Five Must-Try Jamaican Recipes

Five Must-Try Jamaican Recipes

Jamaica is not only known for being the birthplace of reggae music, its beautiful beaches, or producing the fastest athletes on the planet; food is also a big hit on the Caribbean island. 

Jamaican food is influenced by different people who live on their land. Most of their cuisine is changed based on the availability of ingredients in the area. Needless to say, Jamaica is blessed with amazing culture, people and food.

Are you looking for Jamaican recipe ideas? Whether you’re a Jamaican or not, you might be interested to know what recipes are a mark of Jamaica.  The national dish in the country is saltfish and ackee, but there are a lot more delectable dishes that many may not know. Find out the five popular Jamaican recipes that you should try at home.

  1. Jerk chicken

Jerk Chicken

For its smoky flavour and spiciness, jerk chicken is loved by most Jamaicans and those who visit the island.  Many think that this unique characteristic is due to the secret seasoning ingredients. Pimento berries, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, thyme and onion, are a staple in this dish, but for best results, you might want to marinate the meat evenly and for a longer time to let the meat absorb all the flavours.

The hours of marinating the meat will bring out the fine flavours of this delicious dish.  Then, you slow cook jerk chicken on the grill.  But if you don’t have pimento wood, you can also cook jerk chicken in the oven or on a grill. Don’t forget the jerk sauce, though.

If you love Jamaican food, you should try cooking this marinade recipe at home. For sure, even your kids will love the fresh but spicy flavour. All the ingredients and spices create a well-balanced and incredible dish. Are you planning for a party this weekend? Add jerk chicken on your list!

However, you might be asking, “Can I use boneless chicken?”  Yes, you can use boneless chicken breast, but make sure that you don’t marinate for more than six hours.  On the other hand, some people also use chicken thighs for roasting or grilling. You can marinate the chicken thigh meat for up to 12 hours.

For the locals, they pair it with rice and peas or festivals for that fine Caribbean meal. Feel inspired in this video for a homemade jerk chicken recipe.

  1. Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee and saltfish

Feel Jamaica wherever you are! Add this dish to the menu if you’re having some Jamaican guests this weekend. Try it with flour dumpling, yam, fried plantains, boiled green bananas and steamed cabbage.

This easy and sumptuous dish is simple! It’s been gaining fans from around the world. It is the country’s national dish that you might want to try. And if you’re a Jamaican, the more that you need to know how to make it.  

When you start cooking, you boil the ackee and saltfish separately.  Once done boiling, you debone, flake and sauté the saltfish in scallion, onions, black pepper and thyme. Afterwards, you can combine it with ackee to make a lovely and delicious dish.

In case you don’t know yet, ackee is a fruit that abounds in Jamaica and other warm climates.  As it ripens, it turns bright red to yellow-orange before splitting open and revealing three black seeds. They are surrounded by soft and white/yellow flesh. Today, canned ackee is one of the country’s major exports.

To prepare it, salted fish is sautéed in the boiled onions, peppers, spices, tomatoes and ackee.  Typically, this dish is served as a breakfast or dinner with hard dough bread, too.  You can also have it with plain rice or rice and peas. Here is a video for recipe inspiration.

  1. Jamaican Patties

The traditional patties are filled with beef. However, you can also choose other meat, including lamb or chicken. You can also use lobster, shrimp, ackee, cheese, mixed veggies, soy, fish and other choice ingredients.

The patty is baked inside a delicious and flaky shell, and its finished product is golden yellow due to the mixture of turmeric or egg yolk. 

You can also keep some uncooked patties in the fridge, and bake them for a quick snack at any time of day. There are many versions of this recipe.  You can prepare them with veggies, meats or any kind of fillings that your heart desires. You can serve miniature patties for an appetiser. If you’re making the cocktail size, you must cut the dough only in three-inch circles.

You can serve these patties for a snack or lunch. The spiced meat is a favourite among most Jamaican. In fact, you can find them in every corner of the country. The locals usually have it along with a box drink or soda. Check out this video for an inspiration on Jamaican Beef Patties

  1. Curry Goat

Curried goat

This dish is special.  It is often made and served at celebrations and parties.  It is a must-have Jamaican recipe that you should know how to cook. The dish is flavourful and tender, and some people also find it more sumptuous than other stews that they have tried.

The curry dishes in Jamaica were brought by the Indians. They were brought to the island to work on the plantations. Over the generations, they have intermarried with the other races Jamaican. Today, the Indian-Jamaican community still exists, influencing many Jamaican cuisines and dishes like curry goat.

If you live in communities having ethnic populations, you might be able to find goat meat in the market.  However, you might have to go to a butcher to buy goat meat in other places. Check out this video for a curry goat recipe to try at home.

  1. Stew Peas and Rice

Stew peas

Even if it is hot in Jamaica, people here are in love with soups and stews. Stew peas and rice is a favourite combination among the locals. This recipe is a Jamaican favourite; a comfort food that is quick and easy to prepare for the whole family. They use smoked turkey or salted beef. Salted beef makes the dish salty;  however, make sure to remove some of the salt in the beef by soaking it overnight. This dish also works very well without meat. Here is a video for inspiration on how to make this hearty soup.

These Jamaican recipes are easy to prepare and delicious. Don’t miss any of them when planning for a weekend party or a get-together. These five dishes will add life to any meal or celebration and are a mark of true Jamaican cuisine. Try them today!