August 6th is Jamaican Independence Day so it’s only right for me to give you my famous Crispy Microwave Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe. The people of the Caribbean island of Jamaica have celebrated this day since 1958 when they gained independence from the United Kingdom. “Jerk” is a Jamaican style of cooking whereby meat, usually chicken or pork is marinated in a very spicy blend of peppers and herbs. The main ingredients are the ultra hot Scotch Bonnet peppers and Pimento seeds. These are usually combined with cloves, cinnamon, “scallion” / spring onion, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt.
According to historical records, Jerk was the creation of a group of escaped African slaves in Jamaica, who had fled from their Spanish captors in around 1665 when the British invaded. They settled in the mountainous parts of Jamaica’s interior to live amongst the indigenous Taíno people to avoid further persecution from the British. In order to preserve their meat they came up with a method of smoking it over a pimento wood ground fire. As time went by and slavery was outlawed in Jamaica, the method evolved to make use of a more portable, charcoal burning oil barrel barbecue. Known as the Jerk Drum this is now the most popular way to cook authentic Jamaican Jerk dishes.
This microwave jerk chicken recipe takes the Jamaican tradition right up into the new millennium allowing you to enjoy delicious tasting jerk chicken without the flames, the coal, the ash, the smoke and (admittedly some of the fun but not all.) within the comfort of your own kitchen. All it takes is a little rubbing of Jerk Seasoning (I always use Dunn’s River Jamaican Jerk Seasoning). What may surprise you about this dish is that the chicken actually comes out crispy. This is due to the glass dish reflecting or convecting heat escaping from the cooking meat back down onto the skin of the chicken. This heat convection process causes a maillard reaction and thus the pleasingly brown and crispy skin.
- 1 small to medium sized (depending on quantity) microwave safe, glass, Pyrex or ceramic dish
- Three to six pieces of chicken (Drumsticks, thighs, wings, or breasts - whatever you want)
- 1 tablespoon per piece of chicken of Jerk Seasoning (Use Dunns River, Walkers Wood or any other brand as long as it comes in a jar)
Select your microwave oven's power to get the correct timing
Total Cooking Time = 6 mins, 0 secs
- Clean the chicken pieces with water and then rub the jerk seasoning into them with well by hand.
- Place the chicken pieces into the dish and cover with a lid. The dish should be large enough so that a good amount of space is left above the chicken once the lid goes on.
- Allow to marinate in the fridge overnight for best results or at least for half an hour. (Use this time to cook a side dish of microwave Jamaican rice and peas)
- Put the covered dish in the microwave on full power for 3 minutes. Remove and then turn each piece of chicken over and cook on full power for a further three minutes.
- The chicken should be a dark brown colour with a slightly crispy skin. If required cook for another minute and a half.
To Serve Crispy Microwave Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican Microwave Jerk Chicken goes well with rice and peas or plain rice. Jamaican's also love to eat Jerk chicken with side dishes of fried plantain, fried bammy (casava flour flat bread), fried dumplings, festival (sweet fried dumplings) and Guiness punch all of which, as far as I know cannot be cooked in the microwave.
Crispy Microwave Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tips
If you find the meat too spicy or indeed not spicy enough then adjust the amount of jerk seasoning accordingly.