Caribbean Cupboard

I've never been to the Caribbean islands but that never stop me to try Caribbean cuisines! Here's a list of popular ingredients that one can typically found in a Caribbean kitchen. Many of these ingredients can be found in the International Food aisle at your local grocery or Latin American, Asian or Caribbean grocery stores.

Beans and Legumes:

Beans and peas such as black-eyed peas, black (turtle) beans (frijoles negro), chick peas (garbanzos), cooked dry peas (chicharos), field peas with snaps (frijoles verdes), green pigeon peas (gandules verdes), pink beans (habichuelas rosadas), pinto beans (habichuelas pintas), red kidney beans (habichuelas coloradas), small red beans (habichuelas coloradas pequeñas) and small white peas (habichuelas blancas)

Dried Herbs and Spices:

Achiote, allspice, amchur powder, anise, masala, bay leaves, bay rum leaves, cardamom, cassia, cayenne pepper, chili, chives, cinnamon, clove, colombo powder, coriander, curry leaves, curry mix, essence like vanilla, almond and anise extract, fenugreek leaves, galanga, garlic powder, ginger, Laos powder, lemon grass, mace, malagueta, marjoram, mustard, neem leaves, nutmeg, onion powder, papain (papaya extract used as a meat tenderizer), paprika, parsley leaves, black, green and white pepper, peppermint leaves, star anise, tandoori masala, thyme (European, small-leaved Trinidadian and Spanish) and turmeric


Assorted fruit nectars like banana, guava, lemon, lime, pineapple, mango, orange, passion fruit, soursop and tamarind sold in cans and bottles

Ginger beer It's not made like any beer but a dilution of ginger root syrup. It is sold as a concentrate too. When mixed with lime or lemon and rum, it makes a cool summer drink

Ginger wine is currant wine strongly flavored with ginger root

Mauby is made from the bark of a small, local tree and a popular drink in the Caribbean

Orange squash is an orange concentrate bottled in Jamaica

Roselle or Sorrel is a shrub with smallish yellow mallow flowers. The fleshy calyxes of the flowers are bright red, large and long lasting. To extract the flavor or color, the flowers are first collected, dried and boiled. When mixed with sugar, herbs and spices, it makes a refreshing and popular drink


Beater, coalpot, casserole and saucepan, cleaver, deep-fat fryer, garlic press, grater, mallet, pepper mill, pan, pestle and mortar, potato masher and ricer, pressure cooker, processor and blender, sieve, wooden spoon, swizzle stick and whisk

Flour and Meal:

Cassava flour is made from a cassava root. The root is first grated in a food processor and then squeezed through a cloth to remove the juice which can be converted into casareep. Next, the dry residue is sun- or oven-dried. The flour can then be used to make bread or seasonings on hot foods

Corn meal used to thicken sauces and make baked goods

Plantain flour is common in the islands because of its abundance. It is used for baking and sauce thickener. To make from scratch, first peel green plantains, slice them in the processor and bake it in the oven to dry out slowly and completely without browning. When quite crisp, place the plantains in the food processor and reduce to a floury consistency. Sift through a fine sieve and store in an air-tight container


Acelora (Barbados Cherry), bananas (Figues in French) , carambola (star fruit), cashew apple, cherimoya (custard apple), citron (French for lemon), citron vert (French for lime), fruta bomba (papaya or Lechosa in Hispanic island), genipa (like grapes), guanabana (soursop), guava, mammey, mango, naseberry (sapodilla), piña (Spanish for pineapple), plantains, pomelo (shaddock) and surinam cherry (pitanga)

Milk, Cream and Cheese:

Coconut milk and cream, fresh milk and cream, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and Queso Bianco (a white cheese of the Hispanic islands)


Almonds, cashews and peanuts


Vegetable oil, corn oil, margarine and good quality butter, sugar, molasses and rum

Vegetables and Rice:

Avocado, breadfruit, breadfruit nuts, calabaza (pumpkin or giraumon), callaloo, cassava (yuca), chayote, dasheen (eddo), dion-dion, gumbo (okra or melondrone- a DR word)), igname (yam), malanga (tannia or yautia), onion, rice, shallots, tomatillo and tomatoes

Check out Caribbean recipes such as Beans and Rice, Fried or Baked Plantains, Jamaican Jerked Chicken and Jambalaya. Visit Caribbean Desserts and Beverages to plan your next island-theme parties :)

Island Flava's jerked chicken with rice and beans, cold salad and fried plantains-- YUM!

Date: 11/21/2010


Down-Island Caribbean Cookery A Lively Recipe Collection from One of the World's Freshest Cuisines by the Elberts