Saturday, 7 April 2012

A Taste of Caribbean Food - Food

The Caribbean culture is a medley of several influences ranging from the European, American, Spanish, Portugal, Indian and Chinese. The major influence comes from the various tribes who have inhabited these islands. The tribes who made these islands their homes before the start of the slavery era were the Taino, Arawaks and Caribs. The culture of food in the Caribbean islands in deeply influenced by this mix of cultures, the resultant recipes which are popular in these island range from mild to lip smacking hot. Each of these islands has a unique flavor of its own to add to the existent recipes. The Role of Plantains in Caribbean FoodPlantains can be considered as a version of bananas though they are not your typical fruit. The plantains on these island are a staple vegetable in these parts and is rarely eaten uncooked. The green plantains make for the bulk of the Caribbean vegetarian palette. Green plantains are unripe and the skin need to be cut off with a knife to revea l a highly starchy core which is used as a vegetable. Usually fried with the spices and herbs the plantains are a Caribbean food specialty. Plantains were introduced to the Caribbean islands by the Spanish travelers. Along with the plantains the Spanish also brought in the various fruits which are so intensely popular on these islands. The fruits include figs, grapes and oranges. The Origin of Jerk Chicken in Caribbean foodThe term jerk refers to the spicy and slow cooked meat. This meat is cooked under the influence of various hot sauces. Jerk sauces are available in any food store selling Caribbean food and they constitute a confluence of various hot spices and peppers. The jerk chicken was introduced by the African population, most of they were huntsmen and needed to travel long distances in search of hunting grounds. During their travel these hunters used to carry spicy meat with them to ensure it does not go stale. The spicy meat was prepared using a special technique o f cooking the meat very slowly using various hot spices and pepper. The meat which was usually used in this preparation was chicken meat, the huntsmen also used pork. If you visit any Caribbean island you are sure to find a various eateries selling jerk chicken and jerk pork. The name is cool as it is and the taste is just awesome.The Various Seasonings in Caribbean foodThe caribs believed in marinating the meat for a long period before using it for cooking. Add to it the influence of the various visiting foreigners and you had a blend of method and seasonings. In the Caribbean islands you will find that the meat cooking ritual is different from your contemporary marinate for an hour and cook. It is their penchant with lime, garlic and ginger which makes the food so spicy and mouth watering. Usually the meat is left to marinate in the combination of all the pungent and piquant Caribbean seasoning for a period as long as 24 hours. Once the meat has soaked in the aroma of all the seasoning applied, it is cooked over slow fire with added spices and sauces. The result is a truly awe inspiring aromatic food. The role of seasoning is not limited to the meats alone. The garden salad and the coleslaw salad are famous in the Caribbean islands and know for the their unique taste attributed to the splendid use of the various seasonings.

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