In the Caribbean most people like their food with a kick- that means HOT and flavorful spices. Jerk and hot sauces have helped to define the cuisine of the region, however, peppery hot foods have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. Long before the ancient Greeks and Romans gave monetary value to peppercorns (they were used to pay fines, rent and taxes and to buy and free slaves), the South American Indians were eating fiery hot wild chiles. Chiles were eaten in Mexico, Brazil and Peru 6,000 years before the birth of Christ and were one of the first domesticated plants in the New World. Peppers, hot and sweet, pack a wallop of vitamin C, and are a good source for vitamin A and potassium.
SIZE MATTERS: The smaller the pepper, the hotter the taste. Use the width, not the length, as your guide......aaahem......
SIMMER DOWN: Sprinkle fresh lime or lemon juice on hot, spicy food to simmer it down.
COOL IT: To douse the flames in your mouth after a spicy encounter: have some milk, yogurt, or a starch like rice or bread. Some people also swear by salt, orange juice, tomato juice or a Red Stripe here in Jamaica;-)
STAY COOL: I always use disposable rubber gloves when handling peppers.
JERK CHICKEN STYLE SPRING ROLLS
2 LBS. boneless chicken breast
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. jerk seasoning
1 T. black sesame seeds
1 med carrot shredded
2 ounces green onions
6 ounces mixed baby greens (I like arugula)
a bunch of mint leaves
8 round sheets of rice paper
luke warm water
3 ounces rice vinegar
pinch of sugar
1) Marinade chicken with pepper and jerk seasoning over night
2)Cook chicken on a grill(7-8 minutes) or in the oven (8-10 minutes at 350 F) Once chicken is cooked, allow to rest before cutting it into thin strips, then set aside.
3)In a large bowl, add 2 cups of luke warm water, 3 ounces rice wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Place rice paper inside the warm water removing when soft. Lay the wet rice paper on a damp towel, wiping away any excess water.
4)Lay a single sheet of damp rice paper flat. In center, place a few leaves of greens, two or three mint leaves, shredded carrots, green onions, and the strips of jerk chicken. Flap one side of the rice paper over and roll.
*Easy recipe and the rice paper is very easy to work with
Spicy Mango &Mint Sauce
2 mangoes-peeled and diced
pinch of salt
4T canola or grapeseed oil
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, de-seeded *remember your gloves!!
or substitute 1/2tsp dried chili flakes
Saute diced fresh mango with a pinch of salt in a sauce pan thinly coated in oil. Cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes. Puree mango in a blender then pass through a strainer before adding finely chopped scotch bonnet pepper/substitute chili flakes and julienne mint.
I took classes in Seattle at Uwajimaya, in the 1980's, learned to make spring Rolls and other Asian influenced dishes. But, in recent years, my children are the ones that opened up my eyes to Spring Rolls! Enjoy!