Jamaican culture is one of the most notable cultures in the world. This Caribbean nation is home to the famous reggae music as well as famous athletes such as Usain Bolt. Throughout history, Jamaica has been populated by people from all over the world such as Indians, British, Chinese, Spanish as well as Africans. No wonder the motto of this beautiful island is ‘Out of many, one people’. The uniqueness of this country in terms of its inhabitants also applies to its food. Jamaican cuisine, just like its inhabitants, is very diverse and unique.
What makes the Jamaican cuisine more popular among Caribbean foods, is the spices, flavors as well as the cooking techniques used. Not only are Jamaican cuisine the most popular among the Caribbean islands, it is also one of the most famous cuisines in the world. Below are the top three dishes that you must try when you visit Jamaica.
Curry goat and chicken
The curry chicken and goat are two of the most popular dishes that hardly miss at any gatherings in Jamaica. Known for their love of curry, Jamaicans have gone ahead and developed great curry spices. To make this dish, they use garlic, thyme, allspice, scotch bonnet pepper, vinegar and black pepper. The meat is first seasoned with the spices and then left to marinate. This is done to make the meat, whether goat or chicken, succulent to the bone. The second and most crucial stage is to heat the oil with curry powder until the colour of the oil begins to change. This stage is known as ‘burning the curry'. Finally, the meat is added into the oil and then left to simmer until it is simmered to perfection.
Jamaican rice and peas
This is the kind of meal that accompanies any meat dish. You can eat it with the curry chicken and goat. It just makes your dish perfect. In Jamaica, peas mean both beans and peas. For instance, the red kidney beans are called peas. You may wonder why this dish falls under this list since rice and peas or beans, seems like a normal dish. But wait, what makes the Jamaican rice and peas special and unique is because of the way it is prepared. The dish is made using ingredients like scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, scallion and of course, coconut milk, giving it a flavor.
Ackee and saltfish
Ackee and saltfish dish is recognized as the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee and saltfish are mainly served during breakfast. Normally, this dish is served with breadfruit, boiled green bananas, boiled dumpling and Johnny cakes. Even though it looks like scrambled eggs, ackee is a bright red and has a yellowish flesh. It contains several nutrients that make it beneficial to your health too. However, be careful not to pick it from the tree when it is not yet ripe as it may contain toxic elements.
To make this famous dish, you need to acquire scotch bonnet, tomatoes, garlic and onion as some of the ingredients. To remove excess salt, the saltfish is soaked for hours before preparation. When cooking, the saltfish and ackee are separately boiled and then mixed together.
Jamaican cuisine makes use of ingredients found both at sea and on dry land. The ingredients might appear dull, but don't let that fool you; once you taste the food, you will be hooked. The best part in all this is that the dishes are not just delicious, but also relatively healthy.