Combining African, Spanish and Asian influences, Jamaican cuisine has developed its own unique style. Traditional Jamaican food is very tasty. Here are the top 10 Jamaican food recipes you must try, from jerk chicken to ackee to salty fish.
Top Jamaican Food Recipes
One of the most popular varieties of Caribbean food, Jamaican foods have become popular all over the world. Jamaican cuisine uses a variety of different cooking techniques, from braising to grilling to frying.
Various crops, such as the fruit of the ackee, were brought to Jamaica from West Africa and Southeast Asia. This diversity of ingredients gives the food a real edge.
These Jamaican recipes will give you a true taste of this beautiful Caribbean island. Food in Jamaica can be quite spicy, but you can tailor each of the following dishes to your liking.
All dishes serve 4 people and are quick and easy to prepare. If you are looking for Jamaican dinner ideas, you are sure to enjoy these nutritious Caribbean food recipes.
1. Ackee and salted fish
Jamaica’s national dish is ackee and salted fish. Although it looks a bit like scrambled eggs, ackee is actually a fruit.
Ackee was not originally indigenous to Jamaica, but now grows abundantly there. The fruit has to ripen on the tree before it is picked, as the immature fruit contains a toxin.
Once ripe, ackee has a number of health benefits due to the large number of nutrients it contains. To make ackee and salted fish, sauté cod, chili, tomato, onion, garlic and chives with boiled ackee.
Since the Scotch Bonnet pepper is 40 times hotter than a jalapeno, you can always omit it or mince it very finely. We tried ackee and salted fish for breakfast at Kanopi House in Port Antonio, but it can be eaten at any time of day.
2. Jamaica Jerk
While jerk chicken is the most popular Jamaican food in the world, you can also try Jamaican jerk pork, hot dogs, and even rabbit. The term jerk refers to the method of seasoning and cooking and the technique dates back to the 17th century.
In that period, runaway slaves who were known as maroons escaped to the mountainous regions of Jamaica. There, they encountered the Taino and Arawak tribes who had developed specific ways of preserving meat by hanging it over low heat.
The covered hole used for jerk cooking is believed to have been a way to hide cooking smoke, which could lead to its discovery and recapture. The town of Boston in Jamaica is considered to be the birthplace of jerk cuisine. If you visit today, you can still taste the authentic jerk cooked by street vendors in open pits.
The pepper wood logs give the jerk meat its unique flavor. As for the spiciness, it is due to the Scottish pepper that is used in the marinade. These hot peppers taste quite spicy, so you may need to drink a lot of water with your meal.
Place all ingredients except chicken and peanut oil in a food processor until smooth.
Cover the chicken with the mixture, then cover and marinate in the refrigerator, ideally overnight but for a minimum of 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 200C or gas 6.
Remove excess marinade and rub with peanut oil. Wipe off excess marinade and rub with oil.
Grill chicken breast side down until skin is golden brown.
Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
Check that the chicken is cooked by piercing the leg with a skewer.
Remove from the oven and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
3. Jamaican empanadas
No visit to Jamaica would be complete without trying traditional Jamaican empanadas. One of the best Jamaican dishes, it is believed to derive from Cornish patties. These were introduced to the Caribbean by colonialists from Great Britain.
The empanadas became the Jamaican empanada, stuffed with ground beef, chicken, shrimp, or cheese. Vegetarians should know that some of the cheeseburgers actually have mixed beef.
Many people eat them with cocoa bread on a sandwich as a true carb feast. Some of the more popular patty shops are Juici Patties, Mothers, and Tastee.
250 g minced beef
500g package of shortcrust pastry
1 potato cut into 1 cm cubes
1 small onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (or use finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers)
2 tablespoons turmeric powder
Heat the cooking oil in a skillet over low heat, then add the onion when hot.
Cook for 5 minutes, then increase the heat and add the meat and garlic and cook until the meat is golden brown.
Add 200 ml of water, the potato, the puree, the thyme and half of the turmeric.
Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook for 5 more minutes, then add the hot pepper sauce and remove from heat.
Heat the oven to 220C or gas 7.
Roll out the dough and use a small plate to cut into 6 circles of approximately 15 cm.
Add ground beef to one side of each circle. Mix the rest of the turmeric with the beaten egg.
Brush a little around the edge of each circle before folding the dough and sealing the edges with a fork.
Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with a little more egg and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
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One of our favorite Jamaican foods to try is made from fish such as mackerel, tomato, onion, garlic, chives, Scotch Bonnet pepper, and coconut milk. This popular Jamaican dish takes its unusual name from the fact that it is cooked until it is “used up” or falls apart.
2 pounds mackerel, pickled or salted
1 can of coconut milk
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 chopped tomato
2 chives, chopped
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper thinly sliced
Sprig of fresh or dried thyme
8 cups of water
Remove the bones from the mackerel and cut it into small pieces.
Place in a bowl and pour boiling water over the fish to cover it.
Let it sit for 30 minutes and then drain the water.
Pour the coconut milk into a pan and add garlic, tomato. spring onion, scotch pepper, onion and thyme.
Let the mixture cook until the onion is soft, then add the fish skin side down, lower the heat and simmer until the fish is fully cooked for about 10 minutes.
You can enjoy some of the best Jamaican food at Miss T’s Kitchen, an authentic Jamaican restaurant in Ocho Rios.
4 red snapper
1 onion, sliced
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Clean the snapper and remove the scales, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat, then add the fish and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
Remove the fish from the pan and pat dry with a paper towel.
Heat the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook until just softened, then add the scotch pepper.
Pour mixture over serving fish and garnish with fresh herbs.
One of the best known Jamaican dishes is goat curry. When slavery was abolished in Jamaica, many people came from India to work on the plantations and popularized curry on the island.
800 g of goat thigh cut into pieces
1 cube of lamb or chicken broth
1 lime juiced
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
80 g grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 scotch bonnet chili peppers, seeded and pith removed, finely chopped
Can of chopped tomatoes
Sprig of fresh thyme
400g cariblancos beans, drained and rinsed
Preheat the oven to 150 ° C or Gas 2.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until soft.
Add the goat, chillies, curry powder, garlic, and ginger.
Season with salt and pepper, then fry for 5 minutes until the meat is golden brown.
Add the thyme, bouillon cube, and chopped tomatoes.
Cover the casserole and put in the oven.
Cook until the goat is tender, about 2 ½ hours.
Add the beans and lemon juice and then return the casserole to the oven uncovered for 5 more minutes.