woman sitting down on a couch, holding a notebook and pen

 

In the creation of this wonderful Caribbean dish, I partnered with Shanon Murray, an author and fellow contributor of Austin Moms. Shanon learned her culinary craft from her late grandmother, Yvonne Murray, a native Trinidadian who migrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. While writing is a passion of hers, cooking allows Shanon to express her creativity in a way that feels more soulful. You can explore both her writing and delectable goodies on Instagram at @thewriteshan and @callaloomami.

 

As the seasons change so should your palate for different foods, namely fruits and vegetables. Foods in season are fresher, provide more nutrients to keep you healthy, and more importantly, are cheaper. However, when a delicious Caribbean dish delivers a punch of tasty seasoned goodness that hits most of the food groups in one sitting then it’s time to add it to your arsenal of year round family menu staples. The next time you’re feeling adventurous, wow the entire family or cook this for your special someone on a date night.

Chances are you don’t have a heck of a lot of time to discover a bunch of new meals to cook for every season. For people with busy schedules, an important benefit is that you can enjoy this amazing Caribbean entrée as-is or pared down and simplified to keep things interesting throughout the week. This flavorful meal brings it and checks all the boxes: affordable, delicious, interchangeable, and nutritious.

Curating A Caribbean Dish

From left to right: Shani: Co-owner Franklin Music Academy and Shanon: Author Pink Lenses

When Austin Mom contributors, Shanon and Shani, realized they both were first-generation-American with Caribbean ethnic backgrounds, it was an instant no-brainer to collaborate. The idea of learning new techniques and sharing stories of their experiences with food and family was exciting. And of course, this was just a really good excuse to get in the kitchen. 

In a brainstorm to figure out how to marry foods from two islands, Trinidad and Jamaica respectively, located just under 1200 miles apart, they jotted down their top seven favorite Caribbean home cooked foods. Although they are descendants from different islands, they found it interesting that the foods they’ve grown to love were shared between them. 

Unanimously, they agreed that the curry chicken should be the star of the show, but for an extra depth in flavor and texture they wanted to add a lean option – a Jamaican inspired wild card, jerk salmon.

Austin Moms - Caribbean Food

It’s not unheard of for Caribbean dish to incorporate two protein options, for example the infamous oxtail and jerk chicken combination. Traditionally, salmon is not commonly eaten in the West Indies, but in the United States fish like red snapper is costly, ranging between $28 to $35 for approximately 2 pounds. Salmon was the obvious choice in keeping costs down.

Let’s get cooking!

Meal Prepping the Caribbean Way

If you have ever experienced Caribbean food then you know the distinguishable attribute to its irresistible flavor is in the seasoning and that comes with the proper preparation. You can find most of the necessary ingredients at your local grocery store, even spices like Jamaican curry powder and jerk seasoning.

If you’re shopping in Austin for your island specific spices go to Fiesta or the mom and pop shop, AfriCarib Market, located in North Austin on Rundberg Lane. A few of the HEB, Central Market, and Whole Food stores will carry international seasonings as well.  

What’s going to take your savory Caribbean dish to the next level will be in the type of jerk and curry you use. Pay close attention to the ingredient list!

Seasoning your chicken and fish the day before cooking saves a lot of time in the kitchen, and also allows the meat to marinate in the spices. Luckily, Shani used a good brand of ready-made jerk seasoning to save on prep time for the salmon, and Shanon seasoned and marinated her cut-up chicken pieces two days before the meetup. With just the rice and cabbage left to prepare, these ladies were only a few steps closer to a homemade Caribbean feast. 

Here’s what you’ll need to prepare your own version of these wonderful dishes.

Curried Chicken Paired With Jamaican Jerk Salmon Entrée

Austin Moms - Caribbean dish, Curry Chicken & Jamaican Jerk Salmon
Caribbean Dish: Flavorful curry chicken and moist and flaky Jamaican inspired jerk salmon with rice and peas and fried cabbage

Ingredients

Jerk salmon Fried/Steamed Cabbage Curry Chicken  Rice and Peas
2 lb salmon (family size) 1 head of cabbage 1 whole chicken  3 cups parboiled rice
1 tablespoon Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Hot & Spicy per pound, or as needed (optional: purchase Mild for less heat) 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed ½ cup of green seasoning  1 can cooked pigeon peas 
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon salt (Optional) 1 potato (cut into cubes) 1 can of coconut milk 
2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced  2 medium carrots (diced)  6 cups of water
1 lemon 2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried, ⅓ tsp basil dried, and  ⅓ tsp oregano dried 3 cloves garlic  1 bay leaf
1 whole Scotch bonnet chile pepper (optional) ½ onion (diced) 1 whole habanero pepper 
1 cup shredded carrots 1 tsp of salt  2 sprigs fresh thyme 
1 tsp of garlic powder  1 tsp salt 
1 tsp cayenne pepper 
2 tbsp Blue Mountain Country Jamaican Curry Powder

 

Instructions

Jerk Salmon:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Thinly cut circular slices of onion and pack them tightly on a 9 x 13 inch (3QT) Pyrex dish
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the onion. Brush the oil over the onion or flip them several times until coated. Use more olive oil, if needed.
  4. Slice lemon in half
  5. Place a large bowl in the sink and fill it halfway with water. Freshly squeeze half lemon in the bowl. Let the salmon sit submerged in the water and lemon juice mixture for 1 minute. Gently rinse salmon in the bowl. Shake off excess water and place fish in the pyrex dish.
  6. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over the fish. Brush the oil over the entire top half of the fish and sides. For every pound of fish use a tablespoon of Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning until coated.
  7. Place in the oven between 15 to 18 minutes. Time will depend on the oven used. To check doneness cut the fish in the thickest portion of the center and check for raw coloring. If needed, place the fish in the oven for 2 minutes at a time until cooked through. Fish should be pink and flaky.
  8. Pull salmon from the oven when fully baked. Wrap aluminum foil over the fish to seal in moisture. 
  9. To serve, use the remaining half lemon to squeeze over salmon, if desired.

Fried/Steamed Cabbage:

  1. Peel 2 layers of tough outer leaves from cabbage, core the head, and shred cabbage. Quick rinse in the sink.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; Raise heat to high. Stir onion softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper, and salt into onion mixture.
  3. Mix shredded cabbage and carrots into onion mixture until thoroughly combined, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until cabbage has started to soften, about 10 – 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Discard Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs before serving.

Curry Chicken:

  1. Cut whole chicken into pieces, organized by thighs, drumsticks, wings, and cut up breast pieces. Wash chicken with water, vinegar, and lime juice. 
  2. Season chicken with green seasoning, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and Blue Mountain Country Jamaican Curry Powder. Set aside. 
  3. Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add minced garlic and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add curry powder and continue to let the garlic, onion, and curry cook on low heat for an additional 5-6 minutes. 
  4. Increase heat to medium-high. Add seasoned chicken and coat the chicken in the curry paste. Continue to stir until the chicken is thoroughly coated and browned (about 5-6 minutes). 
  5. Add 1 cup of water to the skillet and let the chicken continue to cook for about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a little more water if the stew dries out. 
  6. Add diced potatoes and carrots. Reduce heat to medium and cover the skillet with a lid. Let chicken and vegetables continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes or until it reaches desired tenderness.

 

Rice & Peas:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, wash and rinse 3 cups of parboiled rice.
  2. Add washed rice to a large saucepan/pot and add 6 cups of water. 
  3. Add 1 can of coconut milk, bay leaf, whole habanero pepper, thyme sprigs, and salt, and stir.
  4. Bring rice mixture to a rolling boil for about 5-7 minutes. 
  5. Reduce to medium/heat. Allow rice to continue to cook while water evaporates from the pot for another 6 minutes. 
  6. When most of the water has been absorbed, reduce to the low heat to allow rice to finish cooking and steam. 
  7. Remove rice from heat and serve hot. 

We would love to know what you think if you make this yummy Caribbean dish. Send us a comment and include pictures of your creations.

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