The Caribbean includes islands and countries as diverse as Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Antilles, Guadeloupe and Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Virgin Islands. Common foods like seafood, chicken and coconut, as well as recipes like jerk and callaloo, unite these islands into a heterogeneous culinary paradise.
Makes 8 Satays; Serves 4 as an appetizer
If I had my way, everybody would eat plantains regularly. My love of the plantain goes back a long way; grilled plantains served with roasted peanuts (groundnuts) are sold by hawkers on street corners in my native Ghana. This recipe is best served as an appetizer or a light meal, with alfalfa or other green shoots and a tomato salsa.
6 tablespoons (89 mL) ginger wine
1 tablespoon (15 mL) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon mild red paprika
Pinch of celery salt
4 boneless chicken breast fillets,
cleaned, fat cut off, and cubed
3 semi-ripe, firm plantains
1 lime, halved
Salt and pepper for seasoning
8 small fresh red chiles (chillies)
Place all the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan and gently warm over a low heat, stirring, until the peanut butter has melted and blended in with the other ingredients. Pour the marinade into a bowl and add the cubed chicken. Stir well so each piece of chicken is well coated with marinade. Allow to stand for about 1 hour.
Peel the plantains, rubbing a little oil onto your hands before starting so that the dark, sticky residue from the plantains' skin does not stain your hands. Rub the lime halves over the peeled plantains so they do not discolor. Trim off the ends and cut each plantain on the diagonal into six thick chunks. Squeeze the remaining lime juice over the plantain pieces, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and toss.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade liquid. Thread alternate pieces of marinated chicken and plantain onto each of 8 wood or metal skewers, and top each skewer with a chile. Brush with the marinade and grill (barbecue) until cooked, about 10 minutes. Take care to keep turning the satays regularly so they are browned and cooked evenly. Serve hot with alfalfa or green shoots and a tomato salsa .
If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for about 1 hour while your chicken is marinating. Wipe the skewers with a paper towel dipped in a little oil before you skewer the meat and vegetables onto them; this helps the cooked food to slide off easily.
Dorinda's Taste of The Caribbean
African-Influenced Recipes from the Islands
By Dorinda Hafner
$16.95 paper, 160 pages with illustrations throughout
Ten Speed Press, 1996
Reprinted with permission
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