The saucy seasoning mixture that adds spark to Jamaican-style "jerk" meats and poultry is a uniquely Caribbean blend of spicy, sweet and hot. For a healthy varied meal, we've added skewers of capsicum, pineapple and spring onions to the dish.
1 tablespoon ground allspice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 large pickled jalapeño or 1-2 sliced jalapeños, finely chopped, or to taste
¼ cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons soft brown sugar
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
4 skinless chicken breast fillets (about 150 g each)
8 spring onions
2 large red capsicums, seeded and cut into 24 chunks
24 canned pineapple pieces in natural juice
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Soak eight bamboo skewers in cold water to prevent them from burning under the grill. Combine the allspice, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, vinegar, brown sugar, oil, pepper and salt in large bowl.
Measure out 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture and set aside. Add the chicken to the mixture remaining in the bowl and turn to coat on all sides. Refrigerate for 1 hour. (Don't leave the chicken any longer than 1 hour or the marinade will start to break down the fibre of the chicken.)
Trim the spring onions, leaving just a small portion of tender green. Cut each spring onion into three pieces. Preheat the grill to moderate. On each of the skewers, alternately thread 3 pieces of spring onion, 3 pieces of capsicum and 3 pieces of pineapple.
Lift the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken on the grill and cook, turning once, for 10–15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile, brush the reserved 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture over the skewers, then place them on the grill. Cook, turning once for 5–10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but still retain some crunch. Serve the chicken with the vegetable skewers.
Some more ideas…
• Look for jalapeños with the other Mexican foods in your supermarket. They are quite fiery, so use your discretion when handling them and adding them to the dish. You can also substitute other hot chillies; in fact, Scotch bonnet chillies are traditional. • Serve with mixed rice. Choose whatever types of rice you like, such as long-grain white rice and wild rice, and cook according to the packet instructions – wild rice takes a lot longer to cook than white rice, so will probably need to be cooked separately.
Learning to cook with spices is a heart-smart way of reducing the need for oil and salt in many recipes. Some spices, such as ginger and garlic, also contain cardio-protective anti-oxidants that provide additional health benefits.