This Jamaican fried chicken recipe was first written in 2014 following the publication of my first cookbook. Despite frying chicken countless times it never occurred to me that I should include a fried chicken recipe in the book. After all fried chicken is such a common food it never occurred to me that some folks might identify a particular preparation with one culture or another. About a month after the book was released, I asked for feedback on social media and was called out my a loyal customer for not putting a Jamaican fried chicken recipe in the book. So I set about remedying that. And that is how the recipe below came to be. Since then this post has been updated a couple times. The recipe remains unchanged.
What exactly makes Jamaican style fried chicken Jamaican anyway?
Jamaican style fried chicken gets it’s unique flavor from the use of allspice (pimento) berries in the seasoning. Pimento gives a strong, flavorful, aromatic taste to meats. Whether your seasoning comes from the pantry or the pack allspice is a must for authentic Jamaican Fried Chicken and most other meats we cook. The pimento tree is native to Jamaica so it all makes sense when you think about it. Some folks apply a coating of egg and seasoned flour or breadcrumbs to the chicken before frying. I skip the egg and opt instead for a good dusting of flour. Breadcrumbs adds extra crunch and flavor.
Fried Chicken, Jamaican Style
- 4 lbs chicken, any mix of chicken parts
- *2 tsp salt
- *2 tsp black pepper
- *1 tsp ground allspice, 10 berries crushed
- *1 tsp grated ginger, ½ tsp powder
- 2 cloves garlic sliced thin
- 2 C flour optional see note below
- 1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper for frying
- **Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 1 sm 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- Wash chicken in vinegar and cold water. Drain water from chicken. Transfer chicken to a clean dry bowl. Mix chicken with all ingredients except flour, onion, hot pepper and oil. Marinate for 2 – 24 hours in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to cook; Remove chicken from refrigerator. Stir chicken well. Roll each piece of chicken in flour until well coated and place on a flat plate. Heat oil in pan over med – high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add whole pepper to the oil. pierce with a fork if you want it to be spicy.
- Place chicken side-by- side in pan and reduce heat to medium. Fry chicken for 8 to 10 minutes before turning. Fry until chicken is completely golden and crispy on all sides. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towel.
To make gravy
- Combine onion with 1 TB leftover flour mixture and 2 TB C. water in a small saucepan. Stir well to form a paste. Stir in reserved chicken seasoning. Rinse the bowl with a bit of water and add to saucepan. Place sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir often to prevent lumps. Add any combination of thyme, tomatoes, or garlic to the gravy for added flavor. Boil for 7 to 10 minutes until gravy thickens.