Every Caribbean country has a staple seafood dish – and it’s no different in Jamaica. Here, you can expect to see salt fish (AKA cod) plastered all over restaurant menus. Wondering why it’s called salt fish? Well, up until the 19th century, salting was the only widely available method to preserve freshly netted fish, and it’s an age-old tradition that’s still used today. This tasty meal is made up of sautéed cod, boiled ackee, scotch bonnet peppers, and freshly picked tomatoes. Then, it’s seasoned with sizzling spices, like black pepper and pimento. This spicy dish is usually eaten at breakfast.
Curry goat is a staple dish in Jamaica. Normally, this mouthwatering dish is served with rice, fried plantain, and potatoes. Because curry goat is slow-cooked over a couple of hours, it's really tender. It's not too spicy, either, so it's a crowd-pleaser, and is often whipped up in big batches and eaten at parties and celebrations.
You can forget boring side dishes when fried plantain's on the menu. For this dish, slices of plantain are drizzled with oil, seasoned with salt, and fried until they’re crispy and golden brown. Plantains are a member of the banana family, they're a similar shape and colour, but they're much less sweet, and aren't tasty if they're eaten raw.
Jamaican jerk chicken (serves four)
8 chicken thighs, with the bone in and skin left on
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 4 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 scotch bonnet chillis, seeds removed
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
Salt and ground black pepper, to season
Rice and peas
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 400ml can coconut milk
2 thyme sprigs, chopped
1 tsp salt
280g basmati rice
Start preparing the jerk marinade by blending all of the ingredients together. Then, cut the underside of each chicken thigh down to the bone, before placing into a large bowl. Next, pour the jerk marinade over the chicken, massaging each thigh until they’re completely covered in the sauce. Leave overnight to marinate.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6. Place the chicken thighs in a non-stick baking tray and cook for 45 minutes until golden brown in colour. Then, grill the chicken on a high heat for an additional five minutes, to ensure that the skin is crispy.
While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the rice and peas. Start by heating the peanut oil in a saucepan, before adding in the chopped onions, cooking them until they are soft and translucent.
Add all of the remaining ingredients into the saucepan, except for the rice, and bring to the boil.
Rinse the rice thoroughly with water, and then add it into the saucepan. Turn the heat down and simmer gently, with the lid left on, for 15 minutes before serving with your jerk chicken.
You’ll be close to Dunn's River Falls when you stay at the Riu Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
The adults-focussed Riu Reggae comes with a beachfront location and boats swim-up bars.
Three outdoor pools, à la carte dining, and free Wi-Fi are just a few things you can expect at the Riu Negril.
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