“We had a inhabitants of roughly two million Indians that got here to the Caribbean,” says Keith Compton, President of the Indian Heritage Affiliation of St. Lucia. “Saint Lucia was simply one of many islands the place Indians settled, and different nations embody Guyana, Trinidad, Martinique, Guadalupe, Saint Vincent, and Grenada.” Many Indo-Saint Lucians have been initially from the world of Bihar in Northern India, Compton says, “they usually got here with their native seeds and spices together with recipes which many nonetheless use of their properties at this time.”

Indian meals, like the large nation itself, is huge and assorted; every state has its personal culinary traditions, lots of which survived the passage from India to the Caribbean. Compton is a third-generation Saint Lucian with Indian heritage by way of Mumbai, and recollects recipes that his mother made that he ultimately traced again to his ancestral nation. “My mom made a dish utilizing banana flowers that I had by no means seen anybody else in Saint Lucia make,” he explains. “After I returned to India, I went to one of many markets in Mumbai and somebody was promoting the identical banana flowers out there.”

As we speak, Saint Lucia’s Indian inhabitants has largely assimilated into Saint Lucian tradition, however the Indian expat group continues to have a good time conventional Indian holidays. “The Indian group right here retains up the traditions of Diwali and Eid and observes the holy days,” says chef Shalil D’Silva, who moved to the island from Panaji, Goa, 5 years in the past and works as an government sous chef at a wellness resort, StolenTime by Rendezvous in Castries. For these particular festivals, households put together conventional dishes similar to burfi (candy nutty fudge), petha (candy winter melon sweet), spiced vegetable fritters, lamb biryani, and mutton kebabs to take pleasure in with pals and have a good time.

The Bombay Membership at Sandals Grande Saint Lucian makes use of native spices to redefine its Indian delicacies, says sous chef Subhradeep Ghosh. Bombay Membership at Sandals Grande St Lucian

Although some Indian dishes have stayed true to the normal recipes, others have been tailored to what’s accessible on the island. “What makes Indian delicacies within the Caribbean a bit totally different from typical East Indian delicacies is the components accessible to us right here on the islands, particularly the spices,” says Subhradeep Ghosh, sous chef on the Bombay Membership on the couples-only Sandals Grande St. Lucian. “Garam Masala sometimes contains as much as 25 entire spices like shahi jeera, shah morich, and javitri, which aren’t all the time accessible on the island, so there’s a distinction in taste.” Preparations are a bit totally different on the island, too: In Saint Lucia, roti is wrapped round meals that’s baked into it, whereas in India roti is often a bit of the the identical unleavened bread on the facet.

1 / 8 Chevron Chevron Oliver Chanarin My good buddy and really proficient photographer Oliver Chanarin and I went to India to shoot with these unbelievable Hasselblad cameras, and shot on rolls of movie all the journey, which was a pleasure. That is me taking notes at Cafe Colony in Dadar, Mumbai. This quintessential Parsi cafe within the coronary heart of the Dadar Parsi Colony was our hub. We might drag ourselves right here every single day within the sweltering summer season warmth of Mumbai to replenish with candy chai, bun maska [a soft bread filled with butter], and really spicy akuri [seasoned scrambled eggs], all of the whereas taking notes on what we had seen that day and what we have been to count on tomorrow.

Chef Ghosh grew up in Kolkata earlier than shifting to Saint Lucia in 2018 and says the island has additionally adopted a few of India’s well-liked road meals—like doubles, a fried flatbread stuffed with curried chickpeas and potatoes. He says dahl (a fried, split-pea bread) and aloo pie (fried dumplings stuffed with potatoes) are additionally well-liked amongst locals, and could be discovered on the native meals stalls all through the island and on the Friday Night time Avenue Get together in Gros Islet, which has been occurring weekly for the final fifty years.

Whereas Indian meals has all the time had a presence on the island, vacationers have extra choices to select from as of late—and much more than simply road meals. From the Indian eating places at Saint Lucia’s beachfront resorts to standalone eating places like Spice of India in Rodney Bay to the meals distributors in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia’s Indian delicacies is an indelible a part of the island’s wealthy heritage.

“Indian meals in St. Lucia is rising in [popularity] as totally different Indian components grow to be extra available and accessible,” chef D’Silva says. “It’s thrilling to see Indian tastes and cooking strategies infused into native delicacies right here in Saint Lucia, including a special depth of taste profile to dishes. Indian delicacies is part of Saint Lucia’s melting pot of tradition, and it’s a part of what makes the island particular.”