How To Cook Caribbean Food At Home
How To Cook Caribbean Food At Home

How To Cook Caribbean Food At Home

You might know Marie Mitchell as the chef behind the popular Island Social supper club – loved by the likes of Loyle Carner and Andi Oliver. Her debut cookbook ‘Kin’ features some of her signature Caribbean dishes inspired by her Jamaican roots. Here, Marie shares her tips on cooking great Caribbean food at home, as well as three new recipes to try…
By Sherri Andrew

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The Caribbean comprises numerous countries and cooking styles, but there a few ingredients to have at home to create authentic dishes. These include spice mixes like a good curry powder and an all-purpose seasoning, as well as cider or white wine vinegar for pickling, fresh herbs (I love thyme and coriander) and scotch bonnets. You’ll also find habaneros around the Caribbean. Don’t be scared of chillies – they can be used for their flavour profile rather than their heat. 

My go-to condiment is mango chilli sauce. I also love anything with tamarind or sorrel (hibiscus). Caribbean food is all about bold and layered flavours, so go in with an open mind.

One my favourite recipes from the book is the custard apple sorbet. It’s so delicious and perfect for summer, as are the BBQ ribs. I’m praying for good weather soon so I can enjoy them outside. I love the flavour of anything pickled or slightly sour, so many of the recipes include these elements. 


For a Caribbean-inspired dinner party, everything should be served family style. It makes the meal more relaxed as everyone has to share plates and pass them around. It also means I can make and eat more dishes. I’d start with peppered tofu with pickled spring onions, which cools the spice and balances it perfectly, followed by a pickled chow chow slaw, my reef chicken (see recipe below), cassava fries and fried plantain with lime and scotch bonnet salt. Everything would be served with a summer rum punch and we’d finish with lime and ginger cheesecake.

There are communities all around the Caribbean, so I wanted that to come across in my new cookbook. The book, and the word ‘kin’, is about building strong communal ties with others, learning about the things we have in common, and building on those to understand one another. My Jamaican heritage runs throughout all these recipes – without those who stood before me, the recipes wouldn't exist.

Follow @Marie_Mitchell_ on Instagram.

Inspired? Here are three of Marie’s dishes to try at home…

Reef Chicken

Total Time
45 Minutes Plus extra for chilling
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 tsp of fine sea salt
½ tsp of ground black pepper
50g of molasses sugar or dark brown soft sugar
4 tbsp of dark rum
2 tbsp of lime juice
2 tsp of white pepper
25g of ginger root, grated, or 1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp ground of cloves
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
¼ lemon, zest only
1 garlic clove, grated
3 tbsp of mango chutney
Flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped, to serve (optional)
Step 1

Place the chicken in a large bowl and massage the salt and black pepper into and under the skin. Set aside.

Step 2

In a mortar, mix together the molasses or brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the rum, along with the lime juice, white pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, lemon zest and garlic, pounding a little to make a paste. Massage this into the chicken, including under the skin, then cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours.

Step 3

About 30 minutes before you intend to cook, remove the meat from the fridge to bring it up to room temperature and preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6. Place the chicken, skin side up, in a shallow baking tin and bake it for 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Step 4

Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together the mango chutney with the remaining rum until combined.

Step 5

Baste the skin of the cooked chicken with the rum-laced chutney, then return it to the oven for a further 3-4 minutes, until the chutney is warm. Or, if you want extra-crispy skin, heat your grill to high and place the glazed chicken under the grill, leaving it until the skin starts to caramelize. Serve sprinkled with roughly chopped parsley, if you wish.

Pop’s Mac Pie

Total Time
50 Minutes
500g of macaroni
40g of unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp of tomato purée
200ml of whole milk
400g of strong, hard cheese (I like mature cheddar)
8g of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped, plus extra for sprinkling
½ tsp of mixed spice
1 tsp of ground black pepper, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp of Ginger Chilli Sauce or hot pepper sauce
Fine sea salt
Step 1

Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/Gas 5.

Step 2

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 6 minutes, or until it's al dente. Drain it in a colander, tip it back into the pan and stir through the butter until melted.

Step 3

While the macaroni is boiling, combine the beaten eggs, tomato purée and milk, and three-quarters of the cheese in a bowl. Once you've stirred the butter into the macaroni, add the egg mixture to the pan, mixing until well combined. Then, add the parsley, spice mix, pepper and ginger chilli or pepper sauce and mix again. Season with salt to taste.

Step 4

Transfer the macaroni to an ovenproof dish, one that will nicely nestle the pie to about 4-5cm deep. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, along with a little extra black pepper and parsley. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes, or until it is firm and golden. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the pie to cool and set for 10-20 minutes before cutting and serving.

Stout Punch Ice Cream

220ml of Guinness extra stout
600ml of whole milk
2 x 7.5cm cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp of grated nutmeg
8 egg yolks
150g of caster sugar
600ml of double cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 x 397g can of condensed milk
Crushed peanut brittle (optional), to decorate
Step 1

Pour the Guinness into a small saucepan and bring it to the boil on a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until it has reduced by roughly a third. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Step 2

Pour the milk into a separate saucepan and place it on a low-medium heat with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Once bubbles start to form at the edge of the milk, turn off the heat and leave the hot milk to infuse for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together your egg yolks and sugar. Discard the cinnamon sticks from the milk and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, stirring continuously, until fully incorporated. Rinse out the pan and pour the egg-and-milk mixture back into the same pan. Place the pan on a low- medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it thickens to a thin custard that coats the back of the spoon (about 5-10 minutes, be patient). Remove the pan from the heat and let the custard cool. Pour the cooled custard into a bowl and chill it for about 1 hour.

Step 4

Combine the chilled custard and whipped cream in a bowl, and stir in your condensed milk. Add 3 teaspoons of the cooled Guinness syrup, taste and if you want it a little stronger add another teaspoonful. Stir to combine, then transfer the mixture into a lidded plastic container and chill it overnight (this will help to give a super-smooth ice cream).

Step 5

Once the mixture is chilled, strain it through a fine sieve and pour it into your ice-cream maker. Churn it according to the manufacturer's instructions until softly scoopable. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container, pop on the lid and freeze until needed. Remove the ice cream 10-15 minutes before serving, to allow it to soften a little. Sprinkle over the crushed brittle, if using, to decorate.

Kin by Marie Mitchell (Particular Books, £30) is available to buy now. Visit

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