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.

On Thursday, June 30, visit for a Caribbean and Native American culinary demonstration and workshop in the Discovery Garden, led by Junayd Juman of Little Caribbean’s Honey Badger restaurant. Afterward, head to Cherry Esplanade to enjoy a performance by Angela Hunte backed by Da Jerry Wonda Band. And through August, the Garden’s Summer Tuesdays feature 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

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

    Allan’s Bakery

    1109 Nostrand Avenue

    This family-run West Indian bakery has been open for over 60 years, serving both sweet and savory baked goods. Enjoy hardo bread, currant rolls, and everything in between!

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

    De Hot Pot

    1127 Washington Avenue

    This cash-only, counter-service restaurant is known for its Trinidadian doubles: curried chickpeas wrapped in fried dough. It’s a favorite lunch break treat for BBG staff!

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

    Errol’s Caribbean Delights

    661 Flatbush Avenue

    This popular neighborhood bakery in Flatbush serves a variety of baked goods and entrées, including callaloo and Jamaican patties.

  • A Brooklyn storefront painted pink, with a sign reading

    Hibiscus Brew

    546 Flatbush Avenue

    Sip on sorrel from this recently opened café with Jamaican roots. The pink storefront and brightly colored smoothies are photo-ready!

  • A chef holds four birds by the tail feathers.

    Honey Badger

    67 Fenimore Street

    Caribbean roots influence Honey Badger’s husband-and-wife culinary team. This fine dining restaurant highlights the “wild-to-table” experience, with ingredients foraged across the Northeast.

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a sign reading Ital Fusion

    Ital Fusion

    2085 Nostrand Avenue

    Rastafarian people often follow an ital diet, which focuses on eating healthy and natural foods. True to its name, Ital Fusion highlights vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian Caribbean dishes.

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

    Jen’s Roti

    838 Flatbush Avenue

    Enjoy roti at this Trinidadian restaurant and bakery! Wrap roti is a popular Caribbean meal of roti, a round bread, filled with curried meats or vegetables.

Little Caribbean Markets & More

  • A modern sign on a new building that reads

    Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace

    2123 Caton Avenue

    Formerly known as Caton Market, this newly reopened community center is home to over 30 local vendors selling a variety of Caribbean crafts and wares, as well as an international food hall.

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

    Labay Market

    1127 Nostrand Avenue

    You can find Caribbean produce, spices, home goods, and more at this well-stocked market. Many of Labay Market’s goods are imported directly from the owner’s family farm in Grenada.

  • Brooklyn storefront of a market with a sign that reads

    Nostrand Health Food

    1432 Nostrand Avenue

    Herbs, vitamins, groceries, and a juice bar are offered in this health food store specializing in digestive wellness and healthy cooking.

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

    Spicegrove

    spicegroveroselle.com

    This delicious bottled sorrel can be found in select stores across New York City, as well as online.

  • A storefront in Brooklyn with a green awning that reads

    Veggies Natural Juice Bar

    1209 Nostrand Avenue

    Get your smoothie, juice, and Caribbean food fix at this café that offers numerous vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian options.

Image, top of page: Michael Stewart