Caribbean Cuisine Where else but a place considered the quintessential paradise would you expect to find the perfect cuisine? In Caribbean cooking, warm spices like ginger and anise play with the cool freshness of native fruits like pineapple, lime and papaya. The flavors and colors of earthy chilies, cumin, and annatto enliven white grains, black beans and tropical seafood like shrimp and lobster. Exotic, aromatic, vibrantly colored, fresh, lively, hot (but not too hot—even the most subtle of the other spices comes through in each dish), Caribbean fare is an invitation to enjoy every bite of life! With the right spices nearby, Caribbean cooking is as relaxed as an afternoon on the white sands. Try one of these simple recipes to spice up a meal -- or serve them all at once for a thoroughly Caribbean experience!
A spice marinade gives these shrimp a lovely golden glow.
Caribbean Beans and Rice
Make this dish jump by substituting a chili pepper for one of the sweet peppers.
Reminiscent of both salsa and pesto, this sauce adds the finishing touch to rice and bean dishes, fish and meat. It also makes a great marinade.
Use whatever tropical fruits are available to whip up this salad. Its sweetness perfectly balances a hot entrée.
Leftover pineapple core and a few spices make a refreshing drink. Just remember to get it the day before your Caribbean feast will be served.
Ask The Experts
What are annatto seeds?
Also known as achiote, annatto seeds are hard, reddish seeds with an earthy flavor. Annatto is sold as a paste or oil in its native Caribbean, where cooks use it to flavor everything from grains and vegetables to seafood and meats.
How can I cook with annatto seeds?
You can grind annatto seeds into a powder for use in recipes. You might also add liquid to the powder to form a paste. Or you can make annatto oil to have on hand anytime you want to bring color and Caribbean flavor to a dish. To make the oil, simply heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a skillet. Add about 1/4 cup of seeds, and stir until the oil becomes reddish, about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the oil into a glass jar and cool. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
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