Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas

Inspired by the time I spent travelling in Jamaica recently, I had a go at making my own jerk chicken with rice and peas.
There are lots of different recipes for jerk chicken, most of which include rum. I eventually settled upon one I found on the SAVEUR website (dedicated to world food).
I made a fresh jerk marinade using a never-ending list of ingredients including light brown sugar, all spice, scallions (I used onions instead), peanut oil, ground black pepper, salt, fresh ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, garlic and scotch bonnet chillies.
I mixed all the ingredients together to form a sticky, brown marinade, which I poured over the chicken. You need to allow this to chill for at least 6 hours prior to cooking, but I left mine overnight to make sure the marinade soaked
right into the chicken. Marinating the chicken beforehand might seem like a chore, but it’s essential if you want the ingredients to really soak into the chicken – and it does save time when it comes to cooking the dish!
The jerk chicken I ate in Jamaica was either sold at the roadside grilled over charcoal in a steel drum jerk pan, or cooked in a restaurant or cafe over an open pit fire, known as a ‘jerk pit’. Unfortunately I don’t have a jerk pan or open pit fire, so I made do with my oven.
My jerk chicken wasn’t too bad at all. It does look pretty burnt in the photo, but that was just the excess marinade on top of the chicken, which was easily removed. Leaving the chicken to marinate overnight definitely helped to create flavour, although the jerk chicken in ate in Jamaica was far more tasty. There’s something special about food cooked over fire or charcoal.
Rice and peas are eaten just about everywhere in Jamaica, making for a cheap and filling accompaniment to any meal. The rice is cooked with creamed coconut or coconut milk and kidney beans (ie. ‘peas’), before being seasoned with a selection of herbs and spices, often including thyme. I used a recipe from, a website/blog written by Jamaican mother-daughter duo, Fay and Angela.
Although my rice and peas certainly looked the part, they were slightly on the stodgy side (I always manage to overcook rice!) and somewhat lacking in flavour – not like the rice and peas I’d tasted in Jamaica!
Still, at least my jerk chicken was a success! Have you ever made your own jerk chicken? What ingredients do you like to use?
Mix it up
You could make this dish using meat or fish instead of chicken. I tried jerk pork and jerk shrimps when I was in Negril, and I can happily vouch for both!


  1. Lorraine
    September 3, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    That looks like a good recipe to try out for a weekend meal with the boyfriend. We tried Jamaican food and he absolutely loved the jerk chicken so worth a try making this for him.

    • September 3, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      Give it a go, it’s really nice 🙂

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