Jamaican Recipes are to a large extent based on the cooking of African cultures, but in
the same way that Jamaican People are "Out of Many ... One People", so
too is our cooking, which is a mixture of the best from many different cultures.
For instance Hard Dough Bread is a Jamaican Bread, but it was brought to Jamaica by the Chinese, and Jerk is of African origin.
The word authentic seems to get bandied around by those who feel a need to convince you that their recipes are genuinely Jamaican. Almost every Jamaican is a cook, and each cooks in their own way.
Every recipe that a Jamaican cooks is a genuine Jamaican recipe.
Cooking being an art, GOOD cooks add ingredients to the pot as they are cooking. They taste and add.
And particularly in today's Internet world, can you tell a Jamaican who has never left the shores of Jamaica that her/his recipe is not an authentic Jamaican recipe, because she/he borrowed some ideas from recipes she/he saw online, or in the many cookbooks in bookstores.
To me her/his cooking is still authentic Jamaican cooking ... there is no single authentic Jamaican recipe, but lots of variations.
The only times I have followed recipes closely (recipes which I created) was when operating a restaurant, where there was a need to be consistent.
So use these Jamaican recipes as a guide and for inspiration, and enjoy.
They are either based on my family's recipes, are my own creations, or are from my visitors. They are not copied from other sources, but over the years recipe ideas have certainly been gained from many other sources.
In Jamaica we have a wide variety of tropical fruits, foods, fish, and meats ... beef, pork, goat, sheep, chicken, turkey ... are all produced on the island.
We use every part of an animal in our cooking in some way ... nothing is wasted. I can't promise I will personally contribute recipes for all the parts of every animal ... but if I don't I am sure some of my contributors will eventually do so.
Use these recipes as a guide, but be creative and adapt them to your own tastes, or to take account of availability of ingredients where you are. Put more or less of any seasoning, try different seasonings, add tomatoes, garlic, onions, scallion, sweet pepper or scotch bonnet to any dish if you wish to do so, and take something out if you don't like it.
Jamaican food tends to be well seasoned and spicy. Thyme, black pepper, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento (All Spice), cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are commonly used in Jamaican cooking.
Where thyme is used, I ALWAYS recommend fresh thyme. I have not yet found any dried thyme that begins to resemble fresh thyme in flavor. In fact, it often makes the dish unpalatable.
Where whole Scotch Bonnet Peppers are used, you can add as many as you wish to get the maximum flavor ... just don't break them ... if you do, it may be way too hot to eat.
And a secret I learned from my Chinese friends in Jamaica, add a 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of sugar to anything you are cooking (I usually use dark brown or muscovado) to bring out and enhance the flavor. It works better than MSG, and is less harmful.
Fish Tea - a spicy fish broth, very popular in Jamaica. Serve with Hard Dough bread.
Janga Soup - courtesy of Tamika at Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden
Pumkin Soup - my sister Sal's recipe, and one of my favorites.
Red Pea Soup - a traditional Jamaican recipe.
Red Pea Soup - my quick and easy recipe, as tasty as you want it to be.
Ackee and Saltfish
- the national dish of Jamaica, and a favorite with most Jamaicans -
can be served with festival, roast breadfruit, boiled green banana, and
fried ripe plantain.
Escovitch Fish - fried fish in a spicy vinegar marinade. Good with Hard Dough bread.
Mackerel Run Down - one of our breakfast favorites.
Steamed Fish and Rice and Peas - courtesy of Tamika at Ahhh...Ras
Tuna Cakes - Tamika's simple and delicious recipe dedicated to Bron.
Jerk Seasoning Recipe - good for pork, chicken, fish. Add to any meat or fish dish to spice it up. Try making Jerk Sausages or Jerk Burgers.
Jamaican Stew Chicken - a Brown Stew Chicken, contributed by Bashful Suzy.
Banana Fritters - one of the most popular Jamaican Desserts.
Banana Fritters - courtesy of Tamika at Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden.
Bread Pudding - lactose free, courtesy of Tamika.
Corn Meal Pudding - a dessert or an anytime snack.
Lime Pie - your friends will beat a path to your door for this simple dessert.
Natango's Chocolate Cake - Ahhh!!!!! Tamika!!!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake - rich, fattening, but scrumptious family recipe.
Sweet Potato Pone - delicious topped with Coconut Cream, real cream, or ice cream.
Ahhh-Ras' Spicy Avocado Dip - from Tamika.
Ahhh-Ras' Cherry/Guava Juice -from Tamika.
Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream - used in many Jamaican dishes.
Guava Jelly - from Tamika.
Jamaican Beef Patties - from Jason Banks.
Jamaican Festival - perfect with Ackee & Salt Fish, or Fry Fish, or Mackerel Run Down.
Jamaican Rice and Peas - a favorite with the Sunday Roast.
Macaroni and Cheese - a favorite in Jamaica, like it is everywhere.
Natango's Pizza Bread - from Tamika.
Pepper Jelly, Jam and Sauce - must use genuine Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers.
Sugar Syrup - used for Jamaican Rum Punch, "Belly Wash" and other mixed drinks.