Jerk Chow Mein
The history of the Chinese diaspora in relation to the Caribbean is an interesting one
- 2 bunches spring onions, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, stalks removed and de-seeded (use gloves or take care not to touch your eyes after handling!)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 2 tsps freshly ground all spice
- 2 tsps fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsps coarse salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 225g protein (thinly sliced pork loin, beef sirloin, chicken thigh or firm tofu)
- Natural oil
- 225g sturdy vegetables (such as cauliflower, broccoli, baby pak choi or mangetout), cut into small pieces
In a food processor, combine the spring onions, garlic, Scotch bonnets, ginger, paprika, brown sugar, allspice, thyme, salt, black pepper and nutmeg and blend to a paste. Set aside. If using meat rather than tofu, coat it lightly with about a tablespoon of the jerk sauce and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to 24 hours.
Blanch or cook the noodles according to the packet instructions (see note); drain and set aside. Coat a wok with neutral oil and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the meat or tofu and the vegetables and stir-fry until the vegetables start to char and the meat is almost cooked through, three to four minutes, depending on your wok’s heat. Add the noodles and the jerk sauce and toss until everything is evenly mixed and coated and the meat is fully cooked through, about one minute longer. Serve.
Note: fresh (i.e., not dried) chow mein noodles are generally sold in two forms: steamed or raw. If they say steamed on the packet and/or have no cooking directions, they just need to be blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds and drained before they’re pan-fried in your dish. If the packet says raw, follow the cooking instructions on the packet before pan-frying.