The Jamaican Melting Pot – Out Of Many, One Cuisine

Chinese heritage

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The Chinese represent a very small proportion of the Jamaican population, nevertheless, their impact has been great. The first Chinese arrived in 1849, brought in as indentured labourers to work on the sugar estates following the the emancipation of the slaves. Apart from the development of commerce, the popularity of Chinese food among Jamaicans is a lasting contribution to the island.

Chow Mein

  • 225g dried or fresh egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil, plus 1 tsp
  • 100g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into fine shreds
  • 2½ tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g mangetout, finely shredded
  • 50g Parma ham or cooked ham, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped

For the marinade

  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper

Method

  1. Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 3-5 mins, then drain and put them in cold water. Drain thoroughly, toss them with 1 tbsp of the sesame oil and set aside.
  2. Combine the chicken with all the marinade ingredients and ½ tsp salt, mix well and then leave to marinate for about 10 mins.
  3. Heat a wok over a high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken shreds. Stir-fry for about 2 mins and then transfer to a plate. Wipe the wok clean. Reheat the wok until it is very hot, then add the remaining groundnut oil. When the oil is slightly smoking, add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 secs. Then add the mangetout and ham, and stir-fry for about 1 min.
  4. Add the noodles, soy sauces, rice wine or Sherry, pepper, sugar, spring onions and 1 tsp salt. Stir-fry for 2 mins. Return the chicken and any juices to the noodle mixture. Stir-fry for about 3-4 mins or until the chicken is cooked. Add 1 tsp sesame oil and give the mixture a few final stirs. Put on a warm platter and serve immediately.

Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com

Click here to read more about Chinese-Jamaican food.