Vibrant, fresh, spicy and sweet: these are some of the tastes and flavors that come to mind when I think about Caribbean food. The cuisine of the islands is one rich with a multicultural history, combining ingredients and techniques from Africa, South America and Europe along with native tropical fruits, vegetables and seafood.
Levi Roots’ excellent cookbook “Caribbean Food Made Easy” is a wonderful introduction to the food of the Caribbean, for those interested in learning how to prepare such meals in their own kitchens. The book was produced in conjunction with Roots’ wonderful 2009 BBC television program of the same name, where he traveled the islands and around the UK to explore the cuisine and introduce it to adventurous home cooks. Here, he shares over 100 recipes from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Martinique, and other islands of the West Indies.
It’s worth noting that most recipes in “Caribbean Food Made Easy” utilize ingredients simple to find in any good supermarket today and are truly easy to prepare, no matter your skill level in the kitchen. There are homey one-pot meals like “Jamaican Pot Roast” and “Caramel Lime Chicken” that will satisfy a hungry family or crowd. You can try soothing soups like “Pumpkin, Chickpea and Spinach Soup” that are great for warming up Winter nights. You’ll learn how to make a “Caribbean Fish Pie” with coconut and sweet potato mash sure to delight kids and adults alike, or how to do up “Shrimp and Corn Cakes” for your next picnic or Summer party. And of course there are lots of great vegetarian and vegetable-centric dishes, like “Hot Sweet Potato Wedges with Jerk Butter” and “Black Bean Soup with Hot Roast Pepper Cream” along with salsas, desserts, drinks and side dishes. Almost every recipe is shown in beautiful color photographs to tempt your taste buds and get you heading to the kitchen! (The photos above spotlight two dishes I have made from this book: “Caribbean Seafood Soup” and “Jamaican Pork Chops”, respectively.)
This is definitely a cookbook I’m glad to have in my collection at home and I recommend it highly to other home chefs who want to try to explore a new cuisine at home. To get a taste for Levi Roots style, check out the video below where he prepares “Martinique Coconut Chicken Curry”, one of the recipes in this cookbook.Buy Now