It’s Caribbean Food Week, which is as good an excuse as any to create a piece of culinary paradise by treating your meat to some tasty tropical marinades. Raise the steaks with these game-changing tips and recipes.
Meat the marinades
Marinades are liquids for soaking food in before cooking and are made with oils, vinegars, fruit juices, herbs, spices and more. As well as adding flavour, they help to tenderise and keep meat juicy.
Glazes, in meat terms, are a concoction of ingredients plastered on to add flavour and shine (as in honey glazed roast ham).
Meats rubs are a blend of herbs and spices designed to pack a taste punch as well as create a crust while cooking.
Love meat tender
We all love a bargain but no one wants to chew on leathery cheap cuts of meat. Transform them into melt-in-the mouth morsels by tenderising them properly.
There are lots of nifty tricks for tenderising meat, like soaking it in yogurt or fruit juices (go marinades!), salting it, cooking it low and slow, and pummelling it with a mallet. You can even steep it in cola.
The bottom line is: buy more affordable cuts like brisket, skirt and shin and make sure you tenderise them – you’ll be rewarded with deliciously soft meat.
Island style seasoning
With flavour influences from as far and wide as Africa, Asia, India and Europe, expect bold, fresh and spicy all the way. Nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and cloves are the most common spices, while chillies – especially mouth-melting Scotch bonnets – find their way into many of the best-known dishes.
Which brings us to jerk spice, probably the most famous Caribbean spice mix. It’s super simple to make at home and can be added to everything from pork to pizza. Play with the mix; add chilli, brown sugar, lime, coriander and other Caribbean flavours, and adjust them to your taste.
A zingy, sunshine of a sauce, Mojo is used with pork, steak, chicken and fish in its native Cuba and all over the Caribbean. The naranja agria (sour orange juice) can be substituted with an orange, lemon and lime mix.
Cook up the Caribbean
Now you know your Mojo from your meat rub, it’s time to cook up a Caribbean feast. Put on some meat beats (check out our tailor-made playlist on Spotify and start with a classic like this jerk chicken. Serve with traditional rice and peas. Niceness!
See the magic of tenderising in action with this flavour-packed grilled skirt steak with Mojo marinade. Using another cheap cut, this goat curry is a delicious example of the power of low and slow cooking.
Want to try the real deal? If you’re not jetting off to the islands anytime soon then head to the Notting Hill Carnival (25-26 August) for a full-blown dose of Caribbean fun and flavours.