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Jamaican Fried Chicken
Recipe For Our Most Popular Dish

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Jamaican Fried Chicken| (Photo Credit: JamaicanBikkle)Jamaican Fried Chicken| (Photo Credit: JamaicanBikkle)

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

I think most of us would agree that fried chicken is the top global comfort food. It does not matter where you are from, some good fried chicken is always welcomed. It is no different in Jamaica. Fried chicken is possibly had more than our national dish, as a matter of fact I am certain that it is. 


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Depending on where you are from, how you make your fry chicken may differ drastically from other places. For some people it is all about the coating or batter for the chicken while for others its about the seasoning.

So what makes fried chicken great, is it the batter/coating or is it the seasoning? I bet many of you will say its all about the batter, the right batter will make it crispy just the way you like it and it's the crispiness that determines how good fried chicken is, am I right?

However, if you pose that question to any Jamaican, I guarantee you that the response will unanimously say that it is all about the seasonings. There is not one dish that can be considered Jamaican if it is not properly, and dare i say, heavily seasoned. When Jamaicans are making fried chicken it is typically seasoned in two ways or a combination of both methods.

Blending fresh herbs and spices to make a thick marinade and leave to marinate overnight or for a few hours.

Using multiple “powdered seasonings”, this is typically for when there isn’t enough time to marinate the chicken for long hours, two of the most common seasonings used are Maggi and EasiSpice.

A combination of blended or grated herbs and spice plus powdered seasonings. 

So you may ask, what about the batter/ coating? Don’t fear, that is important as well. It is however not as emphasized. Unless it's for a special occasion, you won’t find Jamaicans making batters for their fried chicken, as a matter of fact, most don’t even go through the process of flouring, egg washing then bread crumbing their chicken.

I remember as a child my Mommy would chastise me for “wasting” her eggs to fry chicken and I’m pretty sure its a no-no in most Jamaican households where finances are tight and eggs are typically reserved for a quick breakfast on school mornings.

So while we don’t go through the typical battering process, we add a hefty amount of powdered seasoning to a generous amount of flour, either in a bowl or plastic bag, add the chicken then, give it a vigorous shake. And that's it! Your chicken is ready for frying. So, here is a quick and easy recipe for homemade Jamaican Fried Chicken that you absolutely must try.

Jamaican Fried Chicken Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2lbs chicken
  • escallion and thyme
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Pimento seeds
  • Scotch bonnet pepper
  • Onion 
  • Maggie seasonings (all-purpose and chicken flavours)
  • Oil 
  • Lime/lemon juice or vinegar

PROCEDURE

  1. Cut, clean and wash your chicken in a mixture of vinegar or lime juice and water. Cut chicken into sizes you desire.

  2. In a blender, add your escallion and thyme, ginger, garlic, pimento seeds, a tablespoon o vegetable oil, scotch bonnet pepper and onion and blend until smooth. Add this to your chicken then massage it in. Now, add ½ packs of both Maggie seasonings to the chicken and rub it as well. Cover with cling wrap and set aside to marinate for at least 2 hours.

  3. Once your chicken as marinated for a while, add two cups of flour and the remaining Maggie seasonings (you can also add some paprika seasoning at this point) to a Ziploc or any plastic bag. Shake the bag well to evenly distribute the seasonings then add your pieces of chicken. Close and shake the bag well, ensure that every inch of the chicken pieces are well coated.

  4. In a Dutch pot, add enough oil to cover your chicken at least half way then allow it to get hot. To the oil, add a few pimento seeds, a spring of thyme and a whole scotch bonnet pepper. You will know when the oil is hot enough if you still a wooden spoon handle into the pot and see small bubbles form around it. Add your chicken to the pot, do not overcrowd the pot, fry in batches if there is not enough space.

  5. Depending on the size of your chicken it may take 30 to 45 minutes to fry a batch, flipping every 10 to 15 minutes.

  6. You will know your chicken is ready when it is crisp, deep golden brown and juices run clear.

Serve your Jamaican Fried Chicken with whatever side you want!

I love my fried chicken with some Jamaican Rice and Peas or even some Callaloo rice. But its fried chicken, so it's perfect with just about everything. What do you enjoy it with?

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References & Sources For Jamaican Fried Chicken

  1. How To Tell If Fried Chicken Is Done - Small Diner. https://smalldiner.com/how-to-tell-if-fried-chicken-is-done/
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