We love Jamaican and Caribbean cooking! I don’t know what it is. The fabulous spicy flavors 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 Caribbean sunshine.
We figured it would be interesting to find out what the most popular tasty yet easy Jamaican dishes are. Just because you have never been to The Caribbean it doesn't mean you can't make authentic dishes at home!
Let Grass-fields show you some Jamaican and Caribbean food that will bring a touch of Kingston to your kitchen!
No one can think about Caribbean food without thinking about Jerk Chicken. It’s just too tasty for words. Ok, so I'm sure some of us 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!
Let's be real, these aren’t super easy peasy to make 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 you may find tricky) and bake them in the oven. And you have delicious Jamaican beef patties!
PhillyboyJay shows us how it’s done here.
‘That’s not a recipe’ I hear you cry! Well, it is actually, as there is a lot more to it than just fish, as Grandma Fay DeLeon - AKA CookLikeaJamaican - shows us in her Youtube video.
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 help 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.
Cook, covered, until the rice is tender. Rice and peas: as you can see in Chef Ricardo’s recipe, they are perfect comfort food in a bowl and a great accompaniment to many Caribbean dishes.
Stewed Peas Soup
Whilst we are on the subject of peas, stewed peas are another popular dish. Our favorite Jamaican Grandma – Fay from Cook Like a Jamaican – shows us how it’s done.
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 translucent, 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!
Chicken foot soup
The chicken foot is a popular ingredient in many cuisines. Interestingly, Jamaican food finds its roots in a mixture of various cuisines, from Africa to Asia and Europe to South America. We 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 cultures that resided in Jamaica.
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 and 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 favorite, easy Jamaican or Caribbean dish that you love?
Or have you attempted to make any of these? Let us know in the comments!
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