By: Crisan Evans
Next to its lovely beaches, its warm sun and its friendly people, food is also one of the things that stands out in Jamaica. This is one of the reasons when travelling people normally packs one, two or even three different types of food in their suitcases. Some people even go as far as ensuring a space is left in their suitcases specifically for this purpose. Some of the foods commonly packed are, puddings, patties, coconut drops and fried fish. So what are some of the favourites when it comes on to the Jamaican kitchen?
Jerk chicken is probably one of Jamaica’s most popular foods as it is served at several hotels and is often one of tourists favourite Jamaican food. There are also some historian who believe it was found by the Maroons, African slaves who had escaped into Jamaican forest when the island was captured by the British from Spain in 1655. Today it is prepared on a grill or what Jamaicans popularly call, a jerk pan and covered. The chicken is turned several times as marinade made from Jamaican seasonings is gradually added.
Ackee and Saltfish
We cannot talk about food without incorporating the Jamaican national or traditional dish, the ackee and salt-fish. The dish is infused with natural seasonings such as tomato, and sweet-pepper. The ackee is boiled and then combined together with the seasonings and boiled salt-fish. Salt and black pepper is added for flavour.
Red Peas Soup
The Red peas soup in one of Jamaicans favourite one pot meal. The meal, usually cooked on Fridays in homes is infused with ground provisions, dumplins, meats such as pork, chicken and beef, carrot, coconut milk, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento seeds and its ingredient which gave it its name, kidney beans.
Jamaicans have great love for curry and has used this love to add their own special twists by incorporating it in several dishes. The curried goat is just one such dish. Curry powder is added when seasoning the dish and in some cases even added to the oil in which the meat will be prepared. It is said that this “deepens” the curried flavour making it tastier.
Escovitch fish is one of Jamaica’s most popular seafood dish. Given a distinct island twist, the dish is prepared using the Red Snapper fish, king fish and other firm bodied fishes. It includes the usage of vinegar, onions, pepper and other spices brought to Jamaica by the Spanish Jews who lived on the island about 500 years ago. It is served with the remnants of its marinade which include carrots, peppers, etc.
As its name suggests the sorrel drink is made from the sorrel flower or hibiscus. Steeped/drawn, boiled or blended are some of the common methods used to prepare the drink. It is and essential drink served at Christmas time and adds to the joy of the holiday. The sorrel is sweeten using sugar and sometimes flavour is added using wine or rum. Many people incorporate their own special way of preparing the drink by adding pimento grains and ginger.