Our Family Meal in Belize

Caye Caulker

Special Equipment:Chef Knife, 1/2 Sheet Pan, Whisk, Pot, Charcoal Grill
Serves: 4-6

Grilled Spiny Lobster & Berbere “ber-ber-ree” Butter

Berbere Butter


1 1/2 Each White Onions, sliced
2 Cloves 10g Garlic, minced
1/2 Lb Butter, Unsalted
1 Tablespoons Berbere
TT Sea Salt

  • Peel & cut onions in half. Cut vertically into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Cut the butter into large dice. 
  • Heat a pan on medium to low heat, add a tablespoon of butter, all the onions, garlic, salt & sweat until onions are soft & translucent. 
  • Next add the Berbere spice. Toss to incorporate evenly throughout the onions. 
  • Turn heat down to low. Add the rest of the butter to gently melt. Stir, taste, adjust seasoning. Keep warm until ready to serve. 

Grilled Spiny Lobster


4-6 Spiny Lobster or Main Lobster Tails
1 Tablespoons Berbere
TT Sea Salt

  • Place the lobster on cutting board horizontal to your body with its head closest to the hand you hold your knife in. 
  • Hold lobster firmly. Place tip of the knife on top of the lobsters head centrally placed btwn it’s eyes. In a swift & determined move push knife straight down vertically. Then finish the cut down horizontally. 
  • Hold the body of the lobster in one hand & the tail in the other. Twist to separate. 
  • Remove legs, claws, & clean body cavity to reserve for another meal. 
  • Cut the tail in half lengthwise. Season the meat with salt & brush liberally with berbere butter. 
  • Put on grill meat side down for only 1 minute. Flip onto shell side down & brush with more berbere butter. 
  • Finish cooking for about 4 minutes with the meat side up, do not flip again. 
  • Remove from grill & serve immediately with the hot berbere butter & lemon or lime wedges. 

Spiny Lobster vs. Maine Lobster

  1. Spiny Lobsters do not have large meat filled claws like the Maine lobsters. The only edible meat in them comes from their large tails. Use their legs, mini claws & bodies for making stock, soups, or sauces. 
  2. Maine Lobsters have sweeter meat from the cold waters & absorb less salt in their meat compared to their Caribbean counterpart.

Special Equipment: Chef Knife, Peeler, Bowl
Serves: 4-6

Tajin Cucumber Salad


2 Each Cucumber, peeled & diced
4 Each Apple, peeled & diced
6 Sprigs Mint, chopped
TT Tajin
TT Lime Juice

  • Wash, peel, deseed & medium dice your cucumber. Add to a medium size mixing bowl you will also serve in. 
  • Wash, peel, core, & medium dice the apples. Add to the bowl. 
  • Add lime juice & tajin. Toss, taste & add salt as needed. Keep cold until ready to serve. 

Special Equipment: Scale, Chef Knife, Bowl, Pot with lid, Strainer, Fish Grill Basket, Charcoal Grill, Tongs
Serves: 4-6

Silk Snapper – Mango Salsa & Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice


1 1/3 Cup | 275g Coconut Water
2 Teaspoon | 8g Sea Salt
1 Nub | 10g Ginger, Sliced
1 Cup | 188g Jasmine Rice

  • Using a strainer, add 1 Cup of Jasmine rice & rinse with cold water. Stop when the water runs clear (about 3 minutes). Set aside & allow remaining water to drain off.
  • In a pot, add 1 1/3 cup Coconut Water, 2 teaspoons of Salt, & 1 nub of Ginger & bring to a boil quickly. Make sure to cover the water with a lid to prevent it from evaporating
  • Add the Jasmine rice to the boiling water & bring back up to a boil.
  • Reduce rice to a low simmer & cover.
  • Cook for 20 minutes. When time is up, allow rice to rest with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  • Using a fork, fluff the rice & remove ginger.
  • Keep rice covered in a warm area until you’re ready to plate.

Mango Salsa


2 Each Mango
1 Each Garlic Clove
2 Chunks of Ginger
Lime supremes
Lime Zest & Juice
TT Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons Mango Juice
1/2 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar

  • Peel & mince both ginger & garlic then add to a medium size mixing bowl.
  • Peel mango & cut away from core. Now mince to create a thick slightly chunky purée. (You can use a food processor or blender for this task). Add into the garlic & ginger bowl. 
  • Add the white wine vinegar & salt. Stir well to marry all the ingredients. 
  • Zest your limes into the bowl then cut 2 in half & squeeze the juice into the mixture. Peel the remaining 2 limes & cut supremes. Cut each supreme in half & add to the bowl. Gently stir, being careful not to break up the supremes. 
  • Rough chop the mint leaves & fold in when ready to serve. Taste & adjust seasoning if needed.  

Whole Grilled Silk Snapper


1-2 Each (2-3#) Red Snapper (scaled & gutted)
1 Each Lemon or Lime
1 Garlic Clove (per fish)
TT Tajin
TT Sea Salt

  • After fish is scaled, gutted & cleaned lightly score the skin & pat fish dry. 
  • Season fish liberally with the tajin & light salt. (Take heed on salt bc the tajin has salt in it as well)
  • Slice thin lime wheels & shingle 4 – 5 inside the cavity of the snapper.
  • Spread a thinly sliced garlic clove inside the cavity of each fish.
  • Lightly oil the fish basket, grill grates or pan to help prevent sticking. 
  • Cook fish on each side for about 4 – 7 minutes depending on heat of grill & thickness of fish.
  • Serve whole with lime wedges on the side.

3 Tips When Picking Out Fresh Fish

1. Eyes are clear, not cloudy
2. Gills are intact & red, not brown or grey
3. Guts are removed

Note: Be sure to ask your butcher to remove the fins from the top & bottom. But to keep the head in tail intact.

Special Equipment: Chef Knife, Wide Frying Pan, Slotted Spatula
Serves: 4-6

Fried Plantains & Sea Salt


2-4 Ripe Plantains
2 Qt Canola Oil
TT Sea Salt

  • Place a deep pot onto a burner add oil & bring up to about 350 degrees F. 
  • Peel the ripe, soft & black plantains. 
  • Cut each plantain in half. 
  • Very Gently place the plantain halves into the hot oil to fry. 
  • Fry for 10 – 15 minutes carefully flipping the plantains every few minutes. You are looking for the sugars to caramelize on the outside creating a deep brown color & sticky slightly crisp outer shell. 
  • Remove from oil. Place onto a paper towel or linen to drain & absorb the excess grease. 
  • Simply season with salt & serve hot. 

Setting The Table

  1. No need to stress or make it fancy. 
  2. Bring everything to the table in the container it was prepared in or on large platters & bowls. 
  3. Put trivets on the table underneath any hot pot. 
  4. Use large serving spoons, forks & tongs to allow everyone to get their food easily. 
  5. Serve the Whole snapper simply with some lime wedges on top for garnish & that extra burst of citrus. 
  6. Passing & sharing food around the table really amplifies that family feeling. It also enhances conversation & interaction among everyone. 

Beverage Pairings

This meal was one of favorites while hanging out with our friends in Belize.  Belkin was a local beer that many of our friends paired with the meal.  Others drank Rosè or rum punch.  I went with a Soursop Mango & Pineapple Juice

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