You know what all this cold and snow is doing to me?
It’s Jamaican me crazy!
Sorry, I just had to. One of my brothers had that shirt growing up and we would all run around the house screaming “Jamaican Me Crazy”! Really, I just think we were making my mom crazy, but I always say she is the one who signed on to seven kids… plus friends.
But really, this is fun, fresh food in the middle of winter and that is much-needed around here.
Like I have said all week, it has snowed pretty much non-stop since Christmas and if you lost track of time that was over three weeks ago now.
I am still into the snow, but just give me a few more weeks.
Trust me, I will be complaining about it.
All the cold snow has left me wanting tropical foods. I am on a huge tropical kick and if you didn’t know, both plantains and pineapple are winter fruits. Ahh huh. Look it up, it’s true.
So while I am currently going orange and pomegranate crazy over here, I am also into the tropical fruits. Oh, and limes, avocados and cilantro, I cannot seem to stop using these ingredients. Honestly, I use them at least once or twice a day. Addicted.
Also, I think my oldest brother is going to kill me if I try to force him to eat another quinoa dish.
He’s not really into the quinoa or really anything green and colorful. No, he is more into the beige foods, which I personally hate. But mostly only because they are no fun to photograph.
Alright, so here is the deal with this quinoa.
It is like fried rice, but with quinoa, and instead of the traditional Asian flavors, I threw in a big old Jamaican kick. I was going to use shrimp instead of chicken, but I knew in the back of my head that the seafood haters here would throw a hissy fit just like a five-year old. Normally I just make two separate dishes. One with chicken and one with shrimp, but I just did not feel like doing both. So chicken it was.
I gotta say though, I think shrimp would be amazing. Don’t get me wrong, the chicken was really good, but I give all the credit to the seasoning. Ooooh, shrimp with the jerk seasoning would be so good too. Ok, ok – yes, I would have enjoyed seeing how the dish would have turned out with shrimp, but I wouldn’t have had anyone besides myself to eat it!
Next time for sure.
And wow, the fried plantains make this dish.
So incredibly good… and good for you. They are like a less sweet version of a banana and they work incredibly well with these flavors.
Right there is another reason to make this dish.
The best part about this meal is that it is a quick, easy, one-pan meal that comes together in under an hour. And it is pretty healthy too. Swapping the quinoa for rice is good and adds some really awesome texture.
And you know I am a texture freak. So I loved this.
Oh, and if you are worried about too much of a coconut flavor, don’t be. Just leave the toasted coconut out, but use the coconut oil. It really adds no flavor at all.
But do not skip the nuts. The nuts are so good and if macadamia nuts are too expensive use cashews. Cashews would be awesome too.
One last thing, I am thinking that since the Olympics are coming up I would like to start doing a lot more foods from around the world leading up to them. What do you guys think?
Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Fried Plantain and Coconut Macadamia Fried Quinoa.
- Yields: 2-6 DEPENDING ON IF YOU SERVE IT AS A SIDE OR A MAIN
- Cook time: 40 minutes
- Total time: 45 minutes
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 ripe plantains, sliced into rounds
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, divided
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks (or use 1 pound shelled shrimp)
- 2 teaspoons spicy curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 red bell peppers, diced (or 1 orange and 1 red pepper)
- 1 banana pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (use reduce sodium for less salt)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted macadamia nuts
Start by making the quinoa. Add the coconut milk and water to a medium size pot. Bring to a low boil and then add the quinoa. Stir to combine and then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the quinoa to cook on low for 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set aside.
In a medium size bowl add the chicken, curry powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ketchup and molasses. Toss well to coat and set aside.
In a heavy large skillet or wok melt 1/4 cup of the coconut oil on medium-high heat. Make sure the coconut oil completely covers the bottom of the pan, if not add more until it does.
When a drop of water sizzles in the oil, add the plantain slices and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip slices over and brown on the other side until slightly beginning to caramelize, another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and place the plantains on a paper towel to drain off excess oil. Set aside.
If needed add 1 tablespoon more coconut oil to the skillet. Add the red bell peppers, banana peppers and pineapple. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the red pepper is seared and the pineapple slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and ginger and toss for 30 seconds or so, being careful not to let burn. Remove the veggies + pineapple from the pan and place on a plate.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Grab the chicken and toss in the skillet in a single layer. Stir fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is crisped and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and add to the plate of veggies. If needed add another tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the eggs and season with pepper. Stir the eggs constantly and cook until almost set but still moist, then transfer egg to a bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the pan and about half of the quinoa. Toss to coat, then add in the remaining quinoa, tossing once again. Cook for about 3 minutes, tossing often, until warmed through.
Add the orange juice, soy sauce and lime juice, and toss. Cook for another 3 minutes, until the quinoa has browned sufficiently. Add the veggies, pineapple and chicken back in and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and toss in the toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and chopped cilantro. Serve hot and garnish with chopped green onions.
I hear the French like a ton of chocolate and bread. Sounds pretty good to me.