There are certain ingredients that can be found in every Caribbean kitchen. However, there are variances depending on the cultural influence on individual countries. For example, in Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, an essential ingredient would be curry powder; for other countries, bay leaves and dried pasta are a must.
The following list of ingredients, however, you will find in all West Indian kitchens regardless of its make-up. These ingredients are at the top of the shopping list and give the cuisine its unique flavor, providing the key to many iconic West Indian meals.
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This is a blend of fresh herbs, onions, garlic, and hot peppers. Depending on which country you are from, ground spices such as cloves, allspice, and cinnamon are added to the mixture and impart a unique flavor. This herb mixture is used to season seafood, poultry, and meat for frying, stewing, baking, or roasting. It is also used as a base, sautéed in hot oil to cook vegetables.
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Limes are used in combination with salt to wash/clean seafood, meat, and poultry. The lime juice and salt are lightly added to the ingredient, tossed, and rinsed thoroughly in water before use.
Fresh lime juice is also used as the base in certain pickles. On a hot day, jugs of lemonade are made with freshly squeezed lime juice, water, sugar, and vanilla essence.
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Salted pig tails and salted beef are used to flavor dishes and to season (salt) the food. Salt meat can be used in soups, stews, and rice dishes.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Rice is a staple, and it is cooked daily. It is served with rice and peas or cooked plainly using the absorption method or by boiling and straining it. Long grain parboiled rice and long grain white rice are the two most common varieties used.
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Tubular root vegetables such as cassava (yucca), sweet potatoes, eddoes, dasheen, and yams are necessary ground provisions. They are all hearty and nutritious.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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