Caraili (Sautéed Bitter Melon)
Caraili, called kerala in India, is a type of bitter melon, a standard vegetable in the Trinidadian diet. It is light green and resembles a knobby-skinned cucumber. If you like radicchio, broccoli rabe or other bitter vegetables, you'll find caraili appealing as well. It is readily available in Asian and Middle Eastern markets. If your caraili are on the large side, cut them in half lengthwise and discard the seeds. Salted codfish is a common ingredient in the Caribbean—brought to the islands as part of the Atlantic trade. It introduces enough salt to the dish, so no extra is called for. For a vegetarian version, omit the salted cod and add a pinch of salt.
Known for their onion-like flavor, nigella seeds spruce up roasted veggies, a salad or an omelet. Find them online or at a specialty spice store.
Scotch bonnet chiles are a common ingredient in Trinidadian cuisine. They are some of the hotter peppers on the Scoville scale. Keep white vinegar handy to wipe down surfaces that the pepper has touched—including your hands—before washing with soap and water.