Plants of Little Caribbean

Plants of Little Caribbean

June 30 through late September, 2022
Discovery Garden Exhibit

This summer, the Discovery Garden is highlighting plants that grow in the Caribbean. The fruits and vegetables in this exhibit—including sorrel, okra, callaloo, and turmeric—are just a few of the many plants important to these countries and territories, each of which has its own unique ways of preparing meals.

Exhibit signage connects plants to the restaurants and markets of Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean. Find locations for these spots below, along with delicious Caribbean plant-based recipes.

And through August, the Garden’s Summer Tuesdays feature garden tours and live music in partnership with I AM caribBEING on the last Tuesday evening of the month.

Little Caribbean

Little Caribbean is home to people, restaurants, bakeries, health shops, juice bars, and other small businesses that connect Caribbean-Americans to back home and to each other. The area has the largest and most diverse Caribbean-American-Latinx community outside of the West Indies. In fact, more than 20 percent of New York City’s population have Caribbean roots.

Logo for CaribBEING

This exhibit was created in partnership with I AM caribBEING. They celebrate and amplify Caribbean culture and lifestyle, support businesses, and create community and culture. In 2017, I AM caribBEING spearheaded the naming of Little Caribbean to recognize, celebrate, and foster the contributions of Caribbean-Americans in New York City and the neighborhood of Flatbush as a center for culture, community, and commerce.

Recipes

Try these delicious Caribbean plant-based recipes shared by I AM caribBEING founder Shelley Vidia Worrell with guidance from her aunt, Cheryl Samaroo

Ochro (Okra) & Rice

Ingredients:

  • 12 ochros
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups coconut milk or water
  • 1 habanero pepper, whole
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Slice ochros, chop garlic and onion. Heat oil in Dutch pot over high flame. Add garlic, onion, and ochros and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring a few times.

Add rice, coconut milk or water, and pepper. Bring to boil then lower heat. Cover tightly and let simmer for 25–30 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: Add saltfish or pigtail cut in ¼-inch pieces.

Fry Bodi (Caribbean Green Beans)

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound bodi
  • ½ cup onion
  • 2–3 garlic cloves
  • 1–1½ tablespoons oil
  • 1–2 tablespoons green seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (optional)

Method:

Wash and cut bodi into 2-inch pieces, discarding ends. Chop onion and grind garlic.

Heat oil over high flame in cast iron frying pan. Add green seasoning, garlic, and onion followed by tomato, if using, and pinch of salt, stirring a few times. Add bodi, stir gently.

Lower heat to medium, cover tightly and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add water if needed to prevent it from sticking.

Remove cover and cook for 3–5 minutes until beans are tender.

Optional: Add geera (cumin) for flavor. Enjoy with sada roti.

Curry Eggplant

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs chadon beni (culantro)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 pimiento peppers
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon West Indian curry
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Method:

Wash eggplants and cut into 1-inch cubes, discarding stems. Set aside.

Finely chop garlic and chadon beni. Dice onion and pimiento peppers.

Heat skillet in large frying pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and curry powder. Stir for 1 minute. Add garlic. Allow to sizzle for 10 seconds. Add eggplant, onions, pimientos, cumin, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Gently stir until coated with curry. Simmer on low flame for 15 minutes.

Optional: Add potato or pumpkin cubes. Enjoy with sada roti or rice.

Caribbean Green Seasoning

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 sprigs scallions or chives
  • 3 leaves Spanish thyme
  • 10 sprigs fine-leaf thyme
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 5–7 sprigs chadon beni
  • 10 pimiento peppers

Method:

Wash and drain herbs. Cut into ½-inch pieces. Grind in food processor or blender. 

Use to season meat, fish, or vegetables.

Little Caribbean Restaurants & Bakeries

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a sign reading De Hot Pot

    De Hot Pot

    1127 Washington Avenue

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a sign reading Errol's Caribbean Delights

    Errol’s Caribbean Delights

    661 Flatbush Avenue

  • A Brooklyn storefront painted pink, with a sign reading

    Hibiscus Brew

    546 Flatbush Avenue

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a sign reading Ital Fusion

    Ital Fusion

    2085 Nostrand Avenue

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a sign reading Jen's Roti Shop

    Jeni’s Roti

    838 Flatbush Avenue

  • Two people in a bakery show off a tray of baked goods.

    Allan’s Bakery

    1109 Nostrand Avenue

Little Caribbean Markets & More

  • A modern sign on a new building that reads

    Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace

    2123 Caton Avenue

  • A corner storefront of a market in Brooklyn. The sign reads Labay Market.

    Labay Market

    1127 Nostrand Avenue

  • Brooklyn storefront of a market with a sign that reads

    Nostrand Health Food

    1432 Nostrand Avenue

  • A bottle of Spicegrove brand juice on a counter in a store

    Spicegrove

    spicegroveroselle.com

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a green awning that reads

    Veggies Natural Juice Bar

    1209 Nostrand Avenue

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