Spicy Jerk Chicken

I worked part-time with a West Indian restaurant back in 2009 to earn extra money for my most awaited wedding in 2010. The owner was an old lady who made fresh roti and curry and whatever kinds of pots and pans she and her only full-time cook used went through my hands for washing.  She was kind and understanding, however, her daughter was a major bitch I had to deal with on an almost daily basis. She managed the finances so I was guessing it went with her role in the small, family operated business. Her only son knew what I was going through and helped me during closing time; such a contrast of personalities.

The pay was meager, but I was paid in cash. As the days went by, I noticed that she kept on giving me additional workload on my already cramped ‘things to do’ list. Initially, I agreed to work the dish pit and that was about it.  I just kept quiet up until I had saved enough to shoulder whatever other miscellaneous expenses had had to be paid for for the coming ‘big day.’ Moreover, the smell of curry was horrendous, and no matter how much food she gave me after every shift, they all went to the garbage. I really wouldn’t have minded having those freebies for dinner, but the restaurant was festered with night crawlers and that gave me the creeps.

Of course, I was in-charge of cleaning the restaurant; the crappers and all the other filth that  disgusting restaurant produced literally from top to bottom (wiped the ceiling fan & cleaned the storage room in the basement).  After quitting, my ‘uniform’ (an old pair of shoes, jeans & shirt) also went into the garbage. Yes, it was that nasty. I can just imagine other ethnic, hole-in-wall restaurants in and around the city, and what many city dwellers would have had eaten for lunch as take-out.

When I join restaurants for employment, no matter how short or long the stint would have been,  I’d mainly check what they have in-store in their pantries. That place unlocks their ‘secret ingredients’ or actually, no secret at all. For this one, curry in commercial containers and ghee were the major ingredients.  I also noticed jars of Jerk Spice which when I first arrived here, was a relatively new kind of spice mixture.  I’ve never heard of Jerk in the first place. When I tasted the marinade, I was overwhelmed with the amount of spices and heat that emanated from the mixture and which were totally different from Southeast Asian types of marinade. Unfortunately, this restaurant, to cut corners, bought ready-made Jerk Spice, and it was noticeable when mixed with the Chicken Thighs.  I, myself, mixed the marinade even if it was not my duty to do so. I only had about four hours a day, and about three times a week, to complete my dish pit duties and that extra ‘duty’ consumed what little time I had. Of course, I also had to clean the mess-bitches.

Ingredients:

Meat:

  • 2-3 pcs. Chicken Thighs & Wings
  • Canola Oil
  • Vinegar

Aromatics & Herbs: to taste

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • White Onion
  • Green Onion
  • Thyme

Spices: to taste

  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Bird’s Eye Chilis
  • Brown Sugar
  • All-Spice
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne Pepper

Combine canola oil aromatics, herbs and spices in a blender and zap to a paste.  Adjust the consistency with water. Mix the paste with the meat portions in either a mixing bowl or a plastic bag, and marinate overnight to a day.

Insert in a 350’C preheated oven; checking the doneness of the thighs and wings every now and then.

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4 thoughts on “Spicy Jerk Chicken

  1. Most of the time we don’t realize what’s behind every restaurants nice dining ambiance. Thanks for sharing us a bit of your kitchen experience and what you’ve learned from them, no wonder they call it Jerk chicken….

  2. This, again, is something new to me. I know beef jerky, which probably is different from this. I’d probably make a version less spicier for the boys.

  3. so sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience; good thing the son wasn’t as unpleasant as the daughter! would love to try your recipe…bookmarked! 🙂

    thanks again for sharing and linking over at Food Friday!
    much appreciated 🙂

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