Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue® Episode 107 – Fire and Spice
The Caribbean occupies a special place in the annals of barbecue. Taino Indian barbacoa—seafood and meats smoke-roasted on a wooden platform that gave us the word “barbecue.” The Caribbean remains a hotbed of barbecue delights; Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Trinidadian grilled vegetable dip called Choka and Shrimp Boka Dushi—a spicy Dutch West Indian kebab whose name literally means “happy mouth.”
This is a dish of three continents. I tasted it in Curaçao, but its roots lie in the East Indies, specifically, Java. In Papiamentu, the local dialect—a musical blend of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and West African languages—boka means mouth and dushi means sweet. The seasonings and spices for the dish are sold at the Floating Market in Willemstad, a colorful flotilla of Venezuelan produce boats that make a 35-mile journey to sell comestibles from South America. The assertive flavors of ginger and sambal oelek (chile paste) will light up your mouth like a Fourth of July sky. Traditionally, boka dushi is made with chicken. Here, I apply the sweet, nutty, fiery flavors to shrimp.
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