Jamaican cuisine

jerk chicken being cooked. Jerk-style cooking is a distinctly Jamaican style of barbecuing meats, is now one of the most popular Jamaican foods worldwide.
A plate of jerk chicken

Jamaican cuisine includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the indigenous people on the island, and the Spanish, British, Africans, Indians, and Chinese who have inhabited the island. It is also influenced by the crops introduced into the island from tropical Southeast Asia. Jamaican cuisine includes various dishes from the different cultures brought to the island with the arrival of people from elsewhere. Other dishes are novel or a fusion of techniques and traditions. In addition to ingredients that are native to Jamaica, many foods have been introduced and are now grown locally. A wide variety of seafood, tropical fruits and meats are available.

Some Jamaican cuisine dishes are variations on the cuisines and cooking styles brought to the island from elsewhere. These are often modified to incorporate local produce. Others are novel and have developed locally. Popular Jamaican dishes include curry goat, fried dumplings, ackee and salt fish (cod) (which is the national dish of Jamaica), fried plantain, "jerk", steamed cabbage and "rice and peas" (pigeon peas or kidney beans). Jamaican Cuisine has been adapted by African, British, French, Spanish, Chinese and Indian influences. Jamaican patties and various pastries and breads are also popular as well as fruit beverages and Jamaican rum.

Jamaican cuisine has spread with emigrations, especially during the 20th century, from the island to other nations as Jamaicans have sought economic opportunities in other areas.

Contents

History

Jerk spices packaged in jars
Women selling desserts in Kingston, Jamaica, c. 1899

Cuisine of the Tainos

Christopher Columbus visited Jamaica multiple times towards the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, once even shipwrecked on the north coast for twelve months (1503–1504). [1] During these visits he described a way the Arawaks (the indigenous inhabitants of Jamaica) preserved meat by adding peppers, allspice [2] [3] [4] [5] and sea salt to make what is now known as Jamaican jerk spice[citation needed].

Development of the cuisine

The Spanish, the first European arrivals to the island contributed dishes such as the vinegary concoction escovitched fish (Spanish escabeche) contributed by the Spanish Jews. Later, Cantonese/Hakka influences developed the Jamaican patty, an empanada styled turnover filled with spiced meat. African cuisine developed on the island as a result of waves of slavery introduced by the European powers. More Chinese and East Indian influences can also be found in Jamaican cuisine, as a result of indentured labourers who replaced slaves after emancipation brought their own culinary talents (especially curry, which Jamaican chefs sometimes use to season goat meat for special occasions).

African cuisine, Indian cuisine and American cuisine, Chinese cuisine and British cuisine are not new to the island. Through many years of British colonialism the cuisine developed many habits of cooking particular to a trading colony. The natives of Jamaica drink the most tea per capita in the Caribbean to this day as a result[citation needed].

Popular ingredients

Curry goat with rice and peas
Jamaican patties and a Red Stripe beer

Popular dishes

Stamp and Go and callaloo fritters
Ackee and saltfish
Dinner plate with black beans, shredded beef, jerk chicken, rice and plantain

A Jamaican breakfast includes ackee and saltfish, seasoned callaloo, boiled green bananas, and fried dumplings.[6]

Main courses

Soups

Side dishes

  • Rice and peas - rice stewed with beans and coconut milk. Otherwise known as "Jamaican Coat of Arms".
  • Festival - Jamaican-style sweet fried maize dumpling
  • Pilau - a dish containing rice, chicken, pork, shellfish, and vegetables, similar to Paella while the name is derived from the Indian pulav
  • Red Peas Soup
  • Stewed Peas
  • Callaloo
  • Cabbage
  • Pepperpot Soup
  • Okra (also Okra and saltfish stew)
  • Pigfoot
  • Cowfoot
  • Solomon gundy
  • Spinners - dumplings shaped by "spinning" them in the hands.[7]

Breads and pastries

Beverages

Ting grapefruit soda, bottled
Irish Moss drink in can and over ice


Desserts and Sweets

Gizzada pastry with coconut, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla

Mango and soursop ice cream are two popular desserts. Jamaican ice cream is traditionally made with coconut milk, and come in popular flavours like grapenut and rum and raisin.

Other popular desserts include potato pudding, gizzada (a small tart shell with sweet spiced coconut filling), grater cake, toto (dessert) (a small coconut cake), banana fritters, coconut drops, plantain tart.

Duckunoo or blue drawers is a dish made by combining a starch (usually cornmeal or cassava) with coconut milk, then wrapped and tied in banana leaf before boiling.

Asham is parched corn that is ground and combined with brown sugar.

Bustamante Backbone, named after the first Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante, is a candy.

Jamaican food abroad

Jamaican cuisine is available throughout North America, the United Kingdom, and other places with a sizeable Jamaican population. In the United States, a large number of restaurants are located throughout New York's boroughs, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and other metropolitan areas. In Canada, Jamaican restaurants can be found in the Toronto metropolitan area, as well as Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa. Jamaican dishes are also featured on the menus of Bahama Breeze, a US-based restaurant chain owned by Darden Restaurants.

Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill is a chain of about 120 franchised restaurants found throughout the U.S. These restaurants sell Jamaican patties, buns, breads, and dinner and lunch dishes. They also supply food to several institutions in New York.

References

Ackee fruit
  1. ^ [1] Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909. The Life of Christopher Columbus: from his own letters and journals and other documents of his time. "CHAPTER XII, Refuge at Jamaica." 1891. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library.
  2. ^ [2] "Allspice." Encyclopedia of Spices. 2003. The Epicentre.
  3. ^ [3] "Pimenta dioica." Meet the Plants. 2011. National Tropical Botanical Garden.
  4. ^ [4] "Pimenta dioica." Plant Encyclopedia. 2010. Floridata.com.
  5. ^ [5] "Allspice." Tropical Fruit Database. 2010. Trade Winds Fruit.
  6. ^ Deborah S. Hartz Authentic Jamaican breakfast Aug 1, 1991 Ocala Star-Banner page 44
  7. ^ Dictionary of Jamaican English By Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Robert Brock Le Page page 420
  8. ^ http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/newsday/access/104297272.html?dids=104297272:104297272&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Feb+04%2C+1987&author=SYLVIA+CARTER&pub=Newsday+(Combined+editions)&desc=A+TASTE+OF+THE+ISLANDS&pqatl=google

External links


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