Ever since we came back from our Winter holiday last month, Mr Mayhem and I have been trying to make the most out of the remaining Australian summer. This includes eating on our rooftop patio every night we can, hosting outdoor dinner parties, and barbecuing up a storm of course. I ♥ summer. We were starting to run out of BBQ recipe ideas when my honey suggested we try and make ‘jerk chicken’ last week. It’s one of his favorite options when we visit our local street food market so he was curious to see if we could reproduce it (or at least something close to it) at home.
I’m not going to lie, my first idea was to simply head to the supermarket and buy ready-made jerk seasoning but, as it turns out, it wasn’t an option as they didn’t have any. Boo. So I set out to make my own marinade instead, which thankfully turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. Sure there are a lot of ingredients involved but basically all you have to do is put them all in a blender and bam! you’ve got yourself a delicious marinade. And trust me, the end result is totally worth it.
I took inspiration from a lot of different recipes, namely this one and this one, before coming up with the final version below. I replaced the traditional scotch bonnet chilies (as I couldn’t find any) with red chili and also adjusted the rest of the ingredients’ list slightly. We also cooked it on the BBQ instead of over smoking chips.
The smell of the chicken cooking on the BBQ was ah-ma-zing. Between the cinnamon, citrus and ginger…it was the most intoxicating aroma! And it tasted as good as it smelled too. I mean, I won’t pretend that it was as good/authentic as what you would get from a Caribbean kitchen but it was still pretty delicious nonetheless. The chicken was both sweet and spicy and I wanted to lick every single drop of charred marinade off my fingers! I also thought the fresh mango salsa I made on the side added a nice freshness to the whole dish but you could serve it with yummy ‘rice and peas’ instead if you prefer. The chicken is the real star here so no matter what you serve it with it will be delicious!
Happy barbecuing x
Jerk Chicken With Mango Salsa (serves 4)
1 large chicken cut into 8 pieces (or any pieces of chicken of your choice)
For the Marinade
3 spring (green) onions, sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 small piece of ginger (approx 2 cm), peeled and sliced
1 large red chili, roughly chopped (or either an habanero/jalepeno/or scotch bonnet chili if you can find them where you live)
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbs of fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbs light brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp all spice powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated black pepper
For the mango salsa
2 mangoes, diced, (choose mangoes that are ripe but still firm so that they don’t fall part)
2 spring onions, finely sliced (white and light green part only)
1 red chili, finely sliced
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbs fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
To make the marinade: put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until pureed.
In a large shallow dish, coat the chicken with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours (minimum 2 hours).
Half an hour before cooking the chicken, make the mango salsa by combining all of the ingredients into a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge until the chicken is ready to serve.
To cook the chicken: pre-heat your BBQ grill to medium heat. Place the chicken on the grill and brush with marinade. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, flipping the pieces half way through. Brush with more marinade and turn the heat down to low. Close the lid of the BBQ and leave the chicken to cook for a further 10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and leave it to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve topped with mango salsa.
ps. If you don’t have a grill then you can bake the chicken in the oven instead.