Well here we are with the first Caribbean country, and I ended up going for one with a pretty flag. There are many other flags in this area that I really like, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados both come to mind, but I ended up settling on Saint Lucia because of the striking light blue colour and because it has a bona fide national dish.
Whilst the cuisine of Saint Lucia does share a lot in common with other nations in the Caribbean, there are particular quirks. For example, since this was previously a colony of France and Britain, the colonial influences can be felt in their food – as well as their being some touches from India (because, you know, empire).
Having a national dish that is specifically Saint Lucian really helped to make this the first pick for this region. There are a number of dishes that I want to cook, like macaroni pie and bouyon, which can be found elsewhere – so will be saving those until later.
The national dish of Saint Lucia is a confusing one, at least to a non-native. Why? Well, when they talk of green figs they actually mean green unripe bananas. Believe me, this was a relief as I have not eaten a fig since learning the whole thing about fig wasps – also it is incredibly easy to source green bananas in the UK. Similarly, since I live in London, my local Tesco superstore actually sells saltfish – meaning that this recipe was easy to buy for and cook.
For my recipe I went to 196 Flavours and made the addition of some sweet chilli sauce at the end as it really felt like this recipe could use the kick. Not to say that it’s bland at all, but a recipe containing reconstituted salt fish, 1 kilo of green bananas and shredded cabbage doesn’t sound the most appetising – which was completely wrong of me. If you are able to get your hands on some saltfish, I would really recommend this if you are in the market for something a bit different.
The recipe made enough for four, but myself and the husband ate this in one sitting whilst binge-watching The Middle. So easy was this recipe (and with the right spice level, this will be truly delicious) that it feels like a cool one to roll out if someone ever did an ‘Around the World Pot Luck’. Sadly I don’t live in the world of Desperate Housewives so it’s unlikely to happen – but hope springs eternal!
For the next post I will be at country number 25, which just goes to show how seriously I took my husbands challenge six months ago. Since this is a landmark number, I really want to choose a country that could be considered a substantial cuisine. Not decided what it will be yet, but I guess you’ll find out in a few weeks when I have the time to get back in the kitchen.