Home Cooking Jamaican Style!
If you search the Internet, you will find a whole heap of Jamaican recipes to full your appetite for food. But is it Jamaican style? That is always the problem with cooking Jamaican food, it needs to be cooked in the style a Jamaican cook, otherwise it’s just another meal.
Jamaican food is a little different than most other cooking and that is important. Without cooking the correct way, you will not get the taste Jamaicans love, and if a Jamaican don’t love your Jamaican cooking then you have to start again.
For instance, Curried Goat and Rice and Peas, a Jamaican favourite that if done right is a great meal. Get it wrong and it’s not Jamaican Curried Goat.
So what are the clues to look for. The first thing you do after adding your oil to the pan is to add your garlic to the hot oil. Jamaicans love garlic in most food but it’s the flavour that is needed and adding your garlic to the oil and getting that smell and flavour right from the start is a must that many people, even some Jamaicans, don’t know. Leave it in the pot as you ‘brown’ your mutton, it adds to the potency and flavour.
Another Jamaican favourite, Coconut Milk. As a child growing up in Jamaica I knew our food was rich in taste and flavour and understanding why, is a must. I was cooking a Pea Soup (red bean) a while back when I had a taste, it was all wrong. I added more seasoning and still the taste and smell was not there. What had I missed, Coconut Milk. As soon as I poured in my Coconut Milk the smell it me!
Another tip is to use fresh ingredients where you can and this sometimes can be a problem. One such case is Ackee. This is a season fruit as with most Jamaican food but you can get it in a can. Remove that liquid it’s been packed in using a strainer or colander. Then pour cold water over the Ackee to give it a good clean, handle with care as it could break apart, then you are close to the real thing.
Saltfish should be the dried Saltfish, not the boneless/skinless Saltfish because it makes for less work, no, keep it real and pick out the bones after boiling.
Always wash your rice a few times to get it as clean as you can, it’s a Jamaican ‘ting’ but it makes a big difference to the taste of your rice.