Jamaica-one of the largest and most visited Caribbean destinations, and for good reason!
The home of true tropical sunshine, beautiful sandy beaches and vibrant mouthwatering food. The official motto of Jamaica, “Out of Many People, One People,” has greatly influenced the vibrancy and multiple flavour dimensions of the cuisine making it famous across the world for tasty and spicy dishes. And if the daily diet of Jamaican-born fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, is anything to go by, we might all be one step closer to winning 100m sprints (we’d hope):
His Typical Meals
Breakfast: Ackee and saltfish with dumplings, cooked banana, yellow yam, and potato.
Lunch: Pasta and chicken breast.
Dinner: Rice and peas with pork
With a large portion of my family being from or having lived in Jamaica I guess I could say that I am “genetically predisposed” to being able to cook wholesome food. Producing something that is extremely tasteless and lackluster is not the kind of attitude I was brought up with.
I remember visiting my grandma and her asking me if I had learnt to cook yet. At the time I was about 12 and that sort of thing didn’t really interest me. I was more of a play-football-5-times-a-week and watch WWF sort-of-girl (lol). But when I returned home, taking into account the words of wisdom of my grandma (or her shock at my response) I made it one of my aims to learn to cook. Who would of thought that I’d be so into cooking now? My approach to cooking has changed dramatically over the years, most noticeably my confidence in the kitchen but that just comes with practice.
Having been born and raised in culturally rich and cosmopolitan London, I like to apply my own twist to the dishes I do. So this dish is done slightly different to my Mum’s, but dear I say it, still tastes just as good!
Here it is:
1 can Kidney beans
1 can Coconut milk
2 small onions
1tbsp ground black pepper
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
2 garlic cloves
1kg Long grain rice
5 maggi cubes
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp Dried thyme
1 cup boiled water
2 tbsp Butter
First the onions and garlic were chopped into very small pieces (preferably they would have been grounded down using a pestle and mortar but I didn’t have that to hand) and then sauteed with the butter until golden brown and softened.
A whole scotch bonnet pepper, sugar, black pepper, maggi cubes and thyme was added. This was followed by the liquid from the kidney beans along with 1 cup of boiled water, allowed to boil and then left to simmer for about 10 minutes.
The long grain rice was washed thoroughly and added along with the coconut milk and kidney beans. The water should cover the rice completely, remaining approximately one inch above the rice. If not then additional boiled water can be added. It was then allowed to boil and then turned down to a simmer. A fork could then be used to equally distribute the kidney beans throughout the rice.
It should then be covered with foil and the lid replaced. The rice should be cooked until all the water has been absorbed, approximately 20-30 minutes.
I served mines with slices of carrots and stuffed chicken breast but this fragrant side would also be a harmonious addition to pork, beef and fish.
Hope you like it!