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Caribbean Heat: A little or a lot! (Wet Curry Mix Recipe)

If you are familiar with spicy foods, then you probably know that the habanero is in the hottest family of peppers that exist today. Caribbean regions have different names for, and hybrids of, these fiery peppers: Scotch bonnet, bonny peppers, bird peppers, and congo peppers, for instance.

Main meals across the Caribbean typically include some type of pepper. Fish is abundant, of course. Pork, chicken, beef, and goat are also plentiful. Whichever recipe you choose for a main dish, feel free to exchange the recommended meat for your own preference.

Use basic curries on any type of meat, poultry, or fish. If you decide to try goat, look for a "cabrito," which is a baby goat. Mercados, or Hispanic markets, usually carry meat from older goats and it can be tough unless it is marinated and then boiled slowly. In fact, Caribbean curry recipes are good for tougher meat cuts, either simmering in a pot or fried in a skillet.

Here is a generic "wet" curry mix; use it as an overnight marinade:

2 pounds of meat - your choice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 habanero pepper or 2 jalapeno peppers, minced (optional)
Salt to taste
3 Tablespoons curry powder
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon grated gingerroot
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ½ cups water (can use beef broth/chicken broth/vegetable broth)

Cut meat of choice into bite-sized cubes. Combine all other ingredients and place in bowl or plastic bag. Add meat and mix contents thoroughly. Leave overnight. Bring enough water to boil in pot. Add meat and marinade. Cover and let simmer over medium to low heat for at least 2 hours or until meat is tender. Add more water if necessary. Serve with rice and vegetable side dish.

By the way, Indian servants who arrived with their British "owners" introduced curries to the islands.

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