Today’s post is a long long (too long) time coming. Throughout the years, I have always gotten the same question,
“Can I get more Caribbean recipes please??”
Okay friends. I have heard you! While I already have a few Caribbean recipes up here, here, there and here, I know you’re ready for more. I always thought you guys were covered, I mean, there are so many Caribbean and more specifically, Jamaican recipes out there! However, one night Gav and I took a deep dive and realised that there weren’t actually a lot of Jamaican recipes, by *actual* Jamaicans. SO, I’ve got you friends!!
I’m starting a new mini series here called the “Jamaica Series.” Where I’ll be making some great, authentic Jamaican recipes that may feature a *tiny* twist in order to veganise it. I’ll also be sharing more of me in those posts and about my birth country, Jamaica!
If you’re from a culture who is fiercely protective of its traditional food, you may know how I feel right now. In my head for months I’ve avoided this because Jamaicans are pretty unforgiving about you changing their traditional recipes! However I realised I had to get over that because at the end of the day, I’m truly a Jamaican at heart, through and through, vegan or not.
So let’s dive right in. We wanted to start with Jamaica Jerk Sauce because it is like, the hallmark of Jamaican cooking. Jerk sauce is actually one of two products made in Jamaica that are properly protected via worldwide trademark – the other one being our rum. “Jamaica Jerk” is a phrase you hear often, but of course here in Jamaica it’s just jerk. If you’ve never tried jerk sauce, you’re in for a treat. Think of the best spicy sauce that you know. Now get rid of that thought because you’re about to truly meet the best ever. With a combination of scotch bonnet peppers, pimento (all spice), nutmeg, soy sauce and thyme amongst other seasonings, jerk sauce is JAMAICA in a bottle. You get hints of sweet, salty, lots of spicy and a kick of flavour that can only be described as “island-y”.
You can use jerk sauce for a multitude of ways. You could use it to add some heat to any ready made meal, or to use as a marinade. I’ve been known to add a dollop of jerk sauce to everything from:
These are just a few ways you can use jerk sauce, to show you its wide use.
In its current state, I’ve made the sauce so it’s consistent is similar to an actual sauce – thin enough to pour, but thick enough to properly embody all the flavours. Want a thicker wet rub? Simply reduce the water a bit.
Let’s talk about substitutes. If you can prevent it, please don’t substitute *anything*. More than likely you can find all the ingredients in the international section of your supermarket, or if you’re in Jamaica, definitely everywhere easily and cheaply. The only substitute that’s totally okay is the amount of peppers. We used organic scotch bonnet peppers, which according to Gavin are “no joke on the heat scaled compared to regular scotch bonnet peppers.” Where he usually sweeps through a whole pack, one pepper suddenly lasted him up to three meals, since the flavour is much purer. I started this at a medium high hot heat. Well, I think it’s a great heat that allows you to actually taste the ingredients while still delivering a punch. Adjust accordingly for your taste buds. If you’re not so sure, start with just one, and work your way up!
If you have to substitute and can’t scotch bonnet peppers, habanero peppers are your next best bet. They do not taste exactly alike, however will do in a pinch and I’m probably just being extremely picky.
Okay friends. Dive into this recipe and I hope you enjoy! Please remember a few important tips:
This was such a new experience for me to share this and I hope you truly love it! I’ll be back with way more Jamaican recipes – enjoy friends!
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Organic scotch bonnet peppers are much hotter and larger, so if you’re not using organic then you can up this to like 6 or 7. The sauce is very spicy, so use less scotch bonnet peppers for a mild sauce.
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