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It’s easy to experience a taste of Jamaica

I am a huge fan of experimenting with the different flavours and cooking techniques of various ethnic cuisines. Our country is a multicultural one and therefore we are blessed to be able to visit different restaurants and try to discover what appeals to our own palettes.

One of my all-time favorites to make is Jamaican-style Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa served with rice and peas. This is a traditional Caribbean meal so it goes hand-in-hand with cooking during hot summer weather.

Jamaican cooking has been found to be a mixture of cooking techniques containing many flavours and spices from the indigenous people of the island. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers, which are very spicy and can be easily substituted for milder versions. Other typical ingredients can include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt.

I usually marinate the chicken for 4 hours with the salsa and rice being made ahead of time. Chicken thighs are inexpensive and great to use in this recipe, but any cut of chicken will do. Other options include pork or tofu if you don’t fancy meat. Serve with Jamaican rice and peas or any style of rice that you enjoy.

Nothing says summer like the vibrant flavours of Jamaica – ya, mon!

 

Jerk Chicken

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 Scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed and seeded (habaneros, or 1 tbsp of sambal oelek can also be used)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsb black pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

 

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and blend with hand blender, or hand chop herbs and mix all ingredients together; Add meat, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and marinate for 4-24 hours. Place meat on grill or in oven at 375F cook for 15-20 minutes.

 

Mango Salsa

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup mango puree, canned (optional)
  • 1/2 fresh lime, squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • Crushed chillies or chillies, paste to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, for finishing

 

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.

 

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