Culture Tuesday is a weekly column in which Best of Vegan Editor Samantha Onyemenam explores different cultures’ cuisines across the globe through a plant-based and vegan lens. Before you start exploring vegan Jamaican recipes, you might want to click here to read her original column about Jamaican cuisine.
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This is a complementary piece for the article exploring Jamaican cuisine. This piece consists of 10 vegan Jamaican recipes by 10 Jamaican foodies and recipe developers. It includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes as well as snacks/treats, dessert, and side dishes – recipes for a delicious day-long Jamaican feast!
Jerk is the process of seasoning food with a dry-rub or wet marinade of jerk spice prior to cooking by grilling, roasting, or frying. Jerk spice is a hot spice mixture consisting of scotch bonnet peppers and allspice, as well as a range of other ingredients that vary with the cook.
For this Jerk Tofu recipe, Andrew Bernard of Make It Dairy Free (which he runs with his wife, Larisha) shares his jerk marinade recipe inspired by his mum’s and shows you how he uses it with tofu (as opposed to meat) to complement a dish.
Gizzada, also known as, ‘pinch-me-round,’ is a coconut tart dish that is made by pinching the circumference/sides of a round pie crust and filling it with a sweet spiced coconut jam.
Gizzada is usually palm-sized. However, in this recipe, Chantal makes mini/bite-sized gizzadas.
Despite this recipe listing butter as an ingredient, it is under ‘vegan recipe’ on the Amazing Ackee website because of the use of vegan butter.
Rice and peas is a rather common Jamaican dish consisting of rice cooked with pigeon peas, herbs, spices, and other ingredients locally sourced. In this vegan Jamaican recipe, Jhanelle shows you how she makes her fragrant and deliciously spiced rice and peas.
Ackee and saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica. It is traditionally non-vegan, but Jessica veganised this dish making it still accessible to people following a plant-based lifestyle. She used kelp to give hearts of palm a fish-like oceany taste and sautés the ackee with aromatic ingredients to create a beautiful, fragrant and delicious dish. This dish pairs well with callaloo, fried plantains, and breadfruit.
Jamaican patties are flaky yellow pastries filled with spiced meat and vegetables. To veganize them, the ground meat can be substituted with minced mushroom, seitan mince, soya mince, crumbled tofu, or lentils. In this recipe, Michelle makes the Jamaican patties with brown lentils which she has perfectly seasoned to give them the umami flavor associated with their more conventional versions.
Stew peas is a stew made of kidney beans which are cook until they become so soft they almost melt in the mouth and the stew becomes thick. The stew peas are cooked with aromatic vegetables, herbs, spices, and spinners (and coconut cream/milk, depending on the cook).
Spinners are finger-shaped dumplings consisting of flour, salt, and water. They add more texture and flavor to the stew while making it a more filling dish while keeping it affordable.
Jamaican sweet potato pudding is a pie made from spiced freshly puréed sweet potatoes and cocoyam (taro) with sugar, raisins, and coconut milk. It is usually cooked in the middle of hot coal giving it a broiled top/crust appearance as the sugar caramelizes.
This sweet potato custard can be served with the traditional rum cream sauce or with a simple vanilla custard (vegan versions of both are available or can be made) for a creamy, sweet, soft dessert.
Tamarind balls are sweet, tangy, nutritious treats. They are made by combining the sweet, sticky tangy flesh of tamarind pods with sugar until a mouldable consistency is reached. It can be spiced with scotch bonnet chillies or warming spices.
Tamarind balls can either be made from scratch using freshly cracked tamarind pods or with store-bought tamarind pulp. It is advised to not substitute tamarind pulp or the flesh of fresh tamarinds with tamarind paste as tamarind paste already contains sugar and is prepared to have a relatively thin consistency which is not suitable for making this treat as the tamarind balls will not be mouldable.
Coconut drops are sweet warming treats made by cooking ginger, grated coconut, vanilla extract, and brown sugar with water until a very thick sticky brown mixture is formed. This mixture is then dropped in portions into a non-stick surface such as parchment paper to cool to a level where they can be stored and/or eaten without burning.
Plantain curry is a sweet and savory curry dish made by cooking ripe plantains with kidney beans, warming spices, coconut milk, aromatic vegetables, tomatoes, and bell peppers to make a thick, filling, delicious meal.
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