In which there is much pain (Jamaican Jerk Paste)

So this is one of the recipes I’d written up but lost in the break-in – thus no idea how many recipes were left after this one and no photos 😦 I do know it was the last one in the queue for the Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades section (huzzah!)  I’ll try to recreate it as best I can.

I’d say something stupid about this being a 5 pepper spicy recipe, but there’s 10 habañero peppers in this one.

I know, I cut them up myself.

This is a spicy recipe – have milk at the ready to drink, starts with a quick burst spicy pain, and it just lingers, spicy. Check the skin under your lower lip where the paste touched to see if it’s turning colors ’cause it’s still tingling hours later spicy. So much so that I’m not even going to recommend ways to make it milder for those that don’t like all the spicy – it would just be a futile endeavor. Don’t like spicy? Please, please, skip making this one. Adam and I like the spicy food.  Originally, i.e. when we started dating, I had a much higher tolerance for spicy pain goodness then Adam.  Annnnnd then he went to Peace Corp. Yeah, when Adam ‘I’ve been in the Peace Corp in the Caribbean’ thinks a recipe is bordering on too spicy, you know it’s spicy.

Adam’s Peace Corp post was in Suriname. Live in the jungle on the Caribbean coast, food traditions from Hindustani, Javanese, and African-creole, Peace Corp. His tolerance for spicy food is much, much higher than mine now. One time while down there, he chopped up some mystery peppers from the bush in his front yard. Washed the knife, washed the cutting board, washed his hands. And then did what he always did after washing his hands. Ran his palms down his face, from forehead to chin.

He says the burning in his eyes stopped after about 36 hours.

Yeah, I did something similar the night of making this paste.

Let’s just say it wasn’t my eyes. Somewhere a lot more intimate. The second after I did that, Adam and I look at each other in this sort of half horrified, half amused ‘did I/you really just do that’ kind of way and I spent the next ten minutes alternating between crying from laughing at my own stupidity and from owie while pouring milk over my skin to try and wash off the capsaicin.

When the universe uses that large a clue bat, even I notice, Captain Obliviousness me.

This recipe is getting recycled out of spite.


(Adam: Aw, I liked this one! And do recommend it for anyone who likes really spicy food.)

(Laura: Fine, fine… we can keep it.)

(Adam: Glee!)

Jamaican Jerk Paste

adapted from Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition
1 1/4 cups

Originally the recipe calls for fresh lime juice – I used the bottled lemon juice we have in the house. I don’t think it decreased the spicy level.
I also omitted the optional orange juice, because, well, orange juice gives me migraines.

  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 10 habañero peppers
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Purèe all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until the mixture has the consistency of thick tomato sauce. If necessary, thin with additional lemon juice or vinegar.

I used it to top grilled chicken and it was tasty. You could also use it on a pork chop.

One more warning: this is “Not-for-the-faint-of-heart” spicy. If you do not enjoy fire-hot spicy food, DO NOT EAT THIS. Please, you will regret your actions.


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