Easter in the Caribbean is traditionally a time for religious and secular celebration. This year as COVID-19 continues to negatively impact the region, the holidays are shaping to less celebratory. Even the customary crowded church services held on Easter (Sunday) will be absent this year, as the authorities several limit church congregations.
But, thankfully, none of the restrictions to prevent the spread of the dreaded virus can effect the unique variety of foods normally consumed in Caribbean countries, and within the Caribbean diaspora, during Easter.
The following are the recipes for some of the more popular cuisine consumed during the Easter holidays:
Jamaican Easter Bun Recipe
In Jamaica, bun, accompanied with cheese, is a must on the household menu during Easter, especially on Good Friday when people tend to stay away from the kitchen.
- 3½ cups flour
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 cup stout or beer
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2 tbsp. spoon melted butter or margarine
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup cherries
- 1 cup raisins, mixed peel, cherries*
- ½ tsp. ground allspice
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. spoon nutmeg
- ½ tbsp. spoon cinnamon
- ½ tbsp. spoon rose water
- ½ tbsp. spoon anise extract
In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, spices and sugar. Mix thoroughly and add fruit. Make a well in the center of mixture and add melted butter and beaten egg. Mix again until like coarse bread crumbs. Make another well in center of mixture and add beer or stout. Mix the whole thoroughly and turn into well-greased baking pans. Bake for 1¼ hours at 300° F. Makes two meatloaf pans. If desired, press a few whole cherries into the top of each bun.
* One cup total. Combine fruit as desired.
Based on their strict religious believes several Caribbean nationals give up eating meat, especially pork, during the Lenten season preceding Easter. Some do this although surely tested to break the meat-fast, but with Lent soon behind them they’ll make a beeline to cook and dine on a tasty dish of jerk pork.
- 5 lbs. pork shoulder (ask your butcher to cut into medallions or cubes)
- 5 tsp. salt (season salt)
- 5 garlic cloves (minced)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 whole pimento (allspice berries)
- 1 tbsp. burnt sugar
- 1 cup jerk marinade (see recipe below)
Wash pork in cold water then drain. Rub in the season salt, minced garlic and jerk marinade (see marinade recipe below). Add the burnt sugar and rub in to give a rich dark hue. Let marinate overnight or for at least two hours with the thyme and pimento then cook on the barbeque grill or in your oven at 400º F for about 30 minutes then lower the temperature to 275º F until done. Serve with mango salsa and rice and peas. Enjoy!!!
Caribbean Easter Egg Dye Recipe
Easter eggs, and the related Easter egg hunt, are more of a tradition for kids living in the Caribbean diaspora, but in recent years the tradition of the colorfully dyed Easter egg has migrated to the Caribbean region.
- 12 large eggs
- 8 cups boiling water
- 1/4 head red cabbage
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
Place eggs in a single layer in the bottom of the pot. Add water, vinegar and cabbage.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove eggs from pot and place in large bowl.
Strain liquid through a coffee strainer and pour the strained liquid into bowl with eggs.
Cover and refrigerate overnight for deeper color.
Remove from liquid and keep refrigerated.
Like bun and cheese, escovitched fish is consumed in most Caribbean homes on Good Friday, when eating meat is normally shunned to honor the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Preparation Time: 10 – 15 Minutes
Cook Time – 20 Minutes
- 2 lbs whole or sliced fish
- ½ cup cooking oil
- 4 tbs fish seasoning
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 whole lime or lemon or ¼ cup vinegar
- Clean fish and wash with lime / lemon juice or vinegar
- Put fish to drain on paper towel and make a diagonal cut on each side of the fish.
- Combine fish seasoning, salt and black pepper in a small dish
- Place oil in frying pan to heat.
- Crush the garlic and place in the frying pan, while the oil is being heated.
- While oil is being heated, rub seasoning in the fish cavity, and on the outside, make sure to season thoroughly.
- Ensure that the oil in the frying pan is very hot
- Place 2 fish at a time in the preheated oil
- Fry until each side of the fish is golden brown
- Place each fried fish in dish that can be covered
- 3 tbsp oil from the pan that fish was fried in
- 2 cups white or cider vinegar
- 3 medium sized carrots, julienned
- 2 large onions cut in rings
- 3 scotch bonnet or hot pepper cut in rings
- 6 pimento berries
- Combine oil, vinegar, carrot, onion, pepper and pimento in saucepan
- Cook carrot and onion until tender
- Pour sauce while hot onto fish
- Cover dish and marinate for 2 hours
Add slices of pepper, onion, and carrots to add additional garnishing. Now serve fish with your favorite side dish, and enjoy.
- Cut 2 -3 pounds of chicken breasts into cubes or slices (not too thin)
- Slice one medium size onion
- Dice 4 cloves of garlic
- Slice ¼ pound of ginger
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper or other pepper (to taste)
- Thyme (small amount about 1 ounce)
- 2 table spoonful of curry powder
- 2 table spoonful of cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon of ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon pimento (crushed)
- 3 medium size potatoes (white)
Wash and clean chicken thoroughly—Use ½ cup of lime juice in I gallon of cold water
Mix the chicken and all the ingredients together and let sit for 40 minutes (or longer if you choose). Try to sprinkle the curry powder on to the chicken.
Separate the chicken from the ingredients and sauté at medium heat for about 20 minutes. Stir the chicken to prevent it from sticking to the pot: you may add 1 cup of water while doing this.
Combine all the ingredients with the sautéed chicken with 12 ounces of water and let cook for 30 minutes at medium to low heat.
You may also add diced potatoes and tomatoes during the slow cooking period. It is important to cook the curry seasoning well, but not overcook the chicken. If you need more curry sauce to the chicken you may add 1 tablespoonful of curry powder to 1 cup of water and let boil for about 15 minutes; then add it to the partially cooked meat. Total cooking time about 60-70 minutes.
You may garnish or dress up the cooked curried chicken with mango chutney, pineapple, orange segments, raisins, or grated carrot.
Serve with steamed rice, rice & beans, green bananas, or dumplings. The main ingredient, curry powder, is a subtle blend of spices that greatly determines the taste of the finished dish. Recommended curry powder—lots to choose from.
- 1 1/2 lbs salt fish (cleaned of skin and bones)
- 1 ½ small onions, sliced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 3 pimentos, minced (these are available fresh in Trinidad; skip this you can only get the jarred version)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- juice of 1 lime
- black pepper, to taste
*Provisions (Trinidadian term for boiled root vegetables; any combination of taro, cassava, sweet potatoes, eddoes, green figs/bananas)
Optional: sliced Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers for a spicy garnish
Prepare salt fish by placing in a pot with enough water to cover by a inch or so. Bring to a boil., drain cooking liquid and squeeze out excess liquid. (You can taste it now and if it is still too salty, repeat the boiling and draining process again.) Allow to cool and then carefully remove any remaining bones. Shred into flakes with your fingers.
Heat a large frying pan, add oil, and fry the prepared salt fish for a few minutes, then add remaining ingredients and sauté for another minute until vegetables are just slightly softened.
Squeeze lime juice and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper onto the prepared buljol just before serving. Garnish with sliced Scotch bonnet or habanero if you like heat.
Serve with bake (or ciabatta), sliced avocado, and provisions.