- Food and Cooking
5 Favorite Foods of Grenada
Grenada's national dish is called 'Oildown.' It's a stew made with salted meat (preferably pig tails), and a medley of onion, carrot, celery, peppers, dasheen, breadfruit, and coconut milk.
Breadfruit is like a starchy melon. It's called breadfruit because when eaten before it's fully ripe, it has a texture and taste similar to fresh bread. Dasheen is a Caribbean root vegetable.
The stew is boiled until all the coconut milk is absorbed and the mixture has an oily texture. This can take several hours. The stew might also contain banana, green fig, and plantain. As well as pig tails, the meat could be pig snout, mackerel, crab, or even chicken. Oildown is usually served with dumplings.
The best way to experience Grenada's national dish is at a large gathering called a 'cook-up' where many people get together to prepare the food and then eat it. As you would expect, Oildown is served in many of the local restaurants. There are also many recipes on the internet so you can try making it at home!
Fresh Nutmeg Always Best
Nutmeg Ice Cream
Grenada isn't called the Spice Island for nothing! The abundance of nutmeg and mace shows up in its food. And, as a confirmed ice cream connoisseur, I think my favorite food from Grenada has to be nutmeg ice cream. It really is a true taste of the island!
It's made the same way a traditional ice cream is made, with cream, eggs, and milk. The secret ingredient, in case you didn't guess, is the addition of one teaspoon of nutmeg which makes it a delicious spice ice cream – very cooling for the hot days on the Spice Isle. You can buy it from shops and restaurants, as well as from ladies in the streets, sitting under umbrellas next to ice cream making machines.
And, you can make it at home to remind you of the smell and taste of your visit – but it won't taste the same unless you use your freshly grated nutmeg. The powdered stuff that we get from the grocery store won't cut it!
Best with Black Bean Salad
Roast Pork with a difference! We've all had roast pork for dinner, but have you had it the Spice Isle way? The Grenadians use the pork tenderloins for this dish.
The blend of spices used to season the roast makes this recipe unique. Chopped shallots, bay leaves, salt, allspice, and ginger are combined along with generous amounts of pepper and are rubbed into the meat prior to cooking. Of course, all the spices are fresh, which enhances the flavor. While this already sounds tempting, the best part is the sauce!
The sauce is made from fresh orange juice, minced shallots, brown sugar, fresh ginger, bay leaves, and allspice. Served with black bean and corn salad, this is a roast dinner the Grenadian way! Many of the restaurants serve this dish and I would strongly recommend you try it.
A Spicy Feast
No article about Caribbean food would be quite complete without mentioning jerk spice. Jerk chicken wings are frequently cooked in Grenada.
The key to the flavor of jerk chicken is the combination of spices that go into the marinade. This is made up of chopped onions, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon along with jalapeño peppers, black pepper, and soy sauce blended together in some vegetable oil.
The chicken wings are then soaked in the marinade for at least an hour, but it's better if left overnight. The wings are then roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes. Jerk chicken wings and other jerk dishes can be found at most of the local restaurants and bars. This is also a recipe that can be made at home, preferably with fresh spices.
Sugar and Spice....
Sweet Potato Pudding
Sweet potatoes aren't just for holidays anymore. They're quickly rising to the top of the food chain because they're tasty, low in calories, and nutrient-rich.
Sweet potatoes are a staple in the Grenadian diet and they use them to make a pudding that is fabulous. It's a bit like regular pudding, but it's made with sweet potatoes, milk or coconut milk, and flavored with nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and coconut. Some people add apples too.
The pudding is baked in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It's really as exotic and delicious as it sounds! The pudding is best served with ice cream or whipped cream, and sometimes even with a sprinkling of cookie crumbs on the top.
As with most recipes from Grenada, the key is in the freshness of the spices to give flavor, as well as the long, slow cook. It's wonderful comfort food!