Essential Jamaican Side Dishes To Try

Posted on: 17 February 2022

You're probably familiar with the most common Jamaican main dishes, such as jerk chicken and ackee with codfish. But what about side dishes? Although side dishes do not always receive the attention and notoriety of entrees, there are lots of great Jamaican sides to be enjoyed. Here are a few to consider ordering the next time you're at a Jamaican restaurant.

Jamaican Steamed Cabbage

Cabbage is quite common in Jamaican cuisine. It's relatively easy to grow, inexpensive, and nutritious. It's often served steamed, and it's traditionally prepared with a variety of quintessential Jamaican spices, including thyme, Scotch Bonnet peppers, and allspice. This side dish is a great one to order with jerk chicken or other heavy entrees as it's not overly filling, but still very flavorful.

Jamaican Callaloo

Callaloo is a leafy, green vegetable similar to spinach or kale. It's really common across the Caribbean, but especially in Jamaica. It's usually cooked, which makes its tough ribs much easier to chew than if you were to eat it raw. Jamaican callaloo is typically cooked on the stovetop with onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Sometimes it is served like this as a side dish. Other times, fish is added to make the dish into an entree. As a fish-free side, however, Jamaican callaloo is an excellent choice for those on a vegetarian diet.

Jamaican Rice and Peas

If you see rice and peas on a menu at a Jamaican restaurant, you may expect to be served a bowl of white rice and green peas. But this is not what the dish actually is. In Jamaica, the word "peas" refers to what's known in the continental United States as kidney beans. The dish is made from these large, red beans and medium-grain rice. It's seasoned with traditional Jamaican spices, including allspice, thyme, and Scotch bonnet peppers. Jamaican rice and peas is a great side to order with any saucy entree, as you can use the rice to mop up the sauce.

Jamaican Fried Dumplings

Many cultures make a version of dumplings, and Jamaica is no exception. Jamaican dumplings are lightly sweetened, but not overly sweet. They're traditionally stuffed with a blend of veggies and spices, and they're fried, not boiled. They make a great side for those who prefer finger food, as the traditional way to eat them is with your fingers.

If you see these sides on the menu at a Jamaican restaurant such as MoBay Grill, order away! A delicious meal awaits.