History of Jamaican cuisine. Jamaica, like many of the Caribbean islands, has a unique flavor profile in numerous of it’s dishes. Heavily influenced by African, east indian, chinese and spanish culture is what makes Jamaican cuisine what it is today. A favorite dish served at most festivities in Jamaica is curry goat. The spice which is known as curry was originally called “kari” in Indian which means sauce.
Curry was introduced in the 17th century when east Indian indentured servants were brought throughout Caribbean. Curry a unique combination of spices, which includes ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and hot chillies has paired nicely with spices found on many of the Carribean Islands. Tyme, bay leaf, pimento berries(all spice) and scotch bonnet peppers has allowed us to take east indian curry and make it a west indian favorite. Escovitch also known as escabeche or ceviche( in South America) is a dish influenced by the Spaniards that explored throughout the Caribbean Islands along with south & central america. Escovitch is a process in which fried fish is doused in a vinegar marinade.
The process of pickling was used by spanish conquistadors (sailors) to preserve the fish they caught while on their voyages to the western hemisphere. The process was introduced in the late 1400’s to the Arawak indians. Eventually once the negroes began to populate the island due to slavery, the fusion of Caribbean spices was married to this dish. Onions, scotch bonnet peppers, pimento berries, carrots, tyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, salt and vinegar make up what we Jamaicans call “Escovitch”. Today you can find this dish throughout all the beaches in Jamaica.