A taste of Antigua
Every family has their unique recipe for Antiguan Pepperpot, a one-pot meal of fresh and pickled meats, local vegetables and fresh spices, simmered slowly for a delicious stew. Fungee is a cornmeal dish similar to polenta, cooked in a traditional clay pot. Delectable and sweet Ducana is a mixture of grated sweet potato, coconut, sugar and spices, wrapped in a banana leaf and simmered in water. Spicy favourites include Goat Water, its unappetising name belying a hearty stew full of flavour, with seasonings of hot peppers, cloves and cinnamon. Salt fish is often married to Fungee and is a favourite Sunday morning breakfast dish. It’s made from the dried fish you see for sale in local shops and is a must-try island staple.
What better place for escaping the harsh winters, than to escape to the Tropical Isles of the Caribbean especially Antigua. Being close to the equator, the Caribbean is blessed with a beautiful climate perfect for growing most tropical fruits. One of he best places to see all the different varieties that are in season is the market. Ask for local made juice when stopping for lunch; you may be lucky to be blessed with a healthy, 0km drink! Let us introduce you to a couple of these exotic fruits!
Sorrel arrived in the Caribbean in the 18th century from West Asia and is a favorite drink for Christmas and New Year
Is is actually more of a spiced tea and is made from the red sepals of the Roselle plant (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) commonly called Sorrel in the Caribbean. Indians, Mexicans and Africans use it as a diuretic, to thin their blood and to lower blood pressure. Sorrel is also high in vitamins and minerals with powerful antioxidant properties and helps to lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol and detoxify the entire body.
Try this traditional recipe for Sorrell Drink!
2 cups sorrel
8 cups water
1 stick cinammon
1 small stick ginger – sliced
1 cup sugar to taste (as needed) dark rum – optional!
Bring water to boil in a large pot, then add all ingredients to the pot. bring back to a boil and reduce heat to a rolling boil. Allow to cool (overnight) strain all contents into a juice jug and sweeten to taste.
Owing to its popularity, sorrel is now picked, dried and packaged when in season so it may be found year round, though nothing beats the tsate of fresh sorrel. Remember to use less of the dried product as it is more concentrated.
And Tamarind Drink!
2 quarts water
Rinse Tamarind Pods and peel. Discard outside shell. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a medium pot. When at boiling point, cover and let seep overnight.Using your hands place as much pulp as possible from the softened fruit in a add 2 cups strained tamarind liquid to blender and purée until smooth. Strain purée through a sieve and add to the rest of the strained Tamarind liquid. Add 1 quart water and enough sugar to make liquid, Sweet to your taste.
Tamarind originated in tropical Africa but
has long been associated with Indian, South East Asian and Latin American cooking.
The brown leathery pod encases a soft, sticky pulp that tastes simultaneously sweet and sour. Popular uses include sauces, drinks and candies.
It is an Ayurvedic Medicine for gastric problems, digestion problems and cardio protective activity. Can be used as a mild laxative, to improve sluggishness. Great for treating Billious disorders – being acidic it extracts the bile and other juices in the body. Lowers cholesterol and helps in promoting a healthy heart. Treats sore throat, when gargled with dilute pulp.