6. Rice and peas
Rice and peas is a part of the traditional Sunday dinner and is also widely served across the island in a number of restaurants any day of the week. Most often, red kidney beans are used. They are boiled until soft, then coconut milk, salt and herbs are added and cooked for another 15-20 minutes. The rice is added to the pot last, after which it is covered and allowed to steam over a very low heat until the rice is cooked. Any Jamaican cooking authentic rice and peas will never leave out coconut milk and green scotch bonnet pepper which gives the dish its distinctive delectable flavour.
7. Stew peas
Cooking up a peas stew is very popular- and personal preference may influence what meat gets added to the pot. Beef and pigtails are common for the stew and sometimes the stew is had without meat. A generous portion of red kidney beans is necessary for this dish and is boiled until slightly cooked. The meat is then added and the pot seasoned until its desired saucy taste is achieved. To add extra flavour, add some coconut milk and of course ‘spinners’ – those tiny flour rolls that seem to bring something indescribably delicious to this dish. Jamaicans like to enjoy stew peas with plain white rice.
8. Escoveitched fish
This seafood dish is a favourite for fish lovers, and is also commonly eaten at Easter time. Using sliced fish is common, but persons are not restricted to one type of fish. To ‘escoveitch’ the fish, you first need to season with salt and pepper, then fry until golden brown. Vinegar, scotch bonnet pepper and onions are generally used to make the sauce in which the fish will marinate until ready to serve. Escoveitched fish is served laden with the remnants of its marinade, which often includes a generous serving of the carrots, onions and peppers.
9. Brown stew chicken
Brown stew chicken is a popular dish because it is easy to cook and you don’t need to have great cooking skills to get it right. The chicken is cut into small bite size pieces and then browned. Browning is done by frying the chicken for a short time which is essential since the dish was named ‘brown stew’ because of its characteristic colour. However, some Jamaicans skip this step by adding Jamaican browning or caramel sauce. The chicken is then simmered in local herbs and spices until the gravy is thickened. The delicious dish is often completed with finely chopped boiled potatoes, yam, bananas and boiled dumplings.
10. Cornmeal porridge
Many Jamaicans believe cornmeal porridge is the ultimate food to “build up” the body. Some homes traditionally prepare cornmeal porridge as a breakfast meal as it is said to boost strength. The widely eaten porridge is very easy-to-prepare. As the name suggests, cornmeal is the key ingredient which is slow cooked and flavoured with milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla, then sweetened to taste. The porridge is usually served hot with a generous slice of bread and butter, but tastes just as good by itself.