Three authentic Jamaican recipes for a Caribbean feast

“This dish is unapologetically West African, where peanut stews are common,” says food writer Melissa Thompson.

“Yet I included it here because the movement of peanuts around the world chronicles the trade routes that saw food, goods and people cross the Atlantic via the Colombian Stock Exchange and beyond. would have brought back to Spain after their exploration of the so-called New World, where they were planted.From there they were taken to Africa, probably through trade, before being returned to the Americas in the transatlantic slave trade. slaves.

“Today, peanuts grow all over Jamaica, especially in St Elizabeth. So, although it is not a Jamaican dish, it is a dish that draws on the West African influence that inspired island cuisine.

Peanut and sweet potato stew

Serves: 4-6


1 onion, chopped

Vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2.5 cm finely grated ginger

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm cubes

400ml vegetable stock

400g tin of drained kidney beans

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 bunches mature spinach, washed and coarsely chopped, large stems removed

Sea salt

boiled rice, for serving


1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, sauté the onion in a little oil. After eight minutes, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes before adding the spices, mixed with a little water to prevent them from burning. Stir and cook until the spices become aromatic.

2. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat well, then pour in the broth and add the beans and peanut butter. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.

3. Remove the lid, toss the spinach and let stand for five minutes until cooked through. Taste, then add salt until seasoned to your preference.

4. Serve with boiled rice.

Guinness Punch Pie

A sweet treat to end any meal

(Patricia Niven/AP)

“If you like custard pies, you’ll love this,” Thompson proclaims.

“I first came up with the idea a few years ago, drinking Guinness punch and wondering if it would translate into dessert form. The answer was a resounding yes. The flavors work great in a pie and you can adjust the Guinness flavor intensity by using a little less or more. And if you don’t drink alcohol, you can use 0% Guinness: it works, I tried.

Serves: 8


For the pastry cream:

400ml Guinness

7 egg yolks (freeze the whites for another time)

405 g can of condensed milk

250 ml fresh cream

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg, plus more for serving

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pastry:

125 g unsalted butter, plus a little for the mold

250g plain flour, plus more for dusting

45 g golden caster sugar

1 egg yolk

30ml water


1. In a saucepan, simmer the Guinness until it reduces by about two-thirds. Let cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the dough. Using your hands, rub the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the sugar and egg yolk, then add the measured water a little at a time, until the dough comes together. Don’t knead anymore, just wrap in cling film or parchment paper and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan oven/thermostat 3. Butter a 20 centimeter pie pan and take the dough out of the refrigerator. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a circle about 28 centimeters in diameter. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and roll it out onto the pie pan. Carefully push the dough into the corners of the pan and let the edges hang over the rim. Prick the bottom of the pan with a fork right through, then line it with parchment paper and dried beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and dried beans and cook for another five minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool down.

4. In a bowl, gently beat the egg yolks with the condensed milk, trying not to put too much air or too many bubbles in the mixture. Stir in double cream and reduced Guinness, then stir in remaining ingredients.

5. Pour the custard into the pie shell and bake for 40-45 minutes; there should still be some wobble in the middle. Remove and let cool.

6. Grate the extra nutmeg over the top and refrigerate before slicing.

Ginger Beer Shrimp

A crispy snack that will transport you to Jamaica

(Patricia Niven/PA)

“My idea for this dish came from Japanese tempura: the sweet shrimp coated in a light, crispy batter is a dream combination,” says Thompson.

“While tempura calls for sparkling water, ginger beer is a great alternative. It brings both delicate flavor and sweetness, while the bubbles make the batter feel as light as air.

Serves: 4 input


16-24 peeled raw prawns

1 clove garlic, crushed

2.5 cm finely grated ginger

Vegetable oil, for frying

50g cornstarch

50g plain flour

120 ml chilled ginger beer (not diet)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime wedges, for serving


1. Remove the heads and shells from the shrimp, leaving on the tail sections. (You can also use shelled prawns, provided they are raw.) Toss together in a bowl with the garlic, ginger and a little pepper and let sit for 30 minutes.

2. Pour the oil into a medium-sized saucepan, following all the precautions for frying and heating to 180°C.

3. Mix the flours in a bowl and pour in the ginger beer. Stir lightly, as vigorous mixing will remove any bubbles you want to retain. don’t worry if there are lumps.

4. Just before cooking, season the shrimp with a good pinch of salt. Holding a shrimp by the tail, dip it into the batter, then dip it into the hot oil. Bake until the dough puffs up, about two minutes. Repeat to cook all the shrimp, frying them in small batches so as not to overload the pan.

5. Drain on a wire rack placed over paper towels, not directly on paper towels or the batter will become soggy, and serve with a squeeze of lime.

‘Motherland’ by Melissa Thompson (published by Bloomsbury Publishing, £26; photography by Patricia Niven), available now.

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