The Complete Caribbean Cookbook

Pamela Lalbachan’s THE COMPLETE CARIBBEAN COOKBOOK serves as an excellent introduction to Caribbean cuisine with simple yet authentic dishes. The grouping of recipes is enlivened by the author’s own love of the region and its culinary specialties. Lalbachan has decorated the cookbook with mouth-watering photographs of the dishes arranged with the local style and color.

The recipes demonstrate the range of influences from various countries that make up the Caribbean’s unique culture. The cuisine contains dishes and ingredients from the indigenous Arawaks and Caribs; from French, Spanish and Dutch colonizers and settlers; from the plantation workers from Africa; and even from Indian and Chinese immigrants. Much of Caribbean cooking includes interesting hybrids of these cuisines.

This collection of recipes teaches how to make the familiar Caribbean fare of jerk chicken, lamb curry, johnny cakes, pumpkin soup, fried plantains and rum cake. Other recipes include interesting variations on Creole shrimp, tamales, yam fritters, and chop suey. Yet many readers will favor the final section, which features a large array of Caribbean mixed drinks. Some of the most popular are Jamaican fruit punch, pina colada, mango shake, planters punch, and ginger beer.

Caribbean dishes are very flavorful and spicy. The author keeps the recipes as simple as possible while still maintaining the exotic mix of spices. Often Lalbachan also offers alternatives and substitutes to ingredients, making the recipes accessible to the average home cook. She is also helpful in offering tips on how to serve and garnish the dishes so that they are authentically Caribbean in style and presentation.