Popular and Easy to Cook Dishes: The Jamaican Caribbean Edition
I love Jamaica! I Caribbean cooking. I don’t know what it is. The fabulous flavours play a role, of course. But it’s more than that. Perhaps it’s the attack on the senses that make you feel like you are in Jamaica, relaxing on a beach, forgetting about your worries and soaking up the sunshine.
I figured it would be interesting to find out what the most popular dishes that are easy to make at home so, if we are not in the Caribbean, we can enjoy that feeling of ‘no worries’ whenever we want. Interestingly, Jamaican food finds its roots in a mixture of various cuisines, from Africa to Asia and Europe to South America.
No one can think about Caribbean food without thinking about Jerk Chicken. It’s just too tasty for words. Ok, so I have to admit I have bought a jar of paste from the supermarket before today but there’s nothing like making it yourself.
Put all spice berries (or you can substitute with 2 or 3 tbsps of all spice), brown sugar, garlic, scotch bonnet (chilli) peppers, spring onions, cinnamon, ginger, vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, thyme and salt and pepper in a blender. And there you have it: the perfect marinade for chicken or pork. Chris from caribbeanpot grills a tasty Jerk Chicken at home. Check it out!
I will admit, these aren’t super easy peasy to make (the pastry always seems to split open on me) but they are too delicious to leave off the list.
You make the pastry using flour, beef bouillon seasoning, turmeric, sugar, salt and butter, and cold water to bring it all together. Chill for an hour and then roll out as you would any pastry.
The filling comprises spring onions, scotch bonnet peppers, onion, garlic and beef, which are all fried in a pan. You then add breadcrumbs, ketchup, beef bouillon, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, thyme, Jamaican all spice and water, and let it all simmer to form a lovely rich gravy.
Roll out the dough, fill each circle with the meat mixture and close the parcels (I suggest you check out the video as this is the bit I find tricky) and bake them in the oven. And you have delicious Jamaican beef patties. I love these and am almost salivating as I type!
Green and red pepper, onion and tomato are fried in butter (or olive oil) with salt and pepper and either scotch bonnet peppers or pepper sauce. Once it’s simmered nicely, add in thyme, ketchup, lime juice and water. You then add the fish, cover the pan, turn down the heat and let it all steam into Steamed fish perfection.
Fried fish and bammy
For this recipe, you fry flour-coated Jamaican red snapper or fish of choice in a pan along with a wide selection of vegetables (onions, sweet peppers and carrots), herbs and spices (thyme, bayleaf, scotch bonnet peppers and garlic), vinegar and brown sugar. And don’t forget the salt and pepper to the season!
You can prepare bammy by soaking, toasting or frying. Jamaican Inn tells you how. Bammy is made from Cassava (Yuca root) and is often substituted for bread in Jamaica. If you can’t find it to bring you genuine fried fish and bammy use a nice, fresh crusty loaf to accompany this taste sensation instead.
Rice and peas
Peas are actually beans, as we know them. Rice and peas is a staple dish throughout the Caribbean and it’s not only very appetizing but also nice and easy to make.
If using dried beans, as opposed to tinned, soak them overnight. Then you simmer the beans and some garlic in a pan until tender. Once they are, stir in coconut milk, spring onions, scotch bonnet pepper and thyme and bring to the boil, Then, add salt and pepper for seasoning and the rice.
Stewed Peas Soup
To summarise though, the main ingredients are salted pig tails, stewing beef and the ‘peas’ - red kidney beans. (Some cooks leave out the pig tails).
Boil the pig tails and add in the red kidney beans and stewing beef and cook until tender. Whilst they are boiling, sauté spring onions and red and green pepper until the onion is transluscent, then add these to the bean and meat pot along with thyme, pimento, black pepper and scotch bonnet (which you should remove after a few minutes if you don’t want to stew too spicy).
The result? A comfort food that is great served with ‘spinners’ (a long Caribbean dumpling).
It doesn’t get more simple – or delicious – than this. Fish is stuffed with Jamaican spinach (Callalo) and a couple of other ingredients, seasoned with salt and pepper, wrapped in foil and put on a barbeque where it steams in the foil.
Dice onions, spring onions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and garlic and combine them in a bowl with Jamaican Picka-pepper sauce, the spinach and some salt, pepper and pimento. Mix well before stuffing the fish and wrapping it in foil before placing it on the barbecue.
If you fancy mixing it up a little and opting for hotter roast fish, use some of that jerk paste in with the other ingredients we know how to make to turn it into a spicy Jerk fish, as in this recipe from Jamaicans.com.
Can wait? Check out caribbeanpot to see how it's done!
I have to admit, Chicken foot soup tastes a lot better than it sounds! In a nutshell, the feet of the chicken is used to make soup. Obviously, there is slightly more to it than that though!
You boil the chicken feet in water with pumpkin, cho cho (also known as pear squash), pimentos, garlic and salt.
Whilst this is simmering for 20-30 minutes, chop up vegetables and prepare the other ingredients – carrots, turnips, pumpkin, yam (sweet potato), thyme, spring onions, salt – and add to the pot. Leave it to cook gently until the sweet potato and other vegetables are soft.
Hello Sweet Biscuit shows us her version of the soup.
Curried goat is an extremely popular dish in Jamaica that takes inspiration from Indian curries.
Onion, scotch bonnet pepper (for spice), chopped spring onion, thyme, black pepper, paprika, salt, all spice, onion powder and coconut milk are blended together to form the spice mix. Ideally, it’s better to put the mix on the goat and leave it overnight or for at least a couple of hours.
To cook, you firstly add curry powder to a pan containing coconut oil. Let the curry powder cook for a couple of minutes before adding the seasoned goat meat and cooking it until browned. You then add hot water and leave the meat to cook until tender (goat needs cooking long and slow).
You then add sugar, coconut milk powder, thyme sprigs and ground all spice. Leave to simmer for a little while and your curried goodness is good to go – straight to your stomach!
Greedy Girl offers a nice easy to follow the recipe. This also works well – and cooks a lot quicker – if you opt to use chicken.
There you have it. Nine delicious Jamaican/Caribbean dishes that will have your mouth watering and your taste buds tingling in delight! If you’re not reading this from Jamaica or aren’t planning a trip there anytime soon, give them a try in your own kitchen: you won’t be disappointed!
Do you have a favourite, easy to make Jamaican or Caribbean dish? Or have you attempted to make any of these? Let us know in the comments!
Want more recipes? check out: Quick, Easy And Healthy African Recipes/Dishes