• Thursday, October 1, 2020

Caribbean Cuisine Recipes

Caribbean Cuisine – Just in Time for Winter
By , Cooling Your Jets Contributor
January 4, 2012

There is much more to Caribbean cuisine than the ever-popular “red beans and rice.” From crisp salads to savory pots of paella and sweet corn desserts, the melting pot created from Spanish and African influences is quite tasty. As in many parts of the world, recipes are passed from generation to generation, ensuring the legacy of each dish is preserved through time. It is in that same spirit that Galavante shares these simple Dominican dishes with you. 



4 ripe plantains

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Kosher salt


Fried plantains have made their way onto many menus and in many forms. In traditional Dominican cooking they are first smashed and then fried.

Serves 8

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minute

In a deep sauté pan, heat oil to 325 degrees.

Peel plantains and slice crosswise into 1-inch piece. Using the back of a plantain smasher or fork, gently crush each slice. Add slices to the oil and fry until golden, about 1 minute per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain. Salt immediately.

Spicy Shrimp Dip


1  lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 

1/2 cup butter 

1/2  small Spanish onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2  teaspoon chili powder

1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4  cup white wine
1/2  lemon, juiced
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

Kosher salt, to taste
Chives, minced, for garnish


No matter what part of the island you visit, seafood is king. From grilled fish to steamed mussels, Dominicans rarely go a day without eating something from the surrounding ocean.

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

In a large skillet, melt butter and add onion, bell pepper and celery. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder and cayenne. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in white wine and lemon juice and reduce heat to low. Add shrimp and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly add in the cream cheese until melted, stirring often. Cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary and transfer to bowl. Garnish with chives and serve with crusty baguette slices or mini croissants. 

Avocado Salad


1 red pepper, small dice

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2  cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

3 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced into wedges

Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste


Salads are an important part of any Dominican meal. They often feature creamy avocados, sweet onions and a very simple dressing.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Inactive time: 30 minutes

Whisk together the oil and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Add the pepper and onion and allow to marinate for a half hour. Gently fold in the avocado wedges and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Dominican Paella with Rice


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

4 cups long grain white rice

6 cups water

1 teaspoon ground annatto

2 firm white fish fillets (like monkfish), cut into one-inch chunks

1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peel and de-veined

1 dozen mussels, scrubbed, beards removed

Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for garnish


The main difference between Dominican paella and the many other varieties is the use of annatto instead of the traditional saffron. This spice not only adds a hint of pepper, but also turns the dish a vibrant yellow.

Serves 6

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

In a large Dutch-oven (or paella pot, if you have one) sauté onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil until lightly caramelized. Add tomatoes and cook until it caramelizes further. Add the rice and coat with the tomato mixture. Pour in the water and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the annatto. Add the fish and shrimp and all to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the mussels in the last 5 minutes of cooking. When the rice is done, turn the heat up to medium-high to “toast” the rice on the bottom of the pot. This step is essential to achieve that traditional, caramelized rice flavor. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges. 

Habichuelas Rojas Guisadas (Stewed Red Beans)


2 cups dried red beans, soaked overnight

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 8-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped


Beans are such an important part of Dominican cuisine that they seem to make an appearance in every meal – next to eggs, alongside rice or even in some desserts. This simple stewed recipe is a great starting point from which you can add various meats or vegetables to enhance the flavor.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the bay leaves and tomato. Bring to a simmer and add beans and cilantro and just enough water to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Serve alongside Paella.

Majarete (Corn Pudding)


4 cups whole milk

4 ears of sweet yellow corn, kernels removed from cob

1/3 cup super fine sugar

2 cups coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1/2 cup water



Corn is another common ingredient in Dominican cooking. The lines of sweet and savory are blurred as it’s found in everything from empanadas to this creamy dessert.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Place milk, corn, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and water into a blender and pulse until very smooth. Transfer mixture to a pot and cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Pour into serving bowls and top with remaining cinnamon. 

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