You may notice in many of my recipes I list "green seasoning" as an ingredient. Green seasoning is simply a puree or chunky blend of fresh herbs, onions, garlic, and hot pepper. It is blended with oil or water and can be stored for a little over a week. This seasoning is the foundation of many classic West Indian dishes. It is used to season meats, fish, rice, and vegetables. Without it, our food just doesn't taste the same; it's like something is missing.
I must note, there is no real recipe for this seasoning. It's one of those things where whatever you have on hand is what goes into the blender. There is no measurement of herbs as you'll find everyone makes this differently. What seems to be consistent across West Indian households is onion, garlic, and hot pepper is a must. Herbs are chosen based on preference and availability. My husband's family includes shado beni in their green seasoning. It bears similarity to cilantro and people either love it or hate it. I am one for the latter. The cilantro flavor has an offensive taste to me, so I leave it out of my green seasoning.
Quick VersionI don't always have fresh herbs in my kitchen so I do a quick version of this seasoning. If I run out of green seasoning my quick version does the trick. I blend one large yellow onion, one whole head of garlic, three or four hot peppers, and a bundle of fresh thyme leaves (removed from stems) with enough water to make a thick puree. Pureeing the blend allows the meat, for example, to absorb the flavors really well. I store the blend in a glass jar and it keeps in the refrigerator for a few days. This is the version I use whenever making any West Indian curries as I feel too many herbs can overpower a good curry.
- 1 bundle fine thyme, stems removed
- 1 bundle basil
- 1/2 bundle of parsley
- 3-4 broad leaf/Guyanese thyme leaves, if available
- 10-12 scallions
- 1 head of garlic, (12-14 garlic cloves)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3-4 wiri wiri peppers or 1 whole scotch bonnet
- Water or oil
- Coarsely chop scallions and onion.
- Add all ingredients to food processor. Add enough water or oil make a thick puree. Blend to desired texture.
- Store in an airtight glass jar in refrigerator.
- Most recently I've started to portion this seasoning in small zip-loc bags. I flatten the bag and freeze it. When ready to use I break off what I need and leave the remainder in the freezer. I find the seasoning keeps longer and stays fresh.
- I prefer to use water to make my blend and add oil later when cooking, but using oil can give you a great marinade. Oil helps to seal in the flavor of the marinade. It's all about preference.