Q&A #1: What is Green Seasoning?
One of the unexepcted pleasures of running this site is getting a chance to hear and answer your questions. Some of you are Trinis who have lived abroad for some time. Some of you are foreigners who have come to love a certain special Trinbagonian and want to recreate their culinary memories. Others of you are foreigners who have visited our shores and want to recreate some of the dishes you’ve tasted, or maybe you are just curious about Caribbean cooking and culture and stumbled your way here. Whatever your reason I’m glad you’ve taken the time to drop me a line 🙂 Because many of your questions are questions that I am sure others share, from time to time I will feature Readers’ questions (and my answers) in a feature I’m calling ‘Q&A with TriniGourmet’.
• Do you have any recipes for making green seasoning?
• Is Green Seasoning hot? (I have my eye on purchasing the Turban Green Seasoning)
My version of green seasoning is very loose and free form 🙂 Basically i just grab a bunch of culantro (chadon beni), garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and blend it with some olive oil (or regular vegetable oil). If you can’t find culantro, go ahead and use cilantro. Somtimes I also add hot sauce or chopped scotch bonnet pepper 🙂 … I don’t do measurements, just go with what’s on hand and feels right, you can throw in parsley too and celery I’m sure 🙂 Give it a try!
One of the above questions came to me from a Jamaican woman married to a Trini. Like many foreigners she was curious about this mythical and mystical Green seasoning that is such a key component in most Trini meat and fish-based dishes.
I have no idea how prevalent Green Seasoning is throughout the Caribbean. My Jamaican mother (like the above reader) never knew about it til she moved here, and still has no use for it. However I do know that there are some other islands in the Caribbean that consider this a key part of their cooking.
Green seasoning comes in many different formulations, and these vary as much between islands as they do between homes within one island.
Unlike many Trinis I don’t make green seasoning in batches to be bottled. I prefer to make as much as I will use in one go. This emphasis on making it fresh each time comes probably from my own mother’s paranoia and suspicion of ‘bottled seasonings’ (did I mention she doesn’t use Green Seasoning 😉 )
For those who have no problem with bottled seasonings and/or no interest in making green seasoning from scratch many supermarket versions abound.
Like my version, posted above, the bottled versions all feature garlic and chadon beni (culantro) as the key flavour notes. When I lived abroad scoring a bottle of this stuff was like heaven. Just a whiff of the bottle was enough to spread a smile across my face and those of other ‘displaced’ Trinis. Then if you were like me you put some on the tip of your finger to lick before nodding and going ‘yes… this is d real ting’ 😀
If -you- have a version of Green Seasoning that you would like to share feel free to add it via the comments form. I’d love to hear from you! There is a recipe for Trini Green seasoning that I see circulating online that involves copious amounts of vinegar and celery. Is this version one that is actually used? I must say that it strikes me as rather unappetizing so I am quite curious to see how popular it really is.
Oh! And one more thing, like any good Trini cook would tell you, be sure to ‘stab up yuh meat’ so that the seasoning really has a chance to penetrate, oh and give the meat and seasoning time to get to know each other. Preferably overnight 🙂