Remco and I have been to Jamaica for 2 weeks and we have been traveling around by public transport. Jerk chicken is a Jamaican dish. Back at home we cooked a vegan jerk recipe with plant-based chucks. I think most people will expect jerk chicken to be the national dish of Jamaica, because it is the most widely eaten popular dish everywhere you go. But the national dish in Jamaica is ackee with saltfish.
Ackee and saltfish is sautéed saltfish with boiled ackee, onions, thyme, scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, red bell pepper, garlic, black pepper and pimento. Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit. The dish looks like scrambled egg.
In Kingston we stayed at a guesthouse and the owner prepared ackee with breadfruit for us, though without the fish because she was also vegan. She was a great cook and the dish was very delicious!
Jerk chicken is a popular dish and one of the most traditional Jamaican food. Jerk spice is made from cinnamon, ginger, cloves, thyme, pepper, garlic and nutmeg. Instead of chicken they used the jerk spice also for veggies, beef, shrimps, tofu. However, chicken is still the most popular choice in Jamaica.
Since we don't eat meat anymore, I prepared a vegan jerk recipe. It's very simple; you just replace chicken for a more animal friendly plant chicken. The other steps are the same. The jerk seasoning we bought on the island.
These stuffed pitas with crispy salad are very comforting and yummy. When you don't have the time to cook the pita bread yourself, you can obviously buy them in the store.
- Vivera plant chicken pieces 2 packages, or something similar as meat substitute
- Jerk seasoning, 1,5 tablespoon
- Olive oil, 3 tablespoons
- Red onion, cut into half moons
- Iceberg lettuce, shredded
- Carrot, peeled and grated
- Red cabbage, shredded
- White cabbage, shredded
- Fresh coriander, chopped
- Half lime
- Plant-based yogurt, 3 tablespoons
- Ground pepper
- Whole wheat flour, 430 grams
- Instant dry yeast, 5 grams
- Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
- Lukewarm water, 300 ml
- First, we make the dough for the pita bread. Put the yeast together with the water in a bowl and stir, let the yeast dissolve in the water.
- Add the flour in a large bowl, add a tablespoon olive oil and the yeast/water mixture and stir.
- Sprinkle some flour on your counter and start kneading for 15 minutes. Sprinkle in a little more flour when the dough sticks too much to your hands.
- Divide the dough into 6 (or 8) equal balls and flatten to round pitas. Cover the oven plate with parchment paper and sprinkle a little bit flour on it. Put the pita breads on the plate and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegan jerk. Add the plant chunks in a bowl together with the jerk seasoning and 3 tablespoons of oil. Mix together and let it rest in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 230 °C.
- Now you prepare the salad. Mix the iceberg lettuce, cabbage, carrot, onion and coriander in a bowl, squeeze the lime, add the yogurt and ground pepper to taste.
- Remove the towel from the breads and transfer the oven plate into the oven for 15 minutes. Maybe a bit shorter or longer, it depends on your oven.
- Bake the vegan jerk chicken chunks in a frying pan while the bread is in the oven.
- Let the pita bread cool off a little before serving. Cut an opening in the pita and stuff with the plant based chicken and salad. Enjoy your Jamaican stuffed pitas!
- Create your own jerk seasoning.
- Combine the vegan jerk chicken with mango or pineapple.
- Try tofu or tempeh.
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