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The Role of Curry Powder in Jamaican Cuisine

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Jamaican cuisine is about more than coconuts and Scotch Bonnet Pepper. People who aren’t familiar with the history of the Caribbean are often surprised at the pervasive presence of curries in Jamaican cuisine. Curry arrived in Jamaica and the rest of the region via  east Asian workers that were shipped there by the British Empire, mostly during the 19th century. Asian cooking traditions meshed well with a lot of the west African cuisine already present at the time, and evolved into the modern Caribbean style curry we love today


How is Caribbean Curry Powder Different?

When you’re making any Caribbean curry dish, it’s important not to substitute an Indian curry powder and assume that everything will be fine. While they might look relatively similar at first glance, you’ll notice that Jamaican curry includes pimento, or allspice, which gives the curry a distinctive flavor.


How is Curry Powder used in Jamaica?

As with any cooking tradition, the best way to figure out what works is to try it. In the Caribbean, curry dishes incorporate a variety of other popular Jamaican flavors like ackee, goat, and shrimp.

 

Meat Curries

 

The most prolific curry dish is, of course, chicken curry, but Jamaican cuisine isn’t about to restrict you to chicken. The strong flavor profile of curry powder goes perfectly with more flavorful meats like beef, and pork, and we especially want to recommend our curry goat recipe. Goat is one of the most common meats eaten outside the western world, and it’s high time that it was introduced to American dining tables.


Seafood Curries

If you’re not a meat eater, or you’re just looking for something a bit lighter, other great options await in the realm of seafood. Curry fish and curry shrimp make a perfect flavorful alternative to spicier dishes like jerk shrimp for people who don’t get as excited about the scotch bonnet pepper burn.


Vegetarian Curries

 

 

Jamaica has a thriving vegetarian and vegan community, and because of this every type of foods comes with vegetarian varieties. Vegetarian curries include curry sweet potato, curry ackee, curry tofu, and many others. A good general recipe is our curry veggie chunks, which can easily be adapted to a variety of other vegetable ingredients.


We hope you enjoyed this quick exploration of curry in Jamaican food, and encourage you to give some of these recipes a shot! Enjoy!



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