South American influences have affected Californian cuisine and its dishes. This time, the cuisine largely emphasizes fresh produce like seafood and vegetables. Tacos and Burritos could have been the usual recipes but with Californian cuisine, these dishes are given new meaning with the use of technique and variation in utilized ingredients. Traditional and commercialized Mexican food is often part of California’s menu. Many restaurants serve variations of South American food like Tortillas and Tacos. The existence of ‘Fresh Mex’ is another evolution, where Mexican dishes are prepared, depicting various tastes and flavors.
Ingredients Utilized in Californian Cuisine
Beef, Chicken, Pork
Crabs, Bass, Salmon, Oysters
Asparagus, Artichokes, Sprouts, Lettuce, Tomato, Cabbage, Onions
Avocado, Dates, Persimmon
This list is non-exhaustive as other ingredients can be used. The list simply includes items that are most likely inherent in the state. It is also best to note that Californian cuisine makes use of both local and non-local produce, a trait that makes the cuisine versatile and well-rounded.
Californian cuisine is also known for its barbecues. Beef, chicken, steaks and sausages are just some of the common items used. Ribs and sausages along with beef are either grilled or smoked. It is also believed that California’s style of barbecuing is basically influenced by the regional cooking of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.
Californian cuisine refrains from becoming old-fashioned simply because the people constantly appreciate good food. In addition, traditions and expertise are being shared along with cooking techniques and methods. It is also true that Californian cuisine shares the limelight with other known cuisines like Asia or Mexico. However, it clearly shows how a diverse field of interests can be combined, to effectively create an ensemble of interesting and delicious food.
Authentic Californian Recipes
Buttery Shrimp and Pasta
Recipe Source: food.com
- 8 ounces pasta, cooked and drained (I like the tri-colored spirals)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- Have pasta ready.
- In lg skillet, heat butter; add shrimp and garlic.
- Saute 4 minutes, remove shrimp from skillet.
- Add half and half.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add shrimp, basil, cheese, pepper and pepper flakes.
- Pour sauce into a bowl; add pasta and toss well.
California Grilled Veggie Sandwich
Recipe Source: allrecipes.com
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 cup sliced red bell peppers
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced
- 2 (4-x6-inch) focaccia bread pieces, split horizontally
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the grill for high heat.
- Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell peppers and zucchini closest to the middle of the grill, and set onion and squash pieces around them. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside.
- Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of the bread, and sprinkle each one with feta cheese. Place on the grill cheese side up, and cover with lid for 2 to 3 minutes. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the cheese. Watch carefully so the bottoms don’t burn. Remove from grill, and layer with the vegetables. Enjoy as open faced grilled sandwiches.
Image Credit: sallybernstein.com
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