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The 5 best Martinican cooking recipes

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In the family of the cultural heritage of Martinique, I ask for the gastronomy! 

We will make you discover 5 typical dishes of Martinique.

The colombo of Martinique chicken

The colombo, a spice

Among the most widespread and emblematic dishes of the Martinique cuisine, and even Creole, we find the chicken colombo. Originally from the Indian subcontinent, colombo (the spice blend) traveled to the West Indies in the 19th century when the British still had possessions in that part of the world. The West Indian colombo (the spice) is generally composed of turmeric, coriander, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, allspice (Indian wood, allspice) in particular dosage. This composition gives it a different flavor from the Indian and Sri Lankan colombo, which is mainly composed of curry.

Chicken colombo, a dish from Martinique

The Creole colombo (the dish), in addition to the spices that give it its name, integrates vegetables and meat (chicken, pork, lamb, goat...) or fish from Martinique (marlin, tuna, shrimps, lobsters...) In Martinique cuisine, the chicken colombo is made with chicken (white or leg), obviously, and has as main vegetables potatoes, eggplants and onions. To complete the composition, you can also use lemon, zucchini, garlic ... There is no single recipe for chicken colombo, everyone can adapt it to his sauce. To obtain a perfect chicken colombo, it is recommended to let the meat and its marinade marinate overnight before cooking. Accompanied by rice or plantains, the chicken colombo is a pure delight with its savory texture and spicy accents.

Cod Acras

Before enjoying a good traditional chicken colombo, wait for an equally traditional appetizer. The cod acras is a small fried fritter served as an appetizer or as a starter.

An origin across the Atlantic

Historically, the origin of the acras, whether it is cod or vegetables, is Africa, more precisely Dahomey (West African region covering part of present-day Benin. Etymologically, according to the French academy, the word "acra" comes from the word "akara" meaning bean fritter in Yoruba language (spoken in Nigeria, Togo and Benin). The recipe and the name have probably travelled during the sad triangular trade.

A light and tasty appetizer

Coming back to the dish, the Martinique acras is a light appetizer, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Depending on the preferences of each person, it can be sweet or spicy (by adding cayenne pepper, Tabasco or chili sauce). This appetizer, which has become characteristic of Martinique's gastronomy, is easy and quick to make. It consists of crumbling the cod meat, mixing it with a paste (flour, water, egg) and then frying it.

The gratin of Martinique christophines

The christophine, a plant of Central America

The christophine, also called chouchou or chayote, is a plant of the cucurbit family (cucumbers, zucchinis...) whose fruit, resembling a large deformed pear, is eaten as a vegetable. Cultivated in warm climates, it originated in Central America and is naturally spread in the French West Indies.

Christophines gratin, a nourishing and classic Martinican dish

In the Martinique cuisine, christophine is mainly used for the concoction of an essential dish on the island: the gratin de christophines. The fruit of the chayote, rich in water, very consistent and with a rather bland flavor, easily finds its place in a gratin where the spices and the cheese enhance it. To summarize in a few words, the christophine gratin is a Creole alternative to the potato gratin. We change the vegetable and we spice it as we prefer! For the anecdote, this tasty gratin is sometimes served in weddings in Martinique, that is to say that it is nourishing and emblematic of the Creole culture.

The smoked chicken of Martinique

Boucan, boucanier and boucanage

"Boucané"? It's not a word you often hear outside the West Indies. The origin of this adjective comes from the "boucan", a rack that the Caribbean Indians (Indian tribe of the West Indies) used to roast and smoke their prisoners before eating them....In Tupi (Amerindian language), the word "boucan" means "wooden rack used for smoking". This word is the origin of the name of the buccaneers, a community of pirates who lived from hunting. They sold the skins of the animals and preserved the meat by smoking it on...the buccaneer. Smoking is a way to smoke animal flesh for hours to preserve it. The smoked chicken, a well known dish in Martinique, is simply a kind of smoked chicken.

The smoked chicken, typical of the Martinique street-food

This traditional Martinican dish is above all an essential component of Martinican street-food. You can easily find it on the roads and in the streets of all the cities and villages of the island. The recipe of the smoked chicken is simple: a chicken marinated in a mixture of spices, aromatic herbs, lemon for hours, then cooked with sugar cane, banana leaves ... on a wood fire (ideally, to keep the smoked taste). The result is surprisingly delicious! The smoke is exquisite, the meat fragrant and melting, a wonder! Take the roads of Martinique at the wheel of a rental car and take the opportunity to stop at the corner of a street!

The robinson, a cake from Martinique

To finish this article dedicated to the top 5 recipes of the Martinique cuisine the robinson has been chosen. What could be better than a pastry recipe after the ones dedicated to hearty dishes and starters?

The robinson, a traditional local pastry

The robinson is probably the most traditional pastry of Martinique. This cake made of shortcrust pastry and pound cake and filled with jam and coconut is simply irresistible. Little known in metropolitan France, the robinson is a must on the island, especially in traditional bakeries/pastry shops. It owes its success to its soft texture in its heart and crunchy surface as well as to the very appreciable sweetness of the banana or coconut jams that fill it. Take a tour of the island's various restaurants to discover other typically Martinican recipes with Europcar: book with Europcar Martinique.

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