World Cooking – Jamaica

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Jamaica
Progress: 112/193

Despite many times cooking thing things from the Americas, it has been a long long time since I last made something from the Caribbean. The last time was Dominica and it was back when I was at the beginning of what would be a longish recovery from COVID-19. I am still thinking about those bacon-wrapped bananas and really need to find more reasons to make them.

With Jamaican food, there are a lot of options to make. The influences on the cuisine are from all over the world – although the main ones are from Africa and from the many nations of the Commonwealth. Unlike a lot of countries on this list, Jamaican food is something I have made before thanks to the 1001 food list. I liked the ackee and saltfish, but obviously I don’t really want to do a repeat when I don’t have to.

So there came the question of do I make something iconic or something a bit different…

Main: Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas

There was no question that I would be making this dish for Jamaica. Jerk chicken with rice and peas is an iconic meal and it isn’t one I have had before. I am not even sure I have had jerk chicken before, mainly because I have always been worried about the spice level. At least when making it myself, with this recipe from BBC Good Food, I would have some control over the spice level.

It’s not that I’m bad for spice, but I remember being 8 and getting scotch bonnet chilli on my face and it being worse than a bee sting. In the end, I ended up using two peppers instead of three (seeds and membranes removed) so I could taste the peppers without the spice being overwhelming. Instead it was this beautifully warming flavour with plenty of lime and some sweetness. I am a convert and think I might look forward to taking this recipe to some pork in the future – or at least to a barbecue should I find myself at one.

The rice and peas are a great accompaniment. The coconut milk helping if there is any spice from the chicken and the allspice helping to unite the flavours of the plates two halves. This plate is something I have just been too scared too make because of that one experience and I am so glad I got there now. If the comments section of the recipe say anything, whilst this isn’t from Jamaica this is a version that has met with the approval of many of the Caribbean diaspora.

As the weather still isn’t warming up for a while, I don’t think it’ll quite be the weather for the next Oceania weather. So it’s time to make something from Asia once again and it’s a long-needed return to the Indian subcontinent. Feels like it has been a while since I made some curry.

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