Monday, March 9, 2009
During my weekly shopping at Costco,the gorgeous Caribbean Pineapple and Tart Champagne mangoes caught my eye.Straight from sunny Islands these tropical fruits are in full bloom in stores here.The weather here still pretty much cold with on-n-off cold-n-warm spells,the warming tropical fruits like such are the best taste of the sunny side of world.
The sun-soaked scenic Caribbean Islands,is home to hottest peppers and bountiful tropical fruits and a spicy fusion cuisine of mostly African, Spanish and Indian flavors.Speaking of hot peppers,having tasted some really hot peppers
from South India,the Caribbean hot peppers Scotch Bonnet and Harbanero (falling in the range of hottest peppers in the world) are true delights for hot chili enthusiasts,just one or two are enough to add fieriness to the meal.
My Caribbean platter includes chicken kabobs with the Caribbean Jerk seasoning(blend of hot peppers and spices),tropical fruit kabobs with sweet and tart flavors of Pineapple and mangoes along side the classic Caribbean Rice and beans.To add an extra layer of fruit ,top with Sassy Pine apple mango salsa ,the recipe coming up in another post.
A traditional spicy hot blend of peppers and spices,the quintessential taste of Caribbean cuisine,in particular Jamaican cooking.The seasoning is used for curing meat, poultry or fish and then slowly grilling over wood fire.This smoking method was originally used for preserving the meat.Choose between the store-bought dry Jerk seasoning or fresh homemade marinade as in my following recipe.
To find a treasure of authentic Caribbean meals ,explore Cynthia's Taste like home. And join in the Meeta's Monthly Mingle ,featuring Caribbean cooking this month.
Chicken Kabobs with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut in square 1 inch pieces
1 medium bell pepper,Red or Green or Yellow,cut into squares
For Jerk Marinade
2 Scotch Bonnet or Harbanero Peppers,seed it for easing some heat and chop.
1 clove garlic,peeled and chopped
1 medium onion,chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon Orange Juice
1 tablespoon thyme,dried or fresh
1 teaspoon all spice
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
2 tablespoon lime juice,freshly squeezed.
2 tablespoon Extra virgin Olive oil or vegetable oil
4 bamboo skewers,soaked in water for 10 minutes to prevent burning.
Blend all the marinade ingredients.Mix the marinade with the chicken and vegetables ,marinate for an hour.Thread them on skewers with chicken,peppers and onions alternately on each.
Preheat the Broiler.Place the skewers on a baking sheet,transfer in the oven and let bake for 7 minutes,turn once and allow to bake for another 5 minutes.Serve warm.
Heat your grill or grill pan on medium high heat.Placed the skewers
on heated grill,cook for about 6-8 minutes on both sides. Serve warm.
Mango Pineapple Kabobs
1/2 a medium pineapple,peeled,cored and cubed
1 mango(Tart Champagne Mangoes),peeled ,seeded and cubed
1/2 teaspoon spice mix,blend of cumin,cinnamon and nutmeg
3 bamboo skewers(10 inch long)
Mix all the ingredients and marinate for 10 minutes.Thread them on skewers with Pineapple and mango alternately on each.Broil or grill like the chicken kabobs,about 3 minutes on each side.Serve.
Caribbean Rice and Beans
2 cups White rice
1 cup Red kidney beans,cooked
1 medium onion,chopped
2 garlic cloves,minced
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 hot pepper , scotch bonnet or harbanero,seeded and finely chopped.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups water or vegetable broth.
Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat.Saute onions until translucent about a minute,add garlic and hot peppers saute for few seconds, then add beans and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the rice to the beans, then stir in stock and coconut milk,season with salt and pepper, reduce heat,cover and simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.Allow to sit for ten minutes,fluff the rice with a fork then serve.
A word of caution while handling hot peppers
For particularly sensitive hands use gloves while seeding and chopping hot peppers or wash hands thoroughly to rinse away the essential hots oils of the pepper which can cause burning sensation.
Capsaicin,the heat of the Peppers
Capsaicin has many curative benefits such as lowering blood pressure,reducing sinus inflammation , promoting good blood circulation and also helps in burning unwanted fat .While not ever one has the same tolerance for capsaicin,an overdose can result in upset stomach or diarrhea.A cup of cold milk can help relief the lingering heart burn after eating spicy peppers.
An Update: Made for Each other Food Event
The Strawberry Cobbler with Orange-Carrot Frozen yogurt is the winner of Made for Each other Food event,which invited the recipes with foods that make a lovable combo.Here are the lovely entries.Thanks to Rathna for the exciting food event:).