Cooking the Jamaican way
There are certain ways that Jamaicans traditionally use to prepare a cooked meal. Here are just a few.
Meat must be thoroughly cooked. The darker the outer layer the better, therefore browning the meat is an important stage of preparation. When the meat is fully cooked, there is no trace of blood
No part of animals, especially the cow, are exempt from the cooking pot. So be prepared to enjoy cow’s tongue, foot, tail, and tripe with beans. Goat’s head is a key ingredient in a soap called Mannish Water. Chicken feet, and fish head are standards for soups names after them.
Lots of spices used for all savoury dishes. Top on the list of spices are salt, various peppers, onion, thyme, spring onion, and all spice powder for meats. Bland does not exist in Jamaican cuisine.
A good portion of starches, such as rice, banana, yam and potato are served in the main dish. The division is around 1/3 protein to 2/3 starch
Rice and peas (kidney beans) cooked in coconut milk rivals ackee with salted cod as the national dish, as it is often included in cooked dishes for lunch and dinner.
Fresh vegetables have traditionally been used to garnish the plate of the main dish, to add a little colour. This practice however is changing with the growing awareness of the health benefits fresh vegetable give.
Soups are always hot and spicy regardless of the weather, which is usually hot. Soup is always packed with ‘food’ such as meat, yam, dumplings and potatoes. Maggie packed soup is also a popular ingredient for giving soup its extra spice.
Cold beverages must have a good helping of sugar and syrup to add colour. On a hot day lemonade made with limes, dark sugar with lots of ice is a wonderful drink, although others prefer an ice-cold Red Stripe beer.
Also visit our gallery for contemporary fine art by Jamaican/Caribbean artists: EJ Gallery