Eat Like An Islander
Everyday staples of West Indian cuisine tend to provoke a “huh?” response from even sophisticated American cooks. Following are some of the most common mystery ingredients, which often can be found in West Indian or Asian food shops, or online.
A creative (and visual) term for avocado.
The green, elephant-ear-shaped leaf of the local variety of taro. Although often compared to spinach, it has a heartier, appealingly woody flavor.
Known in Latin America as chayote; a pale green, shiny vegetable that’s shaped much like a knobby pear.
The starchy root portion of the callaloo plant; also known as taro root.
Conch, a mollusk encased in a beautiful spiral shell.
The red membrane that encircles the fresh nutmeg nut.
Tree bark said to have cleansing and stamina-enhancing properties. The syrup is used to make a carbonated tonic drink called Mauby Fizz.
Irish moss seaweed, also thought to have tonic effects. Locals add soda water to sea-moss syrup for a bubbly drink.
Used fresh, these smallish peppers can be red or green and can range from bell-pepper mild to jalapeño hot. They taste something like a Scotch bonnet.
A weedlike plant that tastes remarkably like cilantro.