Seems like everyone I know has been to Jamaica – usually, for a wedding, their honeymoon, or spring break.
Or a scary combination of all three. (I shudder to think).
While many visitors stick to strolling the soft sands and wading in the clear waters, some seek out other adventures, like ecological river tours, climbing sheer waterfalls, and exploring local museums.
While all this sounds fantastic, my stove top Adventure is clear. You see, back when I made the Caribbean Green Seasoning for Guyana, I totally wimped out on the amount of habeneros required. I used 1/4 of a whole habenero, when the recipe called for 6 habeneros.
That means I used 1/24th of the recommended heat.
Thankfully, my friendly readers from Jamaica told me I could redeem myself this week.
So, with that in mind, I did some research. Turns out Jamaicans sure do love spicy food. The people are mostly of African descent, but also European, Chinese, and Indian. They eat everything from curries, to puddings, and from stir fried, to deep fried. Still, no matter the origin of the food, it is blasted with hot peppers (if not in the dish, then sloshed on top with hot sauce).
And, if you haven’t heard, jerk is the spiciest of the spicy. Jamaican jerk is famous for tender, slow cooked, barbecued, smoked meaty flavor. The most popular forms are chicken [Recipe] and pork doused with jerk seasoning blend [Recipe]. Everyone has their favorite.
For wimps like myself, side dishes help absorb the heat. You can cool things down with a carb load of peas n’ rice, which we tried when we cooked Barbados [recipe] (try not to be too stunned by my early photography), or baked yams, avocado slices, tomatoes, etc.
Then there’s the seafood – delicate and fresh as can be. They love it fried, roasted, grilled – you name it. Most interestingly, they load it up with a spicy vinegar sauce – a Spanish inspired dish called Fish Escovtich [Recipe]. And, buckle up, because this blast of a dish is popular breakfast food on the island.
A dish like that will give you perky morning breath.
You might want to calm things down with a sip of Sorrel [Recipe], an iced drink served in Jamaica around Christmastime. The drink is brewed and chilled sorrel, a.k.a. hibiscus flower, mixed with other aromatics, like fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, all spice, cloves, and more. Rum, which has a home in Jamaica, is often splashed in it as well.
What are your favorite Jamaican foods?