"If you have a conversation with Jamaican people, you can't not talk about food," write brothers Craig and Shaun McAnuff in their new book, Orignal FLAVA: Caribbean Recipes from Home. The book chronicles, through stories and recipes, the pair's dive into the home of their heritage: the island of Jamaica.
"Everyone knows about food in Jamaica, even little kids. It's a way of life... The people may not have a million pounds but they see life positively. The sun's shining, they've got food to eat. If you have a good meal it puts you in a good mood. Eating is making good times and good vibes. That's an attitude anyone can share."
Raised in a Caribbean family in London, the brothers gained much of their love of island food from their Jamaican born Nan, who also features in the book. It was a video of one of their Nan's recipes that started popular YouTube channel and she occasionally features on their Instagram account too.
"Jamaican food is so vibrant, lively, exciting and full of influences from different cultures that make the island so wonderful," they write (their trip, and the book, explore everything from street food to vegan dishes inspired by the Rasta lifestyle, such as the plantain and chickpea curry below). "You look at it, you smell it, you want to eat it! Most important of all is the togetherness it brings - the same happiness we have with our family."
Here's a taste of Original FLAVA:
A thick and flavaful curry, this is one of our most-loved vegan dishes when we do food events – people always come back for more.
If you haven’t tried Caribbean food before, curry goat has to be one of the first on the list. You won’t regret it. You can use either boneless goat or on the bone – we recommend with bone, to add flavour. If you really can’t find goat, you can use mutton.
This deep-fried flatbread is a Caribbean favourite. With our vegan-friendly chana (chickpea) curry and cucumber chutney, it is heaven on a plate.
Jamaica’s national dish and one of our faves. Eat with some fried dumpling pon di side!
Recipes and images from Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes from Home by Craig and Shaun McAnuff (Bloomsbury, HB, $49.99).
Want to discover more of Jamaica? Join Rohan Marley, son of legendary musician Bob Marley, as he reconnects with his roots and goes on a road trip to explore the food and music of his native Jamaica, from Kingston to Montego Bay. Watch Taste of Marley 4.30pm weekdays from Monday 23 September on SBS Food Channel 33, then on SBS On Demand.
Indulgent and highly addictive, these fried dumplings are a staple of the Caribbean plate – warm and crunchy, yet soft in the middle. They’re also one of our favourite things to eat all day, every day, with everything.
This Caribbean version of the pork slider cooks low and slow. They may be almost a day in the making, but they're down the hatch in seconds!
Ginger is one of the world’s most ubiquitous spices, used fresh in Chinese, Korean and Indian cuisines, pickled and served with sushi, and added to cakes, biscuits and marinades in its dried powder form. For this rich Jamaican cake, both fresh and dried ginger are used.
In Jamaica, avocados (which are sometimes referred to as alligator pears) are commonly eaten with a hard, sweet bread known as bulla, as well as made into a chilled soup. Perhaps a little more unusually, they are also used to make ice-cream. The creamy, delicate flavour works surprisingly well, especially with the addition of lime juice to cut through the richness.