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Best Traditional Caribbean Food

Genuine Caribbean Recipies

Caribbean cuisine is known for its powerful flavours and fresh ingredients. It can be quite spicy, but for those without a taste for spice, the islands also have an abundance of amazing fruits and vegetables. We have compiled a list of 10 traditional Caribbean food items that you won’t find better anywhere else.


Jerk sauce

Jerk chicken, jerk pork, jerk… whatever you like! This spicy sauce is a traditional Jamaican food that dates back to the 17th century. Generally, it is used as a marinade and rubbed over meat before grilling.



60g ground allspice berries

60g brown sugar

7 cloves garlic

5 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and cored

1 tablespoon ground thyme

2 bunches scallions

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender and get marinating!


Chicken Curry Roti

Roti is a kind of light pancake that is filled with a curry stew. This recipe will be familiar to anyone who has lived on or visited Barbados.




Rotis – if you’re clever enough to make your own (shop bought tortillas work well, fry one side only in a little ghee or clarified butter for 2-3 minutes)

450g flour

100g unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces softened to room temperature



Vegetable oil for frying

Flour for dusting

Sift the flour into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and rub the butter into the flour one lump at a time, it should form breadcrumb consistency. Add a little water and mix until it becomes a pliable soft dough. Dust a surface with flour, divide the dough into 12 balls and roll to a tortilla-like thickness (6 inch rounds) then cover with a tea towel until needed.

Filling –

2 tbps groundnut oil

4 large free-range or organic chicken breasts cubed in 2cm-ish cubes

Leaves from 10 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 heaped tbsps of a good Madras curry powder

A few twists of black pepper

2 medium onions - chopped

4 cloves of garlic – finely chopped / 1 heaped tsp garlic puree

1 whole scotch bonnet / habanero pepper

450g potatoes

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in large pre-heated skillet and brown the cubed chicken. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the chopped onions, garlic, thyme, curry powder, black pepper and the whole scotch bonnet pepper. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and cube into small bite size pieces, and rinse. Try not to use too floury or too waxy potatoes, as you want them to be squishy once cooked, but not completely disintegrated. Add 1 pint of boiling water to the chicken curry mixture and add the potatoes to the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for a further 20-30 minutes on a low heat, until the potatoes are tender and have started to “melt” into the chicken curry.

Bringing it all together –

To prepare your home-made rotis, for each one use ½ tsp of ghee (or clarified butter), place in a very hot non-stick frying pan, and cook each roti (both sides) for 2-3 minutes until browning (but not completely crisp)


Coconut drops

Coconut drops are a part of every Caribbean’s childhood memories. The small, sweet treats are a favourite of the islanders and they are also pretty easy to make.



4 cups water

2 cups diced coconut

1 ½ cups dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon ginger

Boil the water and add the coconut. Leave for 40 minutes. Then, add the sugar and ginger and allow to cook for 30 minutes, or until it reaches a syrup-like consistency. Scoop out the mixture with a tablespoon onto a wet cookie tray and leave to cool until set.



Plantains are essentially Caribbean bananas, but they are much less sweet than the bananas we’re accustomed to. They are used a lot in cooking and their alternative name is actually ‘cooking bananas’. Their starchy, savoury taste lends well to many different recipes and they are definitely a staple in traditional Caribbean food.


Read up on some great plantain recipes here:




Callaloo is a popular leaf vegetable dish that gives a Caribbean twist to collard greens. Vibrant, fresh, and full of flavour, this recipe will soon become one of your favourites.



4 cups callaloo, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 springs thyme

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 scotch bonnet pepper

2 tablespoons water

Salt to taste

In a large pot, add everything except for the callaloo and water. Sautee until the onion is translucent and then add in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.


Roast breadfruit

Breadfruit is a high-protein fruit and a member of the jackfruit and mulberry family. It is very starchy and savoury, and great when roasted. You can eat the fruits at any point of their maturity, but they are best eaten once they start to turn from yellow to purple, as this is when they are at their sweetest. Simply roast with salt until dried and serve with either ackee or callaloo.




The ackee fruit is a slightly sour, savoury food that is red in colour with yellow flesh. A popular accompaniment to many Caribbean meals, the ackee must only be consumed once ripe and should be boiled for 30 minutes. It is generally seasoned with onion and garlic and served over something like saltfish.



Fried Bajan flying fish

These silver, winged fish are known for jumping from the water and ‘flying’ above the surface. Commonly found in Barbados waters, the islanders have come up with quite a few great recipes for preparing them.



4 small flying fish fillets

1 lime

¾ cup water

½ tablespoon salt

Bajan seasoning to taste

1 egg, beaten

Mixed breadcrumbs and flour

¼ cup butter

Lime slices and parsley for garnish

Bajan hot pepper sauce

Squeeze the limes and add the juice and salt to the water. Soak the fillets in the mixture for half an hour, then remove and pat dry. Rub the fillets with the Bajan seasoning, then roll in the egg, then into the breadcrumb mix. Fry them in butter until golden brown and serve with lime and parsley garnish. Sprinkle with the hot sauce to taste. These go very well with couscous!



Patties originally came from Haiti but are now enjoyed all over the Caribbean. They are quite like the English pasty, just a lot spicier and with more filling.



1 small onion

Oil for frying

2 cloves garlic, crushed

250g beef mince

1 potato, cut into cubes

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 tablespoons tomato puree

A few thyme springs

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

500g block of shortcrust pastry

1 egg, beaten

Handful of salad to serve

To a pan, add the oil and fry the onion. Then, add the beef and garlic and cook until the meat is brown, followed by the potato, thyme, puree, 200ml water, and half the turmeric. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then add the hot sauce and leave to cool.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out 6 x 15cm circles using a small plate as a guide and divide the mince between the circles, piling it up on one side. Mix the egg with the leftover turmeric, brush the edges of each circle, fold the pastry and seal the edges with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve with salad.


Saltfish fritters

Saltfish fritters are a Jamaican classic. Perfect for breakfast, these crispy, spicy bites are easy to make and even easier to eat far too many of!



500ml water

1 pack boneless saltfish

Spring onions

1 small tomato, chopped

1 medium onion

1 cup small peppers

¼ scotch bonnet pepper

½ teaspoon baking powder

4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

100ml olive oil

Firstly, boil the saltfish in water for 10 minutes, then drain and repeat 2 times. In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients except for the olive oil and mix until you reach a kind of sloppy consistency. Add the oil to a frying pan and turn the heat up high. Scoop out the mixture using a tablespoon and fry each fritter until golden brown, flipping once.

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Pumpkin Soup

A hot and tasty favourite across the Caribbean and very easy to make.

                Recipe :

Half a kilo of left over chicken bones and skin

1.2 L of water

Sprigs of thyme, parsley and marjoram

Celery leaves or a stick of celery

2 Whole spring onions

1 Tablespoon black peppercorns

1 Onion

1 Chicken stock cube

30g butter

1.5kg Pumpkin

Fresh Cream


Remove fat from the chicken bones but leave the skin. Place all of the ingredients except the Pimpkin, butter, fresh cream and parsley into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and them simmer on a medium heat for 30 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan through a colander or sieve to remove the chicken and vegetables from the stock. Peel the pumpkin and roughly chop, then add to the pan with the strained stock. Boil for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is well cooked.

Cook, mix in a blender then add salt and pepper to taste. (You can freeze now if not using immediately)

To serve, reheat over a medium heat and garnish with fresh parsley or a small blob of cream dropped in the centre of each bowl. (For a professional touch swirl the cream with a pointed knife or toothpick).

Guyanese Pepperpot

Traditionally served at Christmas, this amazing meat stew is absolutely perfect served with crusty bread (or Plait bread if you’re doing it properly)



4 lbs meat (beef and goat)

1 cup cassareep

2 Cinnamon sticks

2 inch piece of orange peel

4 cloves of garlic

4 wiri wiri peppers

½ cup brown sugar

1 ½ tsp salt

8-12 cups of water

4 sprigs of thyme

6 cloves

2 small onions

Tablespoon vegetable oil

Cut the meat into similar sizes and trim as much fat as you can, then wash and drain. Heat the oil in a large deep pot and add the meat, to brown. Add all remaining ingredients except the water and give it a good stir. Next add enough water to cover everything and bring to a boil. As the contents begin to boil, skim any scum from the surface. Once boiling reduce to a gentle simmer for 3 hours. Again skim any scum or oily fats you see on the surface. After 3 hours the liquid will have reduced by three quarters so it will be intense in colour and flavour.

Mango Pineapple Crumble Pie

A sweet sweet taste of the Caribbean!

                Recipe :

Crust -

340g flour

85g butter

85g shortening, pinch of salt, iced water

Combine the ingredients except the water in a bowl and rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips then gradually add the iced water whilst stirring to make a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and place in a 9 inch pie tin. Trim the edges and refrigerate.

Filling –                

2 ½ lb Mixed fresh mango and pineapple, cubed

100g Granulated Sugar

1 tsp Ground cinnamon

80ml Pineapple juice

6 tbsp Cornstarch


Put the chopped mango and pineapple in a saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon and pineapple juice. Bring to the boil and then simmer lightly, poaching the fruit. Add the cornstarch and and boil for 1 further minute. Set aside to cool completely.

Topping –

285g Flour

225g Butter

170g Sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrums.

To serve –

Remove the pie base from the refrigerator, pour the cooled mango pineapple filling in, speingle the topping onto the filling, then sprinkle a little extra sugar on the topping. Bake in a preheated oven for approximately half an hour until the topping is golden.

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