Watching The World Cup Finals? Try 7 Dishes From The Caribbean
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The West Indies is a region in the Caribbean that includes numerous islands, which are divided into three main groups: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas. These islands are known for their diverse cultures, languages, and histories, with influences from indigenous peoples, European colonisation, African heritage, and, in some cases, Asian and Indian immigration. The term 'West Indies' reflects this blend of cultures and the region's rich heritage.

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West Indian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavours and ingredients that reflect the region’s diverse cultural heritage. Each dish tells a story of the islands’ history and the people who call them home. Key staples include rice, beans, plantains (cooking banana), and a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables. Seafood is abundant here. 

Spices are integral to West Indian cooking for example, the Jerk seasoning from Jamaica, gives the dishes a bold flavour. Curries, influenced by Indian immigrants, are popular particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, where roti and curry dishes are a staple. Stews such as Guyanese Pepperpot, rich with cassareep, showcase slow-cooked, deeply flavoured preparations. Desserts often feature coconut, with treats like Jamaican Gizzada (coconut tart) and Trinidadian Coconut Sweetbread.

Whether you’re enjoying the spicy heat of Jerk Chicken, the comforting heartiness of Pelau, or the sweet indulgence of Gizzada, these dishes offer a taste of the rich culinary traditions of the West Indies. Exploring these dishes is not only a gastronomic adventure but also a journey into the heart of Caribbean culture.

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken is probably the most iconic dish from Jamaica. It’s a flavourful and spicy grilled chicken, marinated in a blend of seasonings known as jerk spice.The marinade typically includes allspice, thyme, Scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon. The chicken is traditionally cooked over pimento wood, giving it a distinctive smoky flavour. Jerk Chicken is usually served with rice and peas, fried plantains, and a side of coleslaw. The heat from the Scotch bonnet peppers, combined with the sweet and savoury notes from the allspice and other spices, creates a complex and satisfying dish.


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Pelau is a popular dish in Trinidad and Tobago, and it's a one-pot meal that combines rice, pigeon peas, meat (usually chicken or beef), and a variety of vegetables. The dish is flavoured with caramelised sugar, which gives it a rich, deep colour and a slightly sweet taste. Coconut milk is also added, giving the dish a creamy texture. The hearty and comforting dish showcases the fusion of African, Indian, and Creole influences in Trinidadian cuisine. 

Flying Fish and Cou-Cou

Flying Fish and Cou-Cou is the national dish of Barbados and the recipe is passed down from one generation to the other. Flying fish, which are abundant in the waters around Barbados, are seasoned and fried or steamed. Cou-cou is a side dish made from cornmeal and okra. The two are typically served together, with a rich tomato-based sauce poured over the fish and cou-cou. This dish offers a unique taste of Barbados.

Ackee and Saltfish

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Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is a fruit that, when cooked, has a texture that’s almost like scrambled eggs. It’s sautéed with salted codfish, onions, tomatoes, and Scotch bonnet peppers. The dish is often served with boiled green bananas, fried dumplings, or breadfruit. This dish is a staple Jamaican breakfast and offers a unique combination of flavours and textures. The creamy ackee and the salty fish create a perfect balance.


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Pepperpot is a traditional dish in Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean. It’s a rich, spicy stew made with meat (usually beef or pork), cassareep (a sauce made from cassava root), and various spices. The stew is slow-cooked to develop deep flavours and is often enjoyed with bread or rice. The cassareep gives the stew a dark colour and a slightly bitter, sweet flavour, while the slow cooking ensures the meat is tender and flavourful. It is usually made on Christmas and festive occasions. 

Roti and Curry

Roti and Curry is a staple in Trinidad and Tobago, reflecting the Indian influence in the region. The dish consists of a soft, flatbread (roti) filled with curried meat (such as chicken, goat, or shrimp) and potatoes. The dish shows the influence of Indian immigrants in this region. Just like in India, the curry is spiced with a blend of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and other spices, creating a rich and aromatic filling. The soft roti and the spicy, hearty curry make for a satisfying meal that’s perfect for any time of the day.


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Gizzada is a traditional Jamaican pastry made with a sweet coconut filling that sits in a crisp, tart-like shell. This dessert is said to have come to Jamaica from Portugal. The filling is made using grated coconut, brown sugar, ginger, and nutmeg, cooked until caramelised and then placed in a pastry shell. The crunchy pastry compliments the sweet, chewy coconut filling. It’s a delightful treat that highlights the use of coconut and spices in Jamaican desserts.