Take home the taste and aroma of West Indies cuisine with our best ever Caribbean recipes. Kenwood Travel have teamed up with our foodie friends in Barbados, Saint Lucia, Dominican Republic, Antigua, Jamaica, Grenada and St Kitts to put together seven of our tastiest dishes from these fantastic food nations. With easy-to-follow instructions and ingredients you can pick up from your local supermarket, transform your kitchen into a beachfront grill and cook up these Caribbean recipes like a pro.
From its palm-studded beaches and year-round sunshine, to its carnival atmosphere and smiling hospitality, the Caribbean is one of our favourite holiday destinations . But to get the full flavour of this authentic destination, nothing beats the food.
The mouth-watering combination of tropical fruits, barbecue, fresh seafood and exotic spices like the fiery scotch bonnet is unforgettable. One bite and you’re transported through the history and culture of these sun-soaked islands, whether you’re savouring the flavours at home or on a Caribbean holiday of your own.
Scroll down and discover quick and easy Caribbean recipes for classic dishes like jerk chicken and pepperpot. To set the scene, each recipe is accompanied by a guide to the island of its origin, and we’ve even included a cheeky cocktail too, carefully selected to complement each dish and help get the party started.
Funky Flying Fish
This classic Caribbean destination – all palm-studded coastlines and quaint colonial towns – is awash with colour. From pink-sand beaches and emerald forests to deep blue waters and the original amber rum, there’s so much to see, do and taste.
It’s tempting to spend your days relaxing on the beach (take your pick from 70 miles of sandy coast), but Kenwood Travel recommends taking time to explore the island’s sprinkle of fishing villages and the Unesco World Heritage capital Bridgetown. Round off your day at a sunset beach party to sample some sizzling local barbecue.
Tastebuds will soar for this seafood classic made with locally sourced flying fish (though tilapia works as a substitute).
• 8 flying fish or tilapia
• 3 tbsp bajan green seasoning, ½ tsp curry powder & ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
• Lime juice
• 1 cup water
• 1 tbsp butter & 1 tsp sugar
• 2 large onions & 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
• 1 stalk celery, 1 bay leaf & 2 large tomatoes
• ¼ green, ¼ red & ¼ yellow pepper
• 2 tbsp mixed chopped herbs
• Salt (to taste)
• 2 tbsp Ketchup
Rub the flesh side of the fish with the Bajan seasoning and lime juice, and season with the salt. Roll each fish up tightly and secure with a toothpick. Heat the butter in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaf and cook, stirring until soft. Add the ketchup, curry powder, mustard and sugar and stir. Add the water, stir, and bring to a simmer. Arrange the rolled fish in the skillet and cover with the bell peppers, tomato, herbs, and hot sauce. Cover and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with cou cou, a Caribbean side similar to polenta.
Rum Punch. What else? The home of rum writes the book on this fruity classic. Mix 1 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, 2 oz. Mount Gay rum and add a dash of Angostura bitters.
FROM ST. KITTS
From lush rainforests to secluded beaches, this hidden gem is big on appeal. Hike up Mount Liamuiga, tour iconic heritage attractions, catch the buzz of the rustic beach bars or simply laze on a secluded beach. On St. Kitts, exploring and relaxing are never far away.
Known for the warmth and hospitality of its people, the charming island of St. Kitts also boasts some hidden treasures. Take a ride on the ‘Sugar Train’ – the Caribbean’s only scenic railway, or see batik-making at Caribelle Batik Romney Manor.
Bring some colour to your cooking with this must-try St. Kitts favourite, naturally bursting with taste.
• 450g saltfish
• 1 green, 1 yellow & 1 red pepper, diced
• 450g tomatoes, chopped
• 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
• 4 tbsp oil
• 2 tbsp butter
• 6 spring onions, finely chopped
Boil the fish in water until tender, for about 20 minutes. Drain before removing bones, scales and flakes. Heat oil in a large pan. Add peppers, spring onions, onion and garlic. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and simmer over medium heat for 2 to 3 mins. Add saltfish, butter, salt and pepper. Cover the stew and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Serve with spicy plantains, seasoned breadfruit and delicious coconut dumplings.
Ting and Sting. It may be simple to prepare, but this tempting tipple has a sting in its tail. Add 1 oz. rum to 5 oz. of Ting, a local grapefruit flavoured soda.
Green Fig & Saltfish
FROM ST. LUCIA
An emerald rainforest blankets the island’s dramatic peaks and valleys, while tranquil beachy coves and fishing villages dot the coast. Stay in the sun-soaked south of the island for eye-catching Piton views. The Gros Piton is the easiest to climb if you’re feeling adventurous, and there are some great excursions to other scenic highlights.
Marigot Bay, Pigeon Island and the sulphur springs in the famous ‘drive-in’ volcano are must-visit sights, while plantation tours and canopy ziplining bring the adventure. Reefs cover 60% of the island waters, so diving and snorkelling are essential too.
Another spicy seafood classic with a sweet, fruity hit to temper the heat.
• 225 g saltfish
• Coconut or olive oil for frying
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 tbsp hot pepper, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 2 spring onions, sliced
• 2 tomatoes, diced
• 2 green bananas (green figs) boiled until tender and skins have split, peeled and diced
• 1 sprig of thyme
• Handful of coriander
Prepare the saltfish by rinsing off the excess salt. Put into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then drain. Remove the skin and bones and flake the flesh. Heat a little oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion, seasoning peppers and garlic until softened. Add the spring onions and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the prepared saltfish. Add the tomatoes and thyme. Finally stir in the bananas. The dish shouldn’t need any more seasoning because of the saltfish.
Lucian Slammer. This one is not for the faint of heart… Mix 2 oz Bounty Rum; 1 oz pineapple juice; 1 oz Marigot Bay Coconut and Rum; ½ oz lime; ½ oz Blue Curacao. Pour over ice and splash with a dash of Bitters.
Visit Jamaica for the sights, sounds and smells of planet-reggae, and take in the bohemian attitude that drifts through the streets. Cool Kingston’s famous nightlife draws the young and young at heart, while foodies flock here for authentic street food favourites like ackee and jerk chicken.
Away from town, the Caribbean’s green garden impresses with its craggy coastlines and clear blue seas. Though there’s plenty of beaches to kick back on, it’s the tropical scenery that takes centre stage. From mountains and mangroves, to coastlines and coral reefs, the landscapes of Jamaica have a rhythm all their own.
There’s a reason this jammin’ jerk classic is the best-known island export. Easy to prepare; even better to eat.
• 4 chicken thighs
• 4 tbsp jerk marinade (readily available in supermarkets)
• 2 tbsp jerk seasoning (readily available in supermarkets)
• 1 whole scotch bonnet
• Sprig of fresh thyme
• 2 cloves garlic
Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix together and then leave overnight in the fridge to marinade. The next day fire up the BBQ and cook or place in the oven for 45 minutes approx. on 180 degrees.
An Old Jamaican. A humble sundowner glammed up with a bit of bubbly. Muddle 1 sprig of mint and 1 oz. lime juice. Add 1.5 oz. of rum, .75 oz simple syrup, 1 dash of Angostura bitters then top with a splash of champagne.
The trade winds blow in the scent of nutmeg and with it a sense of Grenada’s maritime history. Pure Grenada, forever the spice of the Caribbean, entices with its laidback welcome that hides an adventurous heart, complemented by enchanting vistas and superb cuisine.
It’s all here: the underwater sculpture park, the waterfall trails, wondrous wildlife, eco sites, festivals, shopping boutiques and a vibrant restaurant scene. Not to mention all the first-rate beaches – and upscale beachfront resorts – you’d expect from a luxury island escape.
Grenada’s signature dish adds a meaty treat to the table with a uniquely Caribbean taste.
• 500g salted meat (beef, pig snout, pig tails, or salted ham & cod.)
• 1 medium onion
• 1 large green breadfruit
• 8-10 callaloo leaves
• 1¼ cups milk extracted from small dry coconut or boxed coconut milk
• 1 sprig celery
• 2 sprigs thyme
• To taste: chives, seasoning peppers, garlic, turmeric and/or curry
• Provisions: green bananas, Dasheen, sweet potato, yam
• Serve with: dumplings
Wash salted meat then cut into small pieces. Put into heavy aluminium pot then add sliced onion, chopped celery, and thyme. Mix. Wash and peel the skin of the breadfruit. Cut into 4-5 pegs. Remove centre core. Cut pegs in halves across. Arrange breadfruit pieces on the meat. Wash callaloo, peel stems, break stems into pieces and add to pot. Then spread the callaloo leaves open on the top of breadfruit putting the smaller leaves between larger ones. Add coconut milk. Cover pot tightly, put on medium to low heat. Cook till all water is absorbed and food begins to fry. Remove from heat and open pot. Using a fork and spoon, roll up leaves into a ball-like mixture. Serve on a warm dish. Place breadfruit pieces on the dish, then the meat. Complete the meal with avocado slices and a fresh fruit or milk drink.
Spice Seduction. Connoisseurs use Clarke’s Court rum for this one. Combine the following: 2 oz. Dark Rum; 1/2 oz De La Grenade Liqueur*; 1/2 oz Blue Curacao; 3 oz. orange juice; Splash of lime juice; Splash of grenadine syrup. Shake mixture with ice cubes and serve in a martini glass.
FROM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic’s charm lies somewhere between the summit of Pico Duarte and the combed south coast beaches of Boca Chica. No one’s expecting you to climb the Caribbean’s highest mountain though, so feel free to base your holiday routine around beach life by day and ‘merengue’ dancing by night.
For clubbing and casinos hit Las Terrenas or Juan Dolio. Capital Santo Domingo is, of course, a must too, if only for a wholesome dose of history to balance out the hedonism. This eclectic land of national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches is as diverse as it is beautiful.
Note the aromatic punch of this herby and hearty Dom Rep classic; simple yet delicious.
• 500g of goat meat (cubed)
• ¼ cup cassareep
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 inch piece orange peel
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 wiri wiri peppers
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 4 cups water
• 2 sprigs thyme
• 3 cloves
• 1 small onion
In a pot, heat the oil and the pieces of meat to brown a little. Then add all other ingredients (except the water) and give a good stir. Next add the water, ensure everything is covered then bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and leave for three hours. Once you return, the liquid will have reduced, unveiling the intense colours and flavours of the dish. Serve piping hot.
Mamaguava. An earthy potion with a serious kick. Mix together 3 oz. Mamajuana (rum, red wine & honey to soaked with tree bark & herbs) and 4 oz. guava juice.
Pepperpot & Fungee
Life truly is a beach in Antigua; there’s a white sand strand for every day of the year.
And the 365 beaches share both Atlantic and Caribbean coasts creating a diversity of wildlife – don’t miss unique excursions like Stingray City.
It’s an island close to our hearts, whose historical landmarks of Georgian dockyards, hilltop naval forts and plantation windmills are some of the best preserved in the West Indies. Antigua’s five-star resorts are as good as any in the region too. From luxury adults only to boutique and family-friendly, there’s an accommodation style for everyone.
An eclectic feast of sweet and savoury goodness. For a satisfying vegetarian option, just remove the chicken.
• 1 cup pumpkin
• 1 cup aubergine
• 1 cup papaya
• 2 cups fresh spinach
• 1/2 onion
• 4 cloves garlic
• ½ cup flour and water
• 500g chicken drumsticks
• 1 sprig thyme
Dice the aubergine, papaya, onion, garlic, and pumpkin. Roughly chop the spinach. Add all to a pot. Cover with water and cook on a medium heat until vegetables are soft. Then mash them. Mix flour with water until you can roll them into little ball shapes to make your dumplings. Get a pot of water boiling. Add uncooked chicken, dumplings, and thyme to water. Lower temperature and cook for 15 minutes. Add the mashed vegetables and cook for another 10 minutes stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper to serve.
Antiguan Smile. A long glass of something cool to round off the day. Mix 1½ oz. dark rum; 1 oz. crème de banana; 1½ oz. pineapple juice; ½ oz. sour mix.
*Featured image courtesy of Unsplash