Spice up your taco dinner with this Jamaican Jerk Chicken Taco with Mole and Fried Plantains recipe and transport yourself to the island of no worries.
I have several worry free memories attached to the island of Jamaica, which makes obvious sense, I mean it’s Jamaica, and I’m not the only one because the locals have deemed their home the island of “no worries.” Basically, you should book your trip now…
One such memory, link to food, I actually mentioned in this post. I’d made an Indian dish that reminded me of a trip when I was there once for business, yes business!
One of my favorite and also the sweetest of these memories is from a time when I was there doing mission work with my church. I had spent the day with several of my team at a local Jamaican church, situated in the middle of the island, helping with their Vacation Bible Study. The other portion of our team was working on the construction of a village (yep an entire village) for the deaf to live, that was good ways away from the church.
Well, the other part of our team was supposed to come and pick us up from the church around lunchtime but were so caught up in their work they forgot. Now, this was a time before Smart Phones and International Calling Plans (and before you start to think I’m some old bat I did have a cell phone but not with me on the trip, like I said it was before smartphones).
After some time had passed and no one showed one of the church members was able to reach the kitchen staff of the village where everyone was working and also where we were camping for the week. They quickly, by Jamaican standards (read: not quick at all) said they’d send someone to get us.
The little old woman who ran the kitchen at our site came to get us, but before we went back to join our team she needed to go to the market to pick up some things for dinner that evening and we were going with her.
It turned out to be one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had as we entered what felt like a movie set of this perfect little Jamaican market, certainly not for tourists. The little old cook sternly told us to stay beside her and NOT to look anyone in the eyes.
There were makeshift huts all over the place and peddlers pushing wooden carts all selling their products ranging from flowers to pots to produce. No one was in a hurry but the little market was bustling.
To say my teammates and I stuck out would be a huge understatement and the locals were doing double takes as we walked by as if in confusion as to why we were there because locals we were not. Everyone was friendly, but it was an experience I’ll never forget. This small trip to pick up groceries was far different than the grocery runs I was used to, but it allowed me to see a glimpse a completely different world.
The area in which we were building this village for the deaf was called Shooters Hill, Jamaica and they were known, for one thing, Pick-a-Pepper Sauce! You could find it everywhere and it was always on the table at mealtime. When I arrived back in the States I was thrilled to find the sauce on sale at my own local grocer.
Though going to the grocery store for these ingredients wasn’t nearly as exciting as my trip to the market while in Jamaica, I was still reminded of that memory recently when I saw Pick-a-Pepper Sauce on the shelves.
I knew instantly I needed to create some dish (or maybe dishes…) inspired by that trip so long ago. These tacos actually combine many ingredients I lived off of during that time so I hope you’ll make them and be transported to the island of no worries just as I am.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
- 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley
- 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
- 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 2 teaspoons Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Allspice
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2 tablespoons Pickapeppa Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 lb Chicken Breast cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil divided
- 2 medium Plantains
- 8 Tortillas
- Mix all the Jamaican Jerk seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients for the mole sauce and bring to a boil. Let the sauce continue to boil until it thickens and reduce a bit, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Toss the cut chicken with the jerk seasoning to coat and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. In a single layer place the Plantain slices in the skillet. Cook on each side for 5 minutes.
- To assemble the tacos place the shredded chicken on the tortilla shell and then layer with the plantains and drizzle the mole sauce on top.