Growing up in Barbados is one of the best things that could ever happen to you. I am surrounded by a wide selection of food which truly exhibits the flavours of the Caribbean. Flavours from around the world have infused Barbadian cuisine to make the best dishes in the world.
A traditional Barbadian Sunday lunch is one of the best meals that you can ever wish for. It is a wonderful feast which is made up of the right mix of proteins and carbohydrates.
The meal consists of baked chicken, fried flying fish, rice and peas, macaroni pie, coleslaw, potato salad, steamed vegetables, tossed salad and a hearty beef stew. Each item is prepared on the same day and because there are so many options, there are enough left overs for the next day.
In the Caribbean, we are notorious for seasoning our meat with herbs and spices after a lime and salt bath. Jars of seasoning are available in all supermarkets, but I prefer homemade seasonings. The night before cooking, slits are made in strategic points of the chicken and the seasoning is stuffed into these slits and then baked in the oven. After baking, the result is meat that is tender, juicy and bursting with flavour.
Fried Flying Fish
Flying fish can be called the fish of Barbados. It is plentiful in Caribbean waters and a favourite among Barbadians. After boning and cleaning, the fish is also covered with lime juice and salt after which it is washed and then loaded with seasoning. A batter is made with flour, bread crumbs and spices (my favourite is curry) and fried until golden brown.
Rice and Peas
Rice and peas is to Barbadians like Mac N Cheese is to Americans. It is the number one staple in Barbados and it is one of the most versatile starches. The types of peas are endless, and include field peas, pigeon peas and split peas. But for me, this meal tastes best with green peas. The peas are boiled with onion, thyme and a piece of salted meat until tender and then the rice is added and cooked until fluffy.
Macaroni pie can be safely described as an amped up version of Mac n cheese. The macaroni is cooked in salted water. When finished, the water is drained off and the macaroni is mixed with shredded cheddar cheese, milk, condiments like ketchup and mustard, black pepper to taste and baked until golden.
Homemade coleslaw is probably one of the easiest side dishes that can be made. Shredded carrots and cabbage, with finely chopped onions and sweet peppers are coated with mayonnaise and sprinkled with sugar to taste.
English potatoes, bits of cheese and ham are mixed together with mayonnaise to create another easy side dish.
There is no set rule stating which vegetables you can use, so you're free to decide. I love pumpkin, squash, corn, and broccoli.
Lettuce, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes are the favourite ingredients for a tossed salad. I'm not a fan of tomatoes, so my salad is usually very boring.
Gravy is made for the rice and peas using chunks or strips of beef. Onions, garlic, and herbs are boiled with the beef and flavoured using condiments such as worcestershire sauce and soy sauce and other spices. Many people add carrots and English potatoes to their stew.
This is a meal that is sure to leave you pleasantly filled and satisfied. Many Barbadians have their own variations. Other popular additions to this meal are sweet potato pie, pumpkin fritters, stuffing, baked pork, ham and fried dolphin (mahi-mahi). But whatever the combination, it can be classified as one of the best meals I ever ate.
(She Likes Her Food)