Jamaican cuisine is known around the world to be not only delicious but finger-lickin’ good. It includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavors, spices, and influences from the indigenous people on the island as well as the Spanish, Irish, British, Africans, Indian, and Chinese who have inhabited the island.
Additionally, the food is influenced by the crops introduced into the island from tropical Southeast Asia.
Jamaican cuisine covers a wide variety of ground provisions, seafood, tropical fruits, and meats.
Now, an all-time favorite Jamaican dish that has gone global is the Jamaican jerk chicken.
This smoky, tangy, and spicy meal is one of the most iconic food in the island even though most folks have no idea how it gets its spiciness.
The key ingredients are scotch bonnet or cayenne peppers and allspice, along with cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, onion, garlic, among others.
Grilling the chicken over pimento wood or coal lends to the true authenticity of the Jamaican jerk chicken preparation.
Matt Sulem, in The Daily Meal column on the popular website Insider, has named Jamaican jerk chicken as one of the spiciest food on the planet.
Others making the list include:
Korea’s kimchi jjigae
Thai’s pepper steak
Indonesia and Malaysia, otak-otak
Sichuan hot pot in China
Thailand Tom yum
Wat an Ethiopian stew
Incredibly spicy, but very popular is the verdict on the preceding.
That said, recipes abound on the Internet regarding the preparation of Jamaican jerk chicken.
Here is one:
3 whole chickens cut in half
3 limes cut in half
6 gloves of garlic
2 teaspoons allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 3/4 cups chopped scallions
2 medium onions
3 scotch bonnet peppers seeded and deribbed
2 teaspoons olive oil
Squeeze fresh lime juice all over chicken, ½ a lime for each ½ chicken.
Puree all other ingredients in a food processor.
Rub mixture over chicken, cover and leave to marinate overnight in refrigerator, or at least four hours.
Grill mostly on the bone side then finish skin over indirect heat till crisp and charred in spots.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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