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Jamaican Recipes

 Authentic Jamaican Recipes

 Secret Jamaican Recipes
 

Authentic Jamaican Jerk ChickenJamaican Jerk Chicken

1 chicken
1 cup jerk marinade

Cut the chicken in small pieces and place it a bowl. Rub the chicken pieces with some marinade and pour the rest of it over the meat. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. For authentic flavor, use coals and pimento wood for your grill fire. Allspice wood can be substituted with apple wood or hickory. Place the chicken pieces on the grill, skin down. Baste frequently with marinade and turn the meat pieces every 10 minutes. The chicken will cook in about one hour. You will know when the chicken is cooked when the flesh is firm and juices run clear.

There are some other methods to cook jerk chicken. If you don't have a powerful barbeque grill you can bake the jerk chicken at low heat for 30-45 minutes and finish it on the grill for only 5 minutes on each side, or until the skin is crispy.  

If you don't have a grill, you can bake the jerk chicken in the oven. You need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the chicken pieces, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Pour marinade over the chicken and continue roasting for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear when you poke the meat with a fork.

 

Jamaican Jerk RibsJamaican Jerk Ribs

4 pounds ribs
1 cup Jerk Marinade
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Marinate the ribs in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Place the ribs on your grill and cook for 2 hours turning and basting frequently with the marinade. If you want to add some barbecue flavor, brush the ribs with store bought barbeque sauce during the last 5 – 10 minutes of cooking.

The secret for perfectly cooked ribs is in the cooking method. Prepare a good fire and let coals burn down, then move them on the sides. Place a dripping pan right behind the center of the grill so that the coals will provide indirect heat and the cooking process will be slow. Cover the meat with a tent made of aluminum foil to keep the meat moist. At the end of the cooking time remove the tin foil so that the meat will get a nice crispy crust.

If you want to cook perfect ribs by baking, visit Cooking Tips for instructions.

 

Jamaican Jerk Pork ChopsJamaican Jerk Pork Chops

4 pork chops
3 tablespoon Dry Jerk Seasoning
2 scallions
Juice of one lime
Oil for frying
1/4 cup water

Sprinkle the pork chops with the Dry Jerk Seasoning. Brown each side of the pork chops in a skillet. Remove the pork chops from the skillet and sauté the chopped scallions, adding water, lime juice and 2 tablespoons of seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pork chops in a baking pan and add the scallions. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve Jamaican jerk pork chops with white rice and a fresh salad.

 

Jamaican Curry Chicken

For Jamaican curry chicken recipes you must use Jamaican Hot Curry Powder, which is available in the ethnic section of every supermarket. I also buy various seasoning blends that become lifesavers in my kitchen, replacing a lot of little jars of dry seasonings, like garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika, and the indispensable curry spices - coriander, cumin and turmeric. If you don't find seasoning shakes, you will need to make your own blend, by combining a teaspoon of each of the above, mix it well and store in an air tight container.

Jamaican Curry ChickenOne chicken cut in small pieces
1/2 cup oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet pepper whole
1 medium carrot sliced
1/2 green pepper julienned

Rub chicken with dry seasoning. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add chicken and half fry on both sides to make a thin crust. Add vegetables and keep stirring for 5 minutes. Careful with the scotch bonnet pepper, you don't want to break it, because we need only the flavor, not the heat. Add one teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon Caribbean shake and 1 cup water. Lower heat, cover and cook for 40 minutes. Serve Jamaican curry chicken with white Basmati rice, chunks of yams, steamed green and red bell peppers and broccoli.

 

Ackee And Salt Fish

Ackee and salt fish is the national dish of Jamaica. The salt fish used for the traditional recipe is cod fish, as it has a strong flavor, especially when it has the bones. Ackee and salt fish is often served at breakfast, but it can also be a side dish. Fresh Ackee is available only in Jamaica, and it should be eaten only when the shell of the fruit has turned red and split open. Cooked Ackee has the color and consistency of scrambled eggs. To prepare this delightful dish you will need canned Ackee, which is available in most international markets.

Ackee And Salt Fish1 lb salt cod
2 bacon slices
1 chopped onion
1/2 sliced red pepper
1/2 sliced green bell pepper
1 finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 chopped tomato
1 can Ackee
2 fresh thyme springs
Salt and pepper

Soak the salt fish in water overnight. Drain and rinse. Place fish in saucepan and cover with water. Boil for about 10 minutes, remove bones and skin and flake the fish apart.

In a large skillet fry the bacon until crisp. Remove excess fat, add onion, bell peppers, scotch bonnet pepper, allspice, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, flaked fish and drained Ackee. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finish the dish by adding fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

 

King Fish Mobay

4 pieces frozen King Fish, one large onion julienned, 1/2 cup vinegar, oil for frying, salt and pepper, 1 scotch bonnet pepper

Thaw down fish, wash and pat dry. Sprinkle salt and lots of black pepper. Preheat the oil in the pan and fry the pieces of fish on both sides. Put fried fish in a large serving bowl. Separately, heat some oil in a skillet, add onions and finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper. Use less if you don’t like too much heat. Stir once, add the vinegar and bring to boil. Transfer quickly the content of the skillet to the serving bowl and cover immediately with a plate. Let sit for 10 minutes, so the flavor of vinegar, scotch bonnet and onion can penetrate the king fish. Serve on a bed of white rice and boiled yam.

 

Mackerel Rundown

Rundown is a dish of stewed fish in coconut milk, made usually with mackarel.

Rundown6 oz mackarel fillets
juice of 2 limes
3 cups coconut milk
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
2 diced medium tomatoes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Rub the fillets with lime juice. In a sauce pan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the oil separates from the milk. Skim the oil from the milk. Add onion, hot pepper and garlic. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until sauce gets thick. Add tomatoes, thyme and the fish filets. Cook over medium heat for about 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with boiled green bananas.

 

Conch Fritters

Conch is abundant in Jamaica and it is used in many savory finger licking dishes. My favorite conch recipe is conch fritters with raw conch, served with a delicious coconut based sauce.

Conch Fritters12 oz conch meat
1 onion
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
salt and pepper
lemon and lime juice

Rub the conch meat with a lime and washed thoroughly in warm water. Chop the meat and sprinkle lime juice on it. Mix all the above ingredients and let the mixture rest for about half hour. Deep fry the conch fritters in medium hot oil. Drain excess oil on paper towel and serve the hot fritters with conch sauce.

Conch Sauce - 1 tablespoon mayo, 1/2 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon coconut milk powder, salt

 

Homemade Hot Pepper SauceHot Pepper Sauce

1 cup finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers
1 cup minced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
juice of a lime
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree in a food proccessor or blender. Store in a sealed airtight container.

 

Jamaican Rice And Peas

In Jamaica rice and peas is actually rice and red beans. This dish has a unique flavor because Jamaican cooks include coconut milk and thyme in the recipe. In Jamaica there are two versions of rice and peas, one made with red kidney beans served throughout the whole year, and the other made with fresh gungo peas, served mainly at Christmas time. Jamaican rice and peas is a universal side dish that accompanies jerk chicken, pork or fish.

Jamaican Rice And Peas1 can red kidney beans
1 can coconut milk
3 cups water
2 minced garlic cloves
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 fresh thyme springs
1 bay leaf
2 chopped green onions
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients, except the red kidney beans, and bring to boil. We recommend keeping the scotch bonnet intact, as we want the flavor and aroma from the pepper, not the heat. When liquid is almost absorbed and you see some holes on the surface of the rice, add the cooked canned beans, stir twice and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is totally absorbed, about 15 more minutes. Serve hot.

 

White Rice

Some dishes call for plain white rice. In general, in Jamaica white rice accompanies curry meat, as they don’t want to mix the explosion of the flavors of the meat with seasoned rice. The best rice to use for this dish is Basmati rice, a long grain rice that doesn't get sticky when cooked.

Basmati Rice1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil

Bring water, salt, oil to boil. Add rice (not washed). The water should be about 1 inch on top of rice surface.  Let it boil at high heat until the liquid is almost totally absorbed, and some holes are visible in the rice. Stir twice. Put lid and lower heat at minimum. Let it cook for 20 minutes. Do not touch the lid!

 

Steamed Callaloo

Callaloo2 bunches Callaloo
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry jerk seasoning
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper

Callaloo is a leafy green, similar to Collard Greens, therefore it is prepared in a similar way. Wash the leaves thoroughly, discard the thick stalks, and chop the leaves into small pieces. In a large sauce pan, sauté chopped onion and mashed garlic in butter.  Add dry jerk seasoning, water and tomato paste. Add the Callaloo, cover with tight lid and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Sprinkle salt and ground pepper according to your taste. Serve hot. In Jamaica, Callallo is a popular dish served usually for breakfast, along with salt fish and boiled green banana.

 

Breadfruit

BreadfruitBreadfruit is a large, round, green vegetable that grows abundantly in Jamaica. It can also be found in ethnic produce stores all over the world. The texture of Breadfruit meat is lighter than that of a potato, very similar to bread, hence the name.

Breadfruit can be roasted, baked, boiled, mashed, and served with jerk pork or chicken. In Jamaica Breadfruit is roasted over hot coals. You can roast a breadfruit on stove top, turning it over and over till it gets charred. You can also bake it; here is the recipe for Baked Breadfruit.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Rub the skin of a medium sized Breadfruit with oil and place it on the middle rack. Bake it for about 2 hours. You will know that the Breadfruit is cooked when you press your finger on its skin. It feels exactly like a baked potato, yielding to the pressure. Peel the skin and cut it in thin slices, like you cut a melon. Remove the soft, mushy inner part and serve immediately.

Breadfruit is a large fruit that can feed a whole family. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and can be deep fried next day. Breadfruit can be also stuffed with assorted vegetables. If you want to stuff your breadfruit, you need to remove the stem and core it. Place vegetables inside of the breadfruit, and bake the breadfruit in a pan with about 1 inch of water, for steaming. Bake until tender, about one hour, remove when done and cool. Peel the breadfruit and slice it leaving the vegetables intact. The wedges will look and taste very good, as the breadfruit will take the flavor of the vegetables.

 

Jamaican Yam

Yams are another staple of the Jamaican cuisine. Although it is uncertain from which country they originated, Yams are one of the oldest food plants known. They have been cultivated since 50,000 BC in Africa and Asia. There are about 200 varieties of Yams, differentiated by the color of flesh (white, yellow or purple), skin, shape and texture.

YamYams have an earthy and hardy taste, with minimal sweetness. Yams have a rough exterior texture and a starchy and slippery flesh when raw; therefore you need to be very careful when peeling raw yams. When cooked they are either creamy or firm, depending of the variety.

Most of the vegetables that are labeled "Yams" in the United States are Sweet Potatoes, a totally different root vegetable than Yam, with an elongated shape, tapered to the ends, with dark orange skin and a sweet and moist flesh, with a different taste and texture.

Yams provide lots of health benefits, no wonder it is called the Wonder Food! It is said the Jamaican athletes reach such great performances because of eating Yams!

  • It is high in Vitamin C which helps to develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, gum, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels.
  • It contains Vitamin B6 that helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • It is rich in Potassium which helps control blood pressure.
  • It is low in Sodium, producing a good Potassium-Sodium balance in your body that protect against osteoporosis and heart disease.
  • It is rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, providing a more sustained form of energy.
  • It has a low Glycemic Index, meaning a low rate of sugar release and absorption in the blood streams.
  • It has low saturated fat, being helpful for protection against obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Yams can be cooked in various ways. In Jamaica Yams are usually left in their skins and baked over the coals. They can also be peeled and cubed and used in soups. Mashed Yams are very similar to mashed potatoes and used as such.

Here is a recipe for boiled yam. In a large pot, bring one quart water to a boil. Add salt. Peel the yam, making sure there are no blemishes or black spots. Cut the Yam in large cubes and add them to the boiling salted water. Boil 1/2 hour or until tender. Serve hot as a side dish.

As a final advice, cook only fresh store bought Yam. Do not keep the Yam in the refrigerator, it will turn black inside. Store Yams at room temperature.

 

Jamaican Johnny Cakes

Johnny Cakes are very popular throughout all Caribbean. In Jamaica they are served with jerk or fried chicken or fish, or just by themselves, as a fast and satisfying snack.

Ingredients: 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon lard, 1 - 2 cups water, 2 cup vegetable oil for frying, dash of salt for taste.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add water and lard and create a medium firm dough. Knead well and let sit for about one hour. Break dough into 12 pieces and shape into circles, about half inch thick. Let them rest on a floured surface. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. The oil will be perfect for frying if a pinch of dough dropped in it will rise to the top almost instantly. Fry the Johnny Cakes until golden brown on both sides. Do not crowd the pan. Place Johnny Cakes on paper towels to absorb excess oil and serve hot.

 

Festival

Festival is a must have with any jerk dish. Slightly sweet, light and fluffy, Festival cuts the fierce heat of the jerked meat, inviting you to eat more and more!

Ingredients: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup milk, dash salt, oil for frying.

Mix the dry ingredients flour, cornmeal, baking soda, sugar, salt, nutmeg in a large bowl. Add vanilla and milk to form a stiff batter. Heat the oil and test it by dropping a small piece of dough. If it comes up at the surface almost instantly, it is ready for frying. If the little piece of dough gets brown immediately, the oil is too hot, and you have to reduce the heat and test again. I can't stress enough the importance of the temperature of the oil! Take a small piece of dough and form a roll, about 1x4 inches. Fry until golden brown, not crowding the pan. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

 

Jamaican Cole Slaw

Jamaican Cole slaw is usually made with green cabbage. If you want a little color, you may add red cabbage.

Ingredients: 4 cups shredded cabbage, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 Tablespoon dry jerk seasoning.

Sprinkle the salt over the shredded cabbage; mix thoroughly and squeeze it with your hands, to help remove the excess liquid. Place the cabbage in a strainer on the top of a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. In a large bowl mix carrots, sugar, mayo, seasoning. Add the drained cabbage and vinegar. Toss well. Place Cole slaw in a covered container and refrigerate.
When serving, sprinkle the chopped walnuts.

 

Conch Soup Jamaican Style

Fresh Conch Meat1 lb conch meat
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 green banana
1 cho cho
1 thyme spring
black pepper 1
1 yam
3 scallions


Conch is a shellfish that is hard to find if you do not live in The Caribbean or Florida Keys. Of course, in order to enjoy conch, you don't have to go there; you can find cleaned conch meat in the frozen department of your local supermarket. Follow the instructions on the package for prepping the conch meat prior to cooking. It is best to boil the meat in a pressure cooker for about one hour, as conch is taugh. The liquid should be used for soup, as it is full of flavor.

Using a large pot, bring water to boil. Add the chopped and cooked conch meat not forgetting the liquid. Add the whole scotch bonnet pepper, salt, peeled and sliced green banana, peeled and cubed yam, peeled and cubed chocho. When vegetables are almost cooked, add the chopped scallions, black pepper and the fresh thyme. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve hot.

 

Fish Tea

In Jamaica Fish Tea is the equivalent of chicken soup for America, as far as medicinal qualities. It is usually made with Parrot Fish, which has a sweet taste but lot of little bones. Parrot fish is a coral reef fish, available only in Caribbean and consumed only by locals. To make this wonderful light soup in your kitchen, you can use any bony fish or fish heads.

Jamaican Fish Tea4 fish heads
1 gallon water
1 tablespoon salt
1 onion
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 potatoes
1 tomato
1spring fresh thyme
or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper

Boil the fish in a large pot for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Let the fish cool for a while, then remove all flesh from the bones and discard the bones. Return the fish meat to the stock and add the chopped onion, potatoes, tomato and the whole scotch bonnet pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes get soft. Remove the hot pepper without breaking it; you don't want that fierce heat in your soup! Add thyme, salt and pepper and serve hot.

 

Bulla Bread

Bulla Bread is basically sweet and spiced bread. Jamaican people have a real sweet tooth, which is generally fulfilled by the abundance of sweet tropical fruits. Nevertheless, heavy sweet desserts, designed to fill you up, with recipes dating back to the plantation days are still a big part of Jamaican cuisine. They might have unusual or exotic names, but the sweets are not exotic at all, they are just simple sugary snacks, featured in every Jamaican household on Sundays, when families gather together around the kitchen table.

Recipe for two breads 8'x4' - 1/4 ounce active dry yeast, 3/4 cup warm water, 3/4 cup warm milk, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 5 cups all purpose flour.

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water, adding one teaspoon sugar, let sit for 15 minutes until it gets activated and starts to bubble. Add milk, molasses, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, salt, egg and cinnamon.  Add flour to make a smooth dough. Cover and allow to rest in a warm place until dough doubles its size, about 2 hours.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about one minute or until it gets smooth. Divide dough in half, shape and place in 2 greased loaf pans (8'x4'). Cover and allow the dough to rise again, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from pans, cool on racks.

 

Tie A Leaf

This dessert is also known as Duckoono or Blue Draws, and it is served with Pineapple salad. The authentic recipe calls for banana leaves. In The States we use plain aluminum foil instead of banana leaf, it is actually easier to handle, as you don't have to tie the patty. This method takes away some of the flavor though, but it works pretty well.

Ingredients: 1 cup grated coconut (unsweetened, dry), 1 cup grated sweet potato, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup coconut milk, steamed Banana leaf.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add coconut milk till you get a thick composition. Cut steam banana leafs into 10'x10' pieces. Spoon mixture onto banana squares, fold and tie with string. Boil in water for about one hour.

Note: Some Jamaican cooks use grated banana instead of raisins.

 

PumpkinPumpkin Fritters

Fritters are popular snacks in all Caribbean islands, including Jamaica, that can be made with a variety of fruits for dessert or with vegetables as an appetizer.

1/2 small pumpkin
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt, oil for frying

Peel and cube the pumpkin, boil until tender, drain the water and mash it, the same way you mash the potatoes. Let cool.
In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt. Add milk gradually to form a batter. Add the battered egg and fold in the mashed pumpkin. You will get a fragrant, thick batter. Preheat oil in a large skillet. Spoon small amounts of batter in the frying oil and turn fritters as they cook. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

 

Sorrel Spicy Drink

This beverage is a favorite Christmas punch. The sorrel leaves makes it bright red and quite festive. The first thing you hear when you visit any house at Christmas time in Jamaica is: "Have a glass of our Sorel; it is the best you will find!" Some Jamaicans make it with only sorrel and ginger; others prefer more flavors and add more spices. The recipe bellow is the spicy one. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 2 quarts water, 2 ounces dried sorrel leaves, 1 finger fresh shredded ginger root, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon dried orange peel, 2-3 cups sugar (your taste), 1/2 cup white rum, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Bring water to boil, pour over sorrel, ginger, cinnamon stick, orange peel. Cover and allow steeping for a few hours. Strain, stir in sugar, rum, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg. Chill well and serve over ice.

 


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