When I’m cooking, it’s true that I am usually making Haitian food. That’s not to say I don’t like other cuisines or that I only make Haitian food. For me, it’s usually about sharing the food with people who might otherwise never have it (and it reminds me of home). I will be sharing a few of my American recipes in the next few weeks, but wanted to share some of the American influences on my Haitian cooking.
I should probably note that I’m not keeping the recipes strictly traditional. Don’t get me wrong, they are still very Haitian, but in some cases i’ve added my own flair. For example, a friend of mine asked me last week if I used MSG at all. The answer is no, although traditional Haitian food might have MSG as a lot of Haitians use Maggi Chicken Bouillon, which does contain MSG.
Where it makes sense to me, I’ve made substitutions for products I don’t care to use. Instead of Maggi, I use a product called Better than Bouillon. You can feel free to use any chicken soup base that you like, but look for one that has a pretty good flavor.
I also use a lot of basil, which also isn’t very traditional. My mom makes her own spice rub (for which I will provide a recipe at a later date), but it has a parsley base. Basil has a distinct taste, so you could say it maybe changes the flavor, but the other elements are what is keeping it a Haitian recipe.
The great thing about cooking is you can make substitutions if something doesn’t suit your needs. I know many people who have food allergies or preferences that the original recipe may not accommodate. It doesn’t work for every recipe, but for the most part, I can find something that you can eat if you’re coming to my house for dinner.
If you’ve hesitated to try any of the recipes because the ingredients aren’t to your liking, feel free to swap the seasonings for brands that you like better.
I’d also love your feedback! If you have tried something, do let me know how it came out, or let me know if you have questions about specific substitutions.