There’s such a great wealth of diversity in Caribbean cuisine that it might take a whole lifetime to taste your way through every island’s regional specialty. During the holiday season, there are certain staples that will always have a place on the Caribbean Christmas dinner table. Here’s a quick roundup (and some recipes!) of most cherished holiday dishesfrom Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana.
Recipe: Gungo (pigeon peas) and rice
While every island has its own way of approaching this dish, it’s very important to see this on a Jamaican family’s Christmas table.
Trinidad & Tobago
Very similar to Latin American tamales, the easiest way to spot the difference is the use of fig leaves instead of corn husks. Because they store well in the freezer, Trinis start the pastelle making process weeks in advance and its very commonly a family affair.
Recipe: Djon Djon
Made with wild trumpet mushrooms, the unique dish and its signature color don’t begin to foretell the deep and flavorful deliciousness of this Haitian favorite. Whenever you hear someone say they’ll have “black rice” on the table, make sure that you’re in attendance.
Recipe: Pepper pot
The base for this beautiful dish is called “cassareep” and its made from cassava root. It’s been said that pepper pot was developed by Guyana’s indigenous Amerindian people as a way to preserve meats since there’s no need for refrigeration. This wintertime stew is Guyana’s national dish and deservedly so.
Of course we can’t forget two items that always have a place on any Caribbean table anytime of the year, but especially during the holidays:
Recipe: Sorrel drink
Recipe: Black cake
Of course, we couldn’t cover every island and every variation of the above recipes, but if you have a favorite Christmas dish, we’d love to hear about it.
What else should be on our list? Drop a comment below with your feedback.