It seems like all of us have picked up a new hobby or have gotten back into something we simply didn’t have time for before. Some people are focusing on fitness, getting into home workouts or back into their running groove. Others are dabbling in the fine arts, while still others are using this time to hone and flex their culinary skills. If you fall into the latter category, try your hand at the following five authentic Bahamian dishes.
Baked Stuffed Crab
The Bahamas are known for their seafood dishes, so of course one of them had to be first on our list! Baked stuffed crab is usually served as an appetizer to the main meal. The crab meat is removed from the crab shell and combined with ingredients like bread crumbs, onions, green bell peppers, butter, and spices; then it is stuffed back into the original shells. These go into the oven until they’re browned, then they’re consumed with a healthy dose of lemon juice and rice on the side.
Pigeon Peas and Rice
You’ll find peas and rice throughout Latin America, but the Bahamas do it a little bit differently. For one thing, Bahamians only use pigeon peas in the traditional version of this dish. For another, their version tends to be heartier than other nearby variations, because it’s prepared with salted pork and vegetables. The fats and proteins from the pork make it a filling main course rather than a side dish alone.
Bahamian Macaroni and Cheese
Did you think the United States was the only country with macaroni and cheese as a staple? Think again! Bahamians love a solid cube of mac ‘n cheese to round out their lunch or dinner meals--and I do mean a cube. Bahamian mac ‘n cheese tends to be much thicker than what North Americans are accustomed to; evaporated milk, onions, peppers, and sometimes eggs are added to thicken up the dish. It also has an island flair; keep the milk handy, as there may be jalapeños or spicy goat pepper in the dish.
Bahamian Fish Stew
While Bahamians are no stranger to beef stews, fish stews are just as abundant given their proximity to coasts on all sides. Classic Bahamian fish stews combine a dark roux with spices and vegetables to create a thick sauce. This sauce is then poured over pan-fried grouper or snapper for a hearty meal that will last you through an entire day of exploring.
The second part of this dish is pronounced, “sowse.” Like the fish stew, chicken souse is filling comfort food that leaves the entire house smelling warm and savory for hours to come. This soup combines your typical vegetable soup ingredients--potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers--with a splash of lime juice and hot pepper. Though it’s often prepared with chicken, Bahamians frequently swap the chicken for other animal products, like pig’s feet or sheep’s tongue.
*Bonus: Cracked Conch
This last one has ingredients that are likely the most difficult to acquire in landlocked states, but it had to be included since conch is the national dish of the Bahamas! Pronounced “conk,” this tropical mollusk can be diced into salads, stewed in soups, or breaded and fried and eaten like a chicken nugget. Cracked conch is the deep-fried version, and it’s typically eaten with peas and rice as a main course or with lime juice and a sauce as an appetizer.
Will you be trying to make any of these? Let me know!
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.