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Caribbean Larder, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Caribbean cooking is an amalgamation of many influences; indigenous Caribs, French, Spanish, Dutch, British, African, Indian and Chinese. Peppers, hot sauces and dry rubs are often featured in island specialties and if you have a decent Indian larder you will find that there are spice similarities.

The Caribbean Larder

Spices and herbs:

  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Allspice or pimento (berry from the Pimento tree which combines the aroma of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper in one spice).
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  • Paprika
  • Fennel
  • Anise
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder

These crop up a lot in Afro-Caribbean recipes:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Scotch Bonnet chili peppers
  • Lime
  • Soy sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Hot sauces
  • Dry rubs
  • Rum

Jamaican Citrus Jerk Chicken with Caribbean Rice

Jerk is a fiery spice rub for marinating chicken, fish, and pork. This citrus jerk chicken goes nicely with Caribbean rice. Both these recipes serve 8 – 10.

Citrus Jerk Chicken


  • 10 chicken pieces, thighs and legs
  • 8 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Juice of two limes
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Juice of two oranges
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • Half a thumb of ginger
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice ((berry from the Pimento tree).
  • 4-5 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


1. Combine all the ingredients, except the chicken pieces, in a large bowl and mix well. Place the chicken pieces into the marinade and cover with cling film. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

2. When you are ready to cook the chicken, place under a hot grill, turning and basting regularly with the marinade for 15-2o minutes, or until completely cooked through. Or, if you’re willing to defy the seasons, place the chicken on a barbecue grill, allowing the flames to die out before you begin cooking. Turn and baste them regularly with the marinade for about 40-50 minutes.

Caribbean rice


  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 firm ripe mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, minced


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add coconut. Cook, stirring constantly until very lightly browned.  Add the onion and continue cooking and stirring for about 1 minute.

2. Add the rice and broth and bring to a boil.

3. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is cooked.

4. Remove from heat and stir in mango and garnish with the chives.


  1. I can’t wait to try this! The rice also seems very appealing; not the usual bland stuff.

    I have some questions: What is the “heat level” of this dish? Hot? Very Hot? Excruciatingly hot?

    Also, how do you introduce children to spicy foods? Do you start off with no heat, and gradually increase it as they get older? Or do you just wait until they are older?

  2. My niece eats spicy food without even thinking about it! I remember when we saw her pick up a piece of chilli one day and put it into her mouth, we waited for the tears, but she barely noticed the heat! Maybe adults are less tolerant because they didn’t have exposure to heat as a child?

  3. Hi Anthony,

    Scotch Bonnet chili’s are very very hot, I wear gloves when I chop them because I will inevitably scratch my eye later on and the pain is mighty. This is a hot dish but if you don’t include the seeds, it will be milder but still hot. If you want an overall milder dish just substitute the scotch bonnet for a normal de-seeded chili.

    I don’t have children but I would say you could start with a mild Thai curry, kids would go for the sweetness. Chili Con Carne could also be a winner, children love mince meat and you could gradually make it spicier as they get older. I think Toots is right, it’s about exposure, when a Mother is nursing and she eats spicy foods, the child will adapt to the heat. So maybe the thing is to start as young as possible.

  4. I love jerk Cjicken and will be trying your recipe at the weekend