Explore the Caribbean cuisine of this archipelago through its exciting, flavorful Saint Vincent recipes. From the fiery sautéed plantains, to the popular salt fish ‘stew down’ and spicy jerk chicken, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ cuisine is an explosion of aromas and flavors that give a creative twist to traditional Saint Vincent recipes.
From the freshness of the seafood caught along the coast to the boldness of hot peppers, you’ll be delighted to discover how these ingredients combine into truly awe-inspiring Saint Vincent recipes.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most iconic and beloved Saint Vincent recipes on the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, celebrated for their bold flavors and captivating aromas. So, don’t miss out on this opportunity to indulge in a full-bodied culinary experience. Let’s get cooking!
History of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Life on the islands of the Caribbean is often characterized as tranquil, idyllic and undisturbed—but that’s not the whole story. The archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a place of tremendous beauty—and one that has a fascinating history spanning hundreds of years.
From the region’s ancient indigenous inhabitants to the rule of colonial powers, the islands have a storied past that’s full of upheaval and intrigue. In this article, you’ll learn about the unique history of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—from the first settlements to the present day—and take a closer look at some of the more significant moments in its development.
By the time you’re finished, you’ll have an understanding of the events and attitudes that have shaped these stunning islands and the people who call them home.
Saint Vincent Food Culture
If you’re looking to explore the unique flavor of Caribbean cuisine, start with a visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The rich, flavorful Saint Vincent recipes of the region reflect a unique combination of African, Caribbean, French, Spanish, and British influences.
From succulent stews to delightful pastries, the food culture of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines offers something for everyone. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the vibrant ingredients, traditional Saint Vincent recipes, and mouthwatering flavors that define the culinary culture of this stunning archipelago.
Let’s start with a few key facts: Nearly 70% of the ingredients used in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines come from local farms, and the stunningly diverse authentic Saint Vincent recipes here range from West African staples to centuries-old British specialties. Unlock the delicious secrets of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines food culture and learn how this beautiful region will tantalize your taste buds!
Want more ideas to round-out your Recipe Box?
A lot of great options are in these posts!
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12 Saint Vincent Recipes For Quick & Easy Dinners
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Black cake is a cousin to the British Plum Pudding and is made with an expensive array of dried fruits, like cherries, raisins, and prunes and topped off with a bit of nutty crunch (almonds for me). Before baking – sometimes for months – the fruit soaks in rum and cherry brandy until it’s so plump and intoxicated, that only good things can come from it.
What version of the cake ends up on your fork depends on what island your plate rests on, although most will agree that – unlike with American fruit cakes – grinding up the boozy fruit is a must. This, along with a dose of molasses and brown sugar give the cake it’s deep brown coloring (while some also like to add a local ingredient called “browning”). Ground fruit also makes the cake extra moist and dense.
Ensalada de Bacalao | When I was a kid, my grandmother would make this salad, and it was one of the few things I would refuse to eat. Great way to start off a Saint Vincent food post huh? Of course, I don’t think anyone can successfully feed a child salted cod. If you have, please let me know.
Bacalao is the Spanish term for dried and salted cod. The process of drying and salting cod started as a way to preserve the fish to transport to the market. The flavor and texture it gives the cod is a bonus.
Historically, bacalao was solely made of Atlantic cod but due to overfishing it recently includes pollock, haddock, and blue whiting. Finding real cod bacalao is a real treat. However, it is ok to use other varieties of dried salted fish.
“I spent quite a bit of time living on the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies and picked up this Rum Punch Saint Vincent recipe from the Grand View Hotel there. I cut the ingredients in half as the original Saint Vincent recipe was for a huge quantity. Also, the amount of rum and water was unclear.
I interpreted the rum to water ratio as 1 part rum to 2 parts water since the original Saint Vincent recipe does not quantify an actual amount of either. If you use a normal size bottle of rum and double the amount for the water, you should be fine. It takes a few days to make, but is definitely worth the effort.”
Like many peasant traditional Saint Vincent recipes, Mr. Williams said, stew chicken was often made with leftover scraps like chicken backs, and you could do the same, though the Saint Vincent recipe here has been adapted for bone-in chicken thighs or the more economical chicken leg quarters.
At the Food Sermon, his restaurant in Brooklyn, he’ll serve it with rice and beans, but his preferred method is his own twist with chickpeas, sweet potato and the Caribbean version of paratha roti, an Indian flatbread he updates with fennel seed.
Callaloo soup is a must-have for us. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t like this soup. For those who are curious as to why we name it to soup in St. Vincent rather than callaloo in Trinidad, it is because we boil it with arrangements and dumplings and eat it as a meal.
For example, I like to make callaloo soup with white sweet potatoes, eddoes, dasheen, salt meat, dumplings, yams, and, of course, cassava. You also have the option of mixing the callaloo shrubbery first before cooking it or steaming it briefly before cooking it. To give callaloo soup its greatest flavor, add coconut milk towards the end of the cooking process. When making this soup, the dumplings are added last.
In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (as well as all over the Caribbean), they enjoy this soup, often with some really spicy scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, and garlic laced throughout (although I left mine mild). Traditionally, the soup would be made with a calabaza “pumpkin,” which has green skin and an orange interior. No matter what gourd you use, the soup still just takes 30 minutes or less.
”Put the pumpkin in the coconut and slurp them both up.” That’s how the song goes, right?
The national meal of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is Roasted Breadfruit and Jackfish. This satisfying combination of roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish is frequently enjoyed as a full lunch choice. The whole breadfruit is traditionally roasted over an open fire until it is slightly browned on the exterior but still soft and delicate in the middle.
Before being coated in flour and fried till crispy, the fish is frequently marinated in lemon juice. A sauce made with onions, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, or other vegetables and herbs is usually served alongside the authentic Saint Vincent recipe.
Fish blaff or seafood blaff is to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (and to the West Indies in general) what court bouillon is to metropolitan France. However it is spicier and more flavored.
Dombrés, matete of crab (which is similar to the Spanish paella), or fish blaff are of Dutch origin.
The West Indian calalou, a traditional Saint Vincent recipe made from crab and okra, is native to West Africa. The congo soup, a Christmas specialty, made from beef and pork, comes from African ancestors from the Congo during the period of slavery.
Colombo, the emblematic West Indian dish, is a legacy of Indian cuisine.
The famous accras de morue (salt cod fritters) are a legacy of the Kingdom of Dahomey, an African kingdom encompassing Benin, Togo, and Ghana.
A bold, flavorful authentic Saint Vincent recipe of tenderized conch meat, cooked down in a spicy curry sauce. Pair this with some boiled dumplings and ground provision and your guests will be eating out of your hands.
One of my favorite meats curried is conch. Have you ever had it? Once cooked correctly, it becomes a nice smooth, buttery meat that has been cooked down in an aromatic curry sauce.
After that, it’s just time to pair it with some dumplings and an array of ground provisions.
Like shrimp or curry crab, this seafood is simmered down into a nice curry sauce with or without coconut milk depending on your preference. (I prefer it with).
For a majority of people, the bone of contention in the summer would generally be the mangoes. We know that ripe mangoes are used to make the variety of traditional Saint Vincent foods and refreshers. But what about the tangy raw green mangoes? They are also equally tasty and flavorful as the ripe mangoes.
The raw green mangoes have equivalent use in making a variety of Saint Vincent foods as they also are tremendously tasty, tangy and sour. The Green Mango Chutney Saint Vincent recipe is surely a sweet sibling for the spicy mango pickle. There are various possibilities of different traditional Saint Vincent recipes from raw mangoes. Are you curious to try all the dimension of these tangy mangoes?
Spiced Saltfish fritters – Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A tastebud sensation! I like to think of these salt fish fritters as your ticket to a Caribbean culinary vacation, without the high price of a plane ticket or hotel room.
Dry salted saltfish is cod fish that has been preserved by drying after salting. Without the salt, it is most often referred to as stockfish. (A very popular and expensive dried fish used in African cooking). In Italy it is known as baccala and the Portuguese call it bacalhau.
A Saint Vincent recipe for Ducana (Antiguan Boiled Sweet Potato)! Grated sweet potatoes are mixed together with coconut, sugar, raisins (optional), spices, and flour, folded in banana leaves or foil, and boiled until firm.
Ducana is a type of boiled sweet potato mixture from the Caribbean island of Antigua. Variations are also popular in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and surrounding islands. Grated sweet potatoes are mixed together with grated coconut, sugar, raisins (optional), spices, and flour. The mixture is folded in banana leaves or foil and boiled until firm.
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