This summer, the Discovery Garden is highlighting plants that grow in the Caribbean. The fruits and vegetables in this exhibit—including sorrel, okra, callaloo, and turmeric—are just a few of the many plants important to these countries and territories, each of which has its own unique ways of preparing meals.
Exhibit signage connects plants to the restaurants and markets of Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean. Find locations for these spots below, along with delicious Caribbean plant-based recipes.
Little Caribbean is home to people, restaurants, bakeries, health shops, juice bars, and other small businesses that connect Caribbean-Americans to back home and to each other. The area has the largest and most diverse Caribbean-American-Latinx community outside of the West Indies. In fact, more than 20 percent of New York City’s population have Caribbean roots.
This exhibit was created in partnership with I AM caribBEING. They celebrate and amplify Caribbean culture and lifestyle, support businesses, and create community and culture. In 2017, I AM caribBEING spearheaded the naming of Little Caribbean to recognize, celebrate, and foster the contributions of Caribbean-Americans in New York City and the neighborhood of Flatbush as a center for culture, community, and commerce.
Try these delicious Caribbean plant-based recipes shared by I AM caribBEING founder Shelley Vidia Worrell with guidance from her aunt, Cheryl Samaroo
Ochro (Okra) & Rice
- 12 ochros
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups coconut milk or water
- 1 habanero pepper, whole
- Salt and pepper
Slice ochros, chop garlic and onion. Heat oil in Dutch pot over high flame. Add garlic, onion, and ochros and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring a few times.
Add rice, coconut milk or water, and pepper. Bring to boil then lower heat. Cover tightly and let simmer for 25–30 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Optional: Add saltfish or pigtail cut in ¼-inch pieces.
Fry Bodi (Caribbean Green Beans)
- ½ pound bodi
- ½ cup onion
- 2–3 garlic cloves
- 1–1½ tablespoons oil
- 1–2 tablespoons green seasoning (recipe below)
- 1 tomato, chopped (optional)
Wash and cut bodi into 2-inch pieces, discarding ends. Chop onion and grind garlic.
Heat oil over high flame in cast iron frying pan. Add green seasoning, garlic, and onion followed by tomato, if using, and pinch of salt, stirring a few times. Add bodi, stir gently.
Lower heat to medium, cover tightly and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add water if needed to prevent it from sticking.
Remove cover and cook for 3–5 minutes until beans are tender.
Optional: Add geera (cumin) for flavor. Enjoy with sada roti.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs chadon beni (culantro)
- 1 small onion
- 3 pimiento peppers
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon West Indian curry
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
Wash eggplants and cut into 1-inch cubes, discarding stems. Set aside.
Finely chop garlic and chadon beni. Dice onion and pimiento peppers.
Heat skillet in large frying pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and curry powder. Stir for 1 minute. Add garlic. Allow to sizzle for 10 seconds. Add eggplant, onions, pimientos, cumin, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Gently stir until coated with curry. Simmer on low flame for 15 minutes.
Optional: Add potato or pumpkin cubes. Enjoy with sada roti or rice.
Caribbean Green Seasoning
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 sprigs scallions or chives
- 3 leaves Spanish thyme
- 10 sprigs fine-leaf thyme
- 1 head garlic
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 5–7 sprigs chadon beni
- 10 pimiento peppers
Wash and drain herbs. Cut into ½-inch pieces. Grind in food processor or blender.
Use to season meat, fish, or vegetables.
Little Caribbean Restaurants & Bakeries
1109 Nostrand Avenue
This family-run West Indian bakery has been open for over 60 years, serving both sweet and savory baked goods. Enjoy hardo bread, currant rolls, and everything in between!
De Hot Pot
1127 Washington Avenue
This cash-only, counter-service restaurant is known for its Trinidadian doubles: curried chickpeas wrapped in fried dough. It’s a favorite lunch break treat for BBG staff!
Errol’s Caribbean Delights
661 Flatbush Avenue
This popular neighborhood bakery in Flatbush serves a variety of baked goods and entrées, including callaloo and Jamaican patties.
546 Flatbush Avenue
Sip on sorrel from this recently opened café with Jamaican roots. The pink storefront and brightly colored smoothies are photo-ready!
67 Fenimore Street
Caribbean roots influence Honey Badger’s husband-and-wife culinary team. This fine dining restaurant highlights the “wild-to-table” experience, with ingredients foraged across the Northeast.
2085 Nostrand Avenue
Rastafarian people often follow an ital diet, which focuses on eating healthy and natural foods. True to its name, Ital Fusion highlights vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian Caribbean dishes.
838 Flatbush Avenue
Enjoy roti at this Trinidadian restaurant and bakery! Wrap roti is a popular Caribbean meal of roti, a round bread, filled with curried meats or vegetables.
Little Caribbean Markets & More
Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace
2123 Caton Avenue
Formerly known as Caton Market, this newly reopened community center is home to over 30 local vendors selling a variety of Caribbean crafts and wares, as well as an international food hall.
1127 Nostrand Avenue
You can find Caribbean produce, spices, home goods, and more at this well-stocked market. Many of Labay Market’s goods are imported directly from the owner’s family farm in Grenada.
Nostrand Health Food
1432 Nostrand Avenue
Herbs, vitamins, groceries, and a juice bar are offered in this health food store specializing in digestive wellness and healthy cooking.
This delicious bottled sorrel can be found in select stores across New York City, as well as online.
Veggies Natural Juice Bar
1209 Nostrand Avenue
Get your smoothie, juice, and Caribbean food fix at this café that offers numerous vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian options.