Green seasoning can be found in most Trinidad kitchens as it is the foundational element of our cuisine. It is made by taking a variety of local fresh 'green' herbs and blending it to create an aromatic soupy paste-like mixture. This mixture is then used to 'season' the entire spectrum of Trinidad dishes. Green Seasoning can be used to marinate meat as a base for soups, one-pots, and curries, or you can use it to give depth to a sauce or condiment.
Mango Kuchela is a savory, spicy and tangy condiment with Indo Caribbean roots. Although the Caribbean is known for its deliciously sweet mangos ripe from the tree, it also uses them in their green state and makes them savory. Mango Kuchela is indeed one of the best ways to transform a green mango into a salty treat. Taking a shredded green mango and marinating it in a mixture of Indian spices makes this fantastic flavor combination put a little kick into your next meal.
Cumin or Geera as it is known in the Caribbean, is a spice with a very distinctive powerful flavor and aroma. This spice is the star of the Geera Pork dish and can be seen and smelt cooking at many family river limes. Often known for being a hot and spicy dish that will get your sinuses draining, it is also famous for helping one sober up after one too many rum and cokes.
Macaroni Pie is like the holy grail of Trinidad home-cooked comfort foods, especially for a Sunday lunch. For many Trinis, this dish brings back fond childhood memories of helping to grate cheese in a large bowl and trying not to get caught stealing a piece or two. The cheese is then made into a thick creamy sauce which is carefully seasoned for taste and gives this dish its iconic yellow-orange color.
An Aloo Pie could be considered the Indo Caribbean sister to the Samosa as they are both fried dough stuffed with potato. Aloo is the Hindi word for potato, showing the South Asian influence for its name and the seasonings and spices used in this roadside snack. The perfect Aloo Pie should have a crispy yet fluffy shell filled from edge to edge with soft pillowy mashed potatoes flavored with spices like cumin and fenugreek.
For those uninitiated into classic Trinidad cuisine, Pelau is rice, any choice of meat, and pigeon peas slowly simmered together in one pot culminating in the most incredibly flavorful comfort food you will ever have pleasure in. However simple these ingredients may sound, it is all about the cooking process, starting with "browning" the meat in a caramelizing-like process, then layering it with local green seasonings, the earthy Pigeon Peas the rice soaking up all that good as it cooks low and slow.
While cucumber’s natural anti-inflammatory properties are great for soothing and hydrating your tired puffy eyes, they also make an excellent snack or condiment like Cucumber Chutney. Not to be confused with Cucumber Relish, this East Indian-influenced Caribbean dish is more akin to a type of salsa. Cucumber Chutney is best known as a condiment found on Trinidad Doubles, a famous Trinidad street food. However, it is also a great stand-alone snack served with crackers or flatbread.