Last week I accepted a challenge from Dean (a Nouveau Raw reader) to create a Jamaican Jerk Kale Chip. Without an ounce of hesitancy, I *bowed* to his challenge and accepted. *smacks forehead* What was I thinking?! I didn’t know a thing about Jamaican Jerk spices or flavors. To be honest, I am not even sure I have ever tasted them, so how was I to know if my recipe was up to par?! After a few meditative yoga poses, I had calmed my breath and then I turned to Google. The problem was the more I read, the less I knew. So keeping that in mind, understand that I don’t claim to be an expert with this fine cuisine but I am excited to report that I am learning a lot. And with this new found knowledge, I did my best to create a kale chip for Dean and others who might enjoy this exciting and HOT flavor profile.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes for jerk seasoning, and many have an ingredient list a mile long. But I have gathered that there are three common ingredients used in most, if not all of these recipes… Allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers, and thyme. From there, the sky is the limit when it comes to additional ingredients. Today I am going to just briefly touch on these three since I find them so fascinating.
- The allspice berry, also known as Jamaican pepper. The dried, unripe berries from the pimento tree are commonly called allspice berries as they are said to combine the taste and aroma of many other spices such as pepper, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.
- Scotch bonnet peppers are small, orange, wrinkly, and extremely hot. They are among the hottest chile peppers available. (I am quivering already!) And are closely related to the habanero.
- Thyme is widely used in Caribbean cooking and adds complexity to the flavor of Jamaican dishes. Additional ingredients that are often added to jerk seasoning include garlic, brown sugar, green onions, soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, rum, bay leaves, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Today’s Health benefit list goes to Allspice!
- The active principles in allspice are found to have been anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative (anti-gas) properties.
- As in black peppercorns, the active principles in the allspice may increase the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract as well as augment the digestion power by increasing enzyme secretions inside the stomach and intestines.
- The spice is enriched with minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium.
- Furthermore, allspice contains very good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C.
While browsing around Whole Foods, I found an Organic Jerk Seasoning spice mix. I flipped the container over to read the list of ingredients: paprika, onion, thyme, garlic, pepper, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Sounded like a wonderful combination to me. So to get a little flavor experience under my tongue, I decided to try this blend so that I could understand these flavors better. Then in time when I am more confident on what Jamaican Jerk ought to taste like, I can create my own blend. I posted a link below to the brand I bought and where you can buy it online if you are interested. Note that I couldn’t find Scotch bonnet peppers so I used habinaro peppers.
Ingredients: yields 1 1/2 cups sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hours
- 2 Tbsp braggs aminos
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp Jamaican spice
- 4 grams fresh habinaro pepper, seeds removed
- 1 head curly kale
- Wash and dry the kale then remove the stems. Tear into bite-sized pieces and place a large bowl. Set aside.
- Place the water, cashews, braggs aminos, lemon juice, Jamaican spice and habinaro pepper in the blender and process on high till creamy.
- In a large bowl pour the blended mixture over the kale and massage in until all the leaves are well coated. I use my hands to ensure even coverage. The batter will seem heavy for the amount of kale but trust me, this will make a nicely coated chip.
- Place on dehydrator trays lined with the teflex sheets and dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 8 hours. If they aren’t crispy enough, leave them in a bit longer.
- Store in glass containers on the counter.