The food of Jamaica is exceptional! Things just seem sweeter and more flavorful on the island and it’s most likely the result of the love that the Jamaican cooks put into the dishes they prepare. Guests at Jamaican villas will surely be spoiled by having their own cook at the villa to pamper them with delicious meals.
Jamaican cuisine represents influences from all over the globe. Flavors and spices come from the indigenous people on the island as well as Africans, British, Indian, Spanish, and Chinese who have inhabited the island. Popular dishes include curry goat, ackee and saltfish (cod), fried plantain, jerk (chicken, pork or fish), rice and peas, pumpkin soup, pepperpot soup, and Jamaican beef patties. Not to be missed are the island’s abundant and sweet fresh fruit. And of course, everything tastes better when starting your day with a cup of rich Blue Mountain coffee. In the same way, cocktail hour just wouldn’t be the same without local Jamaican rum!
Here are some favorite recipes:
This way of cooking has invaded restaurants and cafés worldwide, adding a hint of Jamaica to cocktail parties and backyard cookouts. Just about any meat can be “jerked,” but the real secret is in the marinade, a truly Jamaican blend of spices and seasonings.
1 dash of ground nutmeg
1 dash of mace
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of black pepper
2 tsps. ground Jamaican pimento
2 cups of chopped green onions
2 hot Scotch Bonnet peppers
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Finely chop onions, peppers, and green onions. Blend all ingredients (preferably in a blender or food processor), pour mixture on chicken, pork, fish or beef and let marinate overnight (or at least for two hours). Grill meat slowly over hot coals until cooked. Yields 12 servings.
1 whole chicken (about 2.5lb – 3lb)
6 tablespoons of Jamaican curry powder
1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 cups water
3 stalks scallions
5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic
2 hot peppers (ideally scotch bonnet)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Wash the chicken in lemon or lime juice
Chop the chicken up into small pieces
Chop the onion, scallions, pepper and garlic into small pieces
Rub all of the ingredients (apart from the potatoes and water) into the chicken and allow to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours
Chop the potato into small pieces
Fry the chicken until it is sealed (5-10 minutes)
Add the potatoes and water to the pan, cover and fry until the sauce has a thick consistency (about 1 – 2 hrs)
Rice And Peas:
3 cups of rice
1 can of tinned or 1 cup of fresh red peas (either kidney beans or pigeon peas)
5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 uncut scotch bonnet pepper (1 jalapeno pepper may be used as a substitute)
3 scallions (spring onions may be used as a substitute)
1 tin (or one cup) of coconut milk
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (2 teaspoons of dried thyme may be used as a substitute; if they crush easily, you are ready to move on to the next step)
If you are using fresh peas then wash these
Pour on three cups of water and leave to soak overnight (there is no need to do this if you are using tinned peas)
Crush the garlic and add to seven cups of boiling water
If you are using fresh peas add them now and boil for 45 minutes.
You can test to see if the peas are cooked by crushing them against the lid of the pot.
If you are using tinned peas just add them to the pot and move straight on to the next step.
Add your coconut milk, rice, salt, black pepper and thyme to the mix.
Crush the scallions (do not chop) and add this.
Also add the uncut scotch bonnet pepper, (the pepper remains uncut so as to not make the rice spicy, just give it a subtle peppery flavor.) The rice and peas should be ready after about 40 minutes (exact cooking time will depend on the brand of rice used).
Rum Punch (Traditional):
4 cups water
1 cup lime or lemon juice
3 cups strawberry flavored syrup
2 cups Jamaican white rum
Mix all ingredients together in a punch bowl.
Serve over ice cubes with a piece of lime or lemon.
Water and rum may be added to weaken or strengthen as needed.
Jamaican Villa Vacations
Some of our favorite villas on Jamaica where guests can enjoy traditional Jamaican cooking by their cook included with the villa rental are the following:
The Four Winds villa located just outside of Ocho Rios in an exclusive gated community is a tropical oasis. The villa is located on its own private stretch of beach and offers a large private pool, private jacuzzi and private tennis court. Extremely family friendly, this is one of our most popular villas and Joan’s cooking is legendary.
Another beachfront favorite with a fabulous cook is Sweet Spot, located in Runaway Bay. The home offers six luxurious bedrooms and a private pool. Rose has been the cook at the villa for almost twenty years and guests will certainly go home with a few extra pounds.
Johanna at Roaring Pavillion is phenomenal as is this sumptuous, world class and very private home. The home is located on a private beach made famous by the James Bond film “Dr. No” (think Sean Connery greeting Ursula Andress as she emerges from the sea) and offers four luxurious suites, private pool and full spa. Johanna prepares gourmet meals of the highest standards.
Oliver is infamous as the chef at the beloved Summertime villa in Montego Bay. In fact, he’s so popular guests have threatened to kidnap him and bring him home! The villa also has its very own vegetable garden and terraced plots which provide many of the fresh vegetables that the cook serves the guests. As with all of the villas, it boasts its own private pool, but also a putting green, volleyball court and half basketball court.
The above is just a sampling of the incredible tastes of Jamaica and the many villas where guests can savor the wonderful foods of an island with such a rich heritage and cuisines.