By David Minsky
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"Trinidadian curry has been Creolized," June said while describing how the Trinidadian method of making curry is similar to the way the French would make a stock or stew. It started with a paste of oil and yellow curry powder. Hot peppers, garlic, and cumin are added, "and then you chunkay," she added. She couldn't spell this word, nor offer an American English equivalent, but after some negotiating, we decided it means sautéeing. Water is added, the mixture is reduced, and that exercise is repeated a few times before duck, shrimp, or goat is mixed in.
I also found the flavors of India inside doubles, an addictive, grab-and-go Trinidadian breakfast food of fragrant, curried chickpeas wrapped in chewy, mustard-yellow bread. The dough, which June called bara, is made of bread flour, saffron, and yeast.
"You roll it out and fry it," she said, and then top it with a cold, spicy Indian chutney made with tamarind and cucumber.
Hot Peppers Restaurant, 9976 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines; 954-404-9704; Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 4 to 10 p.m.
Hot Peppers shrimp box $13
Curry shrimp $10
Goat roti $9
The classic Indian dish from Trinidad is roti, a flatbread served with slow-cooked meats. Hot Peppers offered the paratha variety, which was rubbed with Crisco, folded up onto itself, rolled out again, and fried to create a fluffy, rich, pastry-like flatbread. It came torn up on a plate next to a heaping pile of tender goat meat in brown gravy. The roti was used to pick up bites of meat along with the rich sauce.
Hot Peppers' only downfall is that its incredible variety and depth of flavors comes from centuries of abuse at the hands of slave-owning colonial superpowers. Yet the Alis, like many Trinidadians, are proud of their home and the rainbow of ethnicities that populate it.
Don't miss what Hot Peppers has to offer. And don't forget what took place to get there.