Tag Archives: caribbean food

Recipe #10: Jamaican Oxtails

19 Feb

If you are planning on a quick meal, this is not the one! Oxtails are delicious, but definitely take some planning. I’ve never had oxtails outside of a Jamaican bakery or restaurant, so homemade oxtails are an adventure. Lately, I hear more and more people in the states asking for oxtails, good to see people broadening their horizons!!

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 2lb oxtail
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 3 slices hot pepper
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 lb cooked broad beans

Wash and dry the pieces of oxtail and brown them in oil.  Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower and simmer until the oxtail is tender, adding more water if necessary.  Reduce the sauce to a thick gravy by increasing the heat, then add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, hot pepper, salt and black pepper.  stir for a few minutes, then add the remaining water and broad beans.  Mix them in, lower the hear, cover again, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the water evaporates leaving a thick gravy.  Serve with rice.

OK here is what I did:

First of all, I decided to marinate my oxtails first. So I added the oxtails, onions, thyme, garlic, hot pepper, salt and pepper in a bowl and refrigerated it over night. I also added some browning to make sure that I got some color on my oxtails. Image

Next day, I went ahead and fried the oxtails. Got them nice and brown, I fried a few pieces at a time and  removed them from the pot. Image

Once my batch was browned, I added everything back and covered the meat with water.


Now this part takes a while, Oxtails are a pretty tough cut of meat. So I let them simmer for about 2 hours, to get the meat really tender. To the point that it was falling of the bone. Then I added all of the other ingredients. Broad beans are just another word for butter beans.  I got nervous about the flavor and also added a little more salt and pepper.


I let all of that go for about another hour and served it up with a fresh batch of rice and peas.


The oxtails were delicious.  If they cook for as long as I said then they come out nice and tender. Meat was falling off the bone! YUM!  Mom said she wanted it spicier tho! LOL.. always can be spicier!


Recipe #9: Saltfish and PawPaw (Papaya)

18 Feb

The recipe book said “Saltfish and Pawpaw.”  My first question.. what in the world is paw paw?! My father says that he thinks that at some point in his life he has had salt fish and papaya.  His mother may have cooked it for him and that is the last time he has ever had it. Just goes to show how old school some of these recipes are.  I have never heard of salt fish and papaya, ever! Matter a fact, before this project I had never even opened up a papaya… Made me a little nervous…Here goes…

Here is the recipe from the book:

  • 1/2 lb salt cod
  • 2lb green papaya
  • 6 slilces of bacon
  • oil
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 slices hot pepper
  • 1 spring of thyme
  • 1 cup water

Boil the salt cod in water for 15 minutes.  In the meantime peel and slice the pawpaw, discard the seeds, and set it aside.  When the fish is cooked, put it under some running water to cool, then remove the skin and bones and flake the fish.

Fry the bacon in a little oil, then remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the onions, tomato, hot pepper and thyme to the pan.  Stir for a few minutes and then add the flaked fish; stir again and add the slices pawpaw.  Pour in the water, cover the pan, and simmer until the pawpaw is tender and the liquid is reduced to a gravy.  Garnish the saltfish and pawpaw with the bacon.

OK here is what I did:

Like I said, I have never used or opened a papaya. Image

A little intimidating.. lol.


Gorgeous. When I opened it, I got worried.  The Papaya was a little more ripe than I thought. I decided to go ahead and move forward with the recipe.  I scooped the seeds of the papaya out and began slicing.

I also began boiling some green bananas to go along with it.


I followed the recipe exactly, except I added more thyme and a few red pepper flakes.

ImageSprinkled the bacon on top!! Bacon makes everything delicious!


I had to taste it at this point. My goodness…divine!  A sweet, salty, spicy mix of flavors!


I served it with some left over dumplings and the boiled green banana.  I was so nervous to try this, but it turned out so good. I am glad to have another saltfish recipe under my belt.

My dad also enjoyed it. He said I needed to make more gravy so the dumpling and the banana could soak some of it up. Next time, I will also try to find a less ripe papaya. My dad said it should be more green than pink, but he said quote “It nah taste bad, it taste good ya nuh” lol.. Keep it spicy!


Recipe #2: Homemade Jamaican Beef Patties

9 Feb

Beef Patties!! Yummy!! Probably one of the most well known Jamaican dishes.  My family either buys these delicious little pastries from a local U.S. Jamaican Bakery, or when family comes up from Jamaica they bring the original ones up frozen.  Those, even though frozen, are always my favorite. They are flaky and delicious.  My biggest worry when deciding to do this recipe was making sure the crust had that same flaky goodness. I also am a HORRIBLE baker..rolling dough always seems like such a process. But here we go…

I decided to make this second because of the the extra ground beef I had left in my fridge.  I figure, might as well use what I have!

Here is the recipe from the book.

For the Pastry

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening or margerine
  • iced water

For the Filling

  • 2 onions
  • 3 stalks escallion
  • 2 hot peppers
  • 2lbs minced beef
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 lb breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup water

For the pastry, sieve together the flour, curry powder and salt.  Work in the shortening or margarine, adding enough iced water to hold it together.  Wrap it in foil and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.  remove dough 15 minutes before you are going to use it.  Pull off to make one patty at a time.  Roll each piece our and cut into circles.

For the filling, put onions, escallion and hot pepper through a mincer or chop very finely by hand.  Add to the beef and mix very well.  Heat the oil in the frying pan, throw in the meat mixture and stir for a few minutes, add breadcrumbs, thyme and curry power. Salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well, add water and simmer for 30 mins.  It should be neither runny or dry, let the mix cool.

fill each pastry enough to cover half of it, fold the other half over and crimp the edges with a fork.. bake on un-greased baking sheets in a pre heated oven at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes

OK, here is how I did it:

For some reason I decided to get fancy with it…lol..It was because had less beef than the recipe called for so I had to approximate some of the other ingredients.

I did the pastry the night before and refrigerated it.

For the pastry I used:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 12 tablespoons of stick butter not margerine, slightly melted, but still solid (what is that room temp butter or something?)
  • and an extra 1/2 tablespoon of curry, totally 11/2

Forked in the butter and Mixed all those ingredients together until it was a completely firm ball. Image

The next day, took the dough out the fridge

Then Onto the filling, with my half pound of beef I used 1 and half an onion, 1 scallion, another tablespoon and a half of curry powder and I added red chili flakes to the mix with the scotch bonnet peppers.  I also just kind of eye balled the amount of bread crumbs I put it….little did I know they were so important, as you will find out later! Anyways.. mixed it all together and browned the beef up. Followed the recipe, added water and let it simmer.Image

While that was simmering I began rolling out the dough.  This was the part I was scared off.. Turned out not too bad, and smelled delicious!!!!

I was trying to figure out about how much dough I need to roll out. I learned about a full fist full was perfect. I cut circles out of the rolled out dough with a bowl.


Then I just filled each little dough pocket and crimped the edges, as the recipe called for.

Everything else stayed the same, and here is how they turned out!

ImageI made different types, the square ones which look more traditional and the folded over ones.

The results:FLAKY CRUST PERFECTION!! The crust was so flaky and perfect! Loved it.

That extra 1/2 tablespoon of curry in the crust though, was not needed.

Also, I needed to make more of the filling mixture. I think its better to make more filling than have more pastry crust, because, I mean.. what are you going to do with extra crust?…

*So Note* keep count of how many crusts I am rolling out..

The meat was delicious, loaded with flavor, and spicy with the kick of red pepper flakes. Next time I will strain some of the oil out before I stuff the pastries and my father suggested adding more breadcrumbs to make the filling more filled..I don’t know what exactly he meant by that.. but I’ll play with it..lol..

Overall though..delicious!!