It’s National Caribbean Week, so to celebrate why not give these totally tropical recipes a try and bring a little taste of sunshine and sensational spice into your everyday eating
‘Jerk’ is a style of cooking involving seasoning and grilling meats in a spicy deliciousness originally hailing from the Caribbean island of Jamaica.
It’s time to get marinating, people!
What you need:
1 Tablespoon ground allspice
1 Teaspoon dried thyme
11⁄2 Teaspoons cayenne pepper
11⁄2 Teaspoons ground
11⁄2 Teaspoons dried sage
3⁄4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
3⁄4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon white sugar
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
175ml white vinegar
125ml orange juice
Fresh juice of 1 lime
1 Habanero or Scotch Bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
3 Spring onions, finely chopped
120g onion, finely chopped
10 Garlic cloves, crushed
4-6 Chicken breasts, or a whole chicken cut into pieces (skin left on)
What you do:
Combine the first eight ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice and lime juice in a large measuring cup or small bowl.
Slowly add the spice mixture, whisking it in until incorporated. Add the Habanero or Scotch Bonnet chilli, spring onions, onions and garlic and stir in.
Spread the marinade all over the chicken. Put in a large resealable plastic bag and seal tightly. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least four hours.
When ready to cook, heat up either a barbecue or a charcoal grill.
Grill the chicken for about six minutes per side, brushing on more of the marinade while cooking and making sure that the marinade is well cooked, as it will have been in contact with the raw chicken for several hours.
Test if the chicken is cooked through by sticking a skewer in the thickest part – if the juices run clear, it is ready.
Bring the leftover marinade to a fast boil for at least four minutes and serve as a dipping sauce.
SWEET POTATO FRIES
Did you know there are more than 6,500 sweet potato varieties in the world? This recipe uses olive oil, but coconut oil can be used instead for a more tropical taste
What you need:
4 Sweet potatoes cut to desired size and thickness
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1⁄4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Large baking sheets, oiled
What you do:
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Close and shake the bag until the sweet potatoes are evenly coated. Spread them out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are crispy and brown on one side.
Turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside.
TOP TIPS FOR COOKING CARIBBEAN STYLE
- Get fired up by barbecuing your meats instead of frying them. Not only will this give them a genuine sunshine flavour, it’s also healthier than frying
- Full on flavour comes from coating meat in jerk seasoning or fish in a herby or spicy rub. These are readily available here in the UK
- Marinade your meats as this will not only make them taste wonderful, they won’t need any additional seasoning. Zesty lime, grated ginger, pepper, olive oil and salt with a dash of hot Caribbean sauce is a classic combination
- Spice things up with a fiery pepper or two. The Scotch Bonnet variety is the most popular one in the West Indies and is easy to source here
- Make a salsa sensation. Why buy a processed shop one when you can easily rustle up a tropical version by chopping up some mango, red onion, papaya and pineapple? Add a sliver of chilli if you want a hot hit
Jamaica’s most popular rum is Wray & Nephew and it’s 126 proof. At 63 per cent alcohol content, that makes it the world’s most potent rum. Why not use a few nips of it in a Kingston Cooler and see for yourself?
What you need:
500ml dark Jamaican rum
100ml Wray and Nephew overproof rum
250ml fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
100ml orgeat (almond) syrup
500ml passion fruit juice
500ml pineapple juice
Seasonal fresh fruit and fresh mint sprigs to garnish
What you do:
Add all the ingredients to a large pitcher or punch bowl filled with ice and stir gently to mix. Serve in ice-filled glasses garnished with the seasonal fruit and mint sprigs.
KEY INGREDIENTS FOR COOKING CARIBBEAN STYLE
Junior and Jean run Drum Pan Catering Ltd, a pop-up Caribbean catering company that hosts events all over Kent. They also make their own sauces, chutneys and patties so know how to cook Caribbean style. Here are their store cupboard essentials:
- Allspice seasoning – great for mixing up marinades which help meat soak up all their delicious flavours
- Chicken seasoning – sprinkle over your chicken cuts and try to cook them from the ‘outside in’ i.e. in a little water and seasoning in the base of a pan covered with tin foil so the meat steams and cooks well. Near the end take the foil off so it crisps up
- Coconut milk – an essential ingredient for aromatic curries like our goat one, which is one of Drum Pan’s most popular sellers
- Scotch Bonnet peppers – these not only add heat and flavour to food but colour and texture too
- A Dutch Pot pan – we use our grandma’s as you can cook everything in it and it has real history
All recipes and images extracted from Cuban Cocktails by Katherine Bebo, published by Ryland Peters & Small.
If you would like to order a copy for the special price of £7.99 (rrp £9.99), including postage & packaging, telephone Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 quoting the reference GK3)