Jamaican's like to eat their food much like how I do, in a relaxed, social setting. Enjoying the food and company is most essential. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and usually consist of ackee and saltfish. It looks similar to scrambled eggs, but is served with boiled plantains and Johnycake, which is this awesome, delicious, sweet bread that I ate every single morning when I was in Belize.
Before getting to the recipe, there is still one very important thing that I must address...the names of Jamaican dishes. The names of their "likkle bickle" are the best thing ever. Never have I heard such cute, hilarious, and witty names for meals. Here is a little list I made for you, just in case you ever find yourself staring a Jamaican menu and have no clue what anything is:
Stamp an'Go = codfish fritters
Better than sex = chocolate cake
Pinch me rounds = coconut tart
Mannish water = a spicy soup made from the head of a goat, it is said to be an aphrodisiac
Blue Drawers = a dessert made with cornmeal and tied up in a banana leaf
Coat of Arms = rice and peas (which I made this week)
* While writing this I got exciting news from Hulu that there was a new episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay on my Hulu queue, and to my disbelief they were making Escoveitch Fish. Here is the link if you want to learn more about this unique, vinegary dish.
|yum Ginger Beer!|
This week I made a large portion of coconut chicken and Coat of Arms to bring to my sorority sisters. The coconut chicken gave me a reason to use all the left over coconut milk I had from last week's banana fritters. The dish had a good response. I was really proud of how tender my meat came out. I also know want to cook all my meat in coconut milk. For those of you who don't like coconuts, do not fear...the coconut milk only had a hint of sweetness to this semi-spicy dish and creaminess to the rice and chicken gravy. The Coat of Arms portion is is an island staple. It is said that no Sunday meal is complete with this rice and peas dish. The meal doesn't take a lot of work, or money, but does take time, so make sure you give it the love and attention it deserves. So, on the next sunny dayyou have free, I suggest you open your windows, blast the reggae station from Pandora, call over some friends, and make some Jamaican food!
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of garlic, chopped and roasted*
- 14 oz coconut milk
- vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- In a large skillet of medium-high heat fry chicken breast in vegetable oil until golden brown
- Sauté onions and peppers with the chicken until onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic and coconut milk to the skillet. Let the mixture cook for about 5 minuets.
- Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Transfer the mixture into a baking dish and cook for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender. You want the meat to fall apart easily.
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 2 cups of rice
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (or habenro pepper) whole (DO NOT CHOP!)
- water, salt
- Drain the liquid from the cans of beans into a measuring cup. Add the coconut milk and enough water to make 4 cups of liquid.
- Place the liquids in a pot with beans, onions, garlic, thyme, and oil. Bring to a boil.
- Once the liquid is boiling add the rice and then reduce to medium-low heat.
- Place the scotch bonnet pepper on top of the liquid and cover for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
- Remove the pepper before serving.