Meatless Monday Jamaican-style – Part 2
Though meat figures heavily in the diet, there is a plethora of vegetarian/vegan food ingredients that are typical of Jamaican cuisine. Here are some highlights but by no means an exhaustive list.
- coco bread – A slightly sweet bread usually in half-moon shape made with coconut milk. The traditional recipe contains butter and egg but this recipe can be easily veganized with appropriate substitutes.
- bammy – An unleavened flat bread made with cassava flour.
- festival – A fried dumpling made with cornmeal.
- spice bun – As the name suggests a bun made with spices, usually ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice etc. Sometimes includes raisins and/or currants.
- bulla – A type of cake made with molasses and spice.
- yam – Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who shot to fame after winning the men’s 200m final in the 2012 London Olympics. His father credited his speed to the consumption of yams. Ever since, these yams were studied to see if they contained any type of steroid. For the record, there are about 18 different types of yam grown in Jamaica. To learn more, click here.
- callaloo – A leafy green vegetable with lots of iron. It is like a Jamaican spinach.
- scotch bonnet pepper – Set your mouth on fire with this variety of Habanero pepper. It is one of the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale, a measure of heat units based on capsaicin content.
- ackee – Though technically a fruit, ackee is eaten like a vegetable. It is the national fruit of Jamaica. Though ackee and salt fish is a staple dish, ackee is easily eaten as part of a vegan meal. Unripe it is poisonous and for this reason is often not exported whole. You can find canned ackee, though, in specialty food stores. It resembles fluffy scrambled eggs in look and texture.
- soursop – A tropical fruit popular in drinks and ice cream. The texture is creamy and the flavour is pineapple-esque with some citrus undertones.
- june plum – There are many drinks made with this fruit rich in vitamin C. To learn more, click here.
- naseberry – Very sweet and with a mushy texture, the naseberry can be eaten on its own or in ice cream.
- ginger – A ubiquitous seasoning in both sweet and savoury dishes (jerk seasoning, ginger beer, the Christmas drink made with sorrel etc.)
- sorrel – A type of hibiscus. See previous post.
- rum – Good news vegans! Appleton rums are vegan-friendly. You can visit the Appleton distillery as a day trip from Negril.
- molasses – This sticky gooey result of boiling sugar cane juice is used in recipes both savoury and sweet.
- pimento – Also known as allspice, these dried and unripe berries come from the pimento tree. They are used in sweet and savoury dishes. (Perhaps it’s the hint of clove, nutmeg and ginger in pimento that gives it the popular name of ‘allspice’.)
- jerk seasoning – Stay tuned next week to learn all about jerk…
- rice and peas – Well it’s just that, rice and peas along with thyme, pimento, escallion and coconut milk. ‘Peas’ usually refers to any type of legume.
- vegetable patties and loaves – Dough filled with a cooked vegetable mix (often bok choy, callaloo, corn, onion). Careful though as patty dough (resembles flaky pie crust) often contains beef suet. The loaves, on the other hand, are made with regular bread and most likely do not contain beef suet.
- cornmeal porridge – I first heard of this in Bob Marley’s song No Woman, No Cry. A sweet and spicy porridge made with cornmeal and milk. It sure beats commercial cereal for breakfast. Of course, the dairy component can be substituted with non-dairy milk.
- coffee – Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is considered one of the best (and therefore expensive) coffees in the world.
- Rastafarian – Stay tuned. Special post coming January 27th…
OTHER LINKS to Jamaican Food:
Cook Like a Jamaica
Skip over the meat recipes to get to the many vegetarian/vegan recipes.
Turn the speakers down when you open this tourist site.
For specific Jamaican food categories, see below: