Jamaican dishes are known for their diverse spices, textures, and flavors. The varied cuisine reflects the cultures of the people who have inhabited the island, especially those with African roots. Here are some easy Jamaican dishes to prepare at home or enjoy at a Jamaican restaurant.
Ackee and Saltfish
The ackee and saltfish dish is the national food of Jamaica, although the meal isn’t originally indigenous to Jamaica. Ackee resembles scrambled eggs, but it is a fruit. This fruit contains antioxidants and vitamin A and has many health benefits.
The ingredients for this dish are salt cod, canned ackee, chopped onion, red pepper, green pepper, bonnet chili, and frying oil. Boil the ackee and then fry it with the other ingredients. Jamaicans usually serve the ackee with other popular Jamaican dishes, such as fried dumplings.
Saltfish and Butter Beans
This is a common breakfast dish that takes only a few minutes to prepare. Since saltfish typically contains excess salt, soak the fish in water overnight. In the morning, boil the saltfish for a few minutes and then shred it into tiny pieces. Add onions, garlic, sweet pepper, and chopped scallion to heated oil, and then stir in the fish. After a few minutes, add butter beans and let it all simmer for a few seconds.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
“Jerk” is a cooking style native to Jamaica where a chef pokes several holes in the meat before cooking it. The holes allow flavors to penetrate deeper into the meat.
To prepare the Jamaican jerk chicken, you’ll need chicken, herbs and spices, scallions, garlic, red onion, and pepper. Grind and combine the spices until they’re smooth. The next step is to use a knife to poke several holes in the chicken. Coat the chicken in the spices and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Jamaican Oxtail Stew
This dish consists of delicious oxtails in a mixture of butter beans and various spices like salt, garlic, and bouillon powder. While oxtail is the common ingredient in the dish, a Jamaican restaurant can substitute oxtail with beef shank or neck bones.
Lima beans, commonly known as butter beans, are great for this dish because they are soft. You can substitute the lima beans with any other large white beans, such as Great Northern beans.
The cooking process starts with adding the oxtails to heated oil for a few minutes. Then add the seasonings and stir for a few minutes. The next step is to add water and let the dish boil and simmer for a few hours. Once the oxtail has become tender, add the beans and let the dish simmer for a few more minutes.
Jamaican Fried Dumplings
These dumplings are crispy and golden on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside. The meal consists of small pieces of dough mixture rolled into any shape ranging from discs to rods to balls. You then fry the small dough pieces in oil.
The main ingredients are oil, baking powder, cornmeal flour, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Mix the salt, sugar, baking powder, and cornmeal in a large bowl. Then add the milk and butter before kneading for a few minutes. Avoid over-kneading the dough and making it tough. Stop kneading once the ingredients are combined well. The next step is to divide the dough into pieces of various sizes and shapes. Fry the pieces in a large saucepan to create the dumplings.
Visit a Jamaican Restaurant Today
Many Jamaican dishes have easy recipes that you can prepare at home. But another excellent way to enjoy these dishes is to visit a Jamaican restaurant. This gives you a chance to eat authentic Jamaican dishes and interact with other lovers of Jamaican cuisine.