Sunyatta's Secret Jamaican Recipes


The history of the beloved Jamaican Patty reveals much about the circular natures of cuisine. We can begin with the MOST essential ingredient of modern Jamaican food and a pepper native only to Jamaica– Taino Pepper. This sweet and very hot pepper is often referred to by the colonizer name of Scotch Bonnet Peppers. 

In the 17th Century many Cornish ships and sailors were involved in the triangle of routes between England, East Africa and the Caribbean for the trade in spices, slaves and sugar etc. This colonization is still reflected today in Jamaican place names such as Cornwall County, Falmouth, and Trelawney Parish

When these sailors from Cornwall, England arrived to set up their colonies in Jamaica, they brought the “Pasty” with them. They learned this style of  “hand-pie” filled with vegetables, fruits or meats from the African Moors of Spain and Morocco hundreds of years earlier. 

But it was enslaved ingenious West African chefs who took the British Pasty and by using local ingredients, herbs and spices like allspice and vastly improved this handheld food– perfect for eating quickly when working or walking. Subsequently Chinese and Indian indentured workers who travelled to the Caribbean to work following the abolition of slavery influenced the popular treat by making more available spices like curry and turmeric. The vibrant colour of a patty’s crust is due to the use of ground annatto and turmeric.

Jamaicans brought recipes for the patties northward in the 1960s and 1970s when many immigrated to the United States and the UK. Patties are now ubiquitous and can be found everywhere from corner stores to school cafeterias.



The Filling

  • 1 pound of veggie meatless meat (I like Field Roast Chef's Signature Burgers or meaty mushrooms or mixed vegetables.. all pan-fried and well drained/patted dry.
  • 2 tablespoon avocado oil or extra virgin coconut oil (rich in lauric acid which boosts the immune system and fights infections, boosts energy levels)
  • 1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow onion (rich source of anti-oxidants, good for your joints, bones, and heart, powerful anti-microbial food)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (stabilizes blood sugar, protects against heart disease, rich source of anti-oxidants)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (rich in disease fighting anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory substances)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (prevents gas, anti-cancer food)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (rich in vitamins A and C, great pain reliever and boosts circulation)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (rich in vitamins A and C, great pain reliever and boosts circulation)
  • Coarse sea salt (most natural kind of salt, rich in minerals and electrolytes)
  • 2 larges cloves garlic, minced (Nature's anti-biotic, lowers blood pressure and prevents heart disease, prevents the cold, flu, and stomach cancer, helps body detoxify itself
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (rich in lauric acid which boosts the immune system and fights infections, boosts energy levels)
  • 1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced carrots (rich in vitamin A, prevents colon cancer, great for your eyesight)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas (rich in vitamin K and manganese, great for your heart)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (rich in vitamin C, protects against colon, breast, and prostate cancer, heal stomach ulcers, helps body detoxify itself)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (rich in Vitamin K and iron, great for coughs, congestion, and bronchitis)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (rich in Vitamin C, prevents kidney stones, great for congestion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (great for digestive and circulatory problems, fights arthritis)


  • 2 3/4 cups spelt flour (rich in manganese, prevents heart disease and type 2 diabetes)
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (great for your liver, prevents and treats cancer, boosts your brain power and prevents Alzheimer's disease)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (most natural kind of salt, rich in electrolytes and minerals)
  • 3/4 cup chilled extra virgin coconut oil (rich in lauric acid which boosts the immune system and fights viruses)
  • 2 teaspoons organic apple cider vinegar (great for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, naturally treats diabetes, a great weight loss food)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

In a medium saute pan over medium-low heat, combine the coconut oil, the onion, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, white pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and carrots, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the carrots are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the green peas, cabbage, thyme, and lemon juice, cover, and cook for 3 minutes more.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the spelt flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Set the remaining 1/4 cup spelt flour aside. Add the coconut butter to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertip until the mixture resembles fine sand, about 10 minutes.

Combine the apple cider vinegar and water and mix well. Then, without overworking the dough, add the vinegar mixture by the tablespoon, while stirring, just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and begins to coalesce. Squeeze into a tight ball, flatten, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

With the reserved flour, lightly dust a clean surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut six 6-inch circles from the dough (you can use a bowl). Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the center of one side of each circle, leaving about a 1/8-inch border. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon, press to seal, and make ridges around the edge using a fork.

Transfer the patties to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Enjoy!


This beloved drink is a modern take on traditional African hibiscus ginger tea, and revitalizes the mind, body and soul. In fact, the color red is often associated with ancestral reverence in West African traditions. This ubiquitous elixir remains popular as it links our present to our past through food memories.

Sorrel is known by many names throughout Africa, and the Diaspora: bissap in Senegal, rosella in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, karkade in Egypt, agua fresca de jamaica in Central America, and vinagreira in Brazil. Hibiscus is also highly prized for its ability to detox, relieve sudden pain and stress, reduce inflammation and regulate blood pressure and body temperatures.

Over the last 15 years or so, traditional hibiscus iced teas have been gaining in popularity. This is largely an effect of Jamaican restaurants popularizing sorrel, and thereby returning this healthful beverage to many people of African descent living all over North America.

Organic hibiscus flowers are direct from our farmer friends at The FarmUpJamaica Co-operative

  • 1 gallon water
  • ½ bag Calabash Jamaican Ginger Sorrel Blend
  • Fresh raw cane juice, turbinado raw sugar or agave, optional, to taste
  • Fresh mint sprigs, preferably mojito or fresh basil leaves, preferably African Blue Basil or Thai, to serve (optional)

Let’s Do It!

In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a vigorous boil. Add the Jamaican Ginger Sorrel Blend

Stir and bring back to a rolling boil for 15 minutes. The liquid will reduce a bit.

Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for at least 15 and up to 30 minutes. The longer the drink steeps, the deeper red and more flavorful it will become. Stir well and strain the drink through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-gallon pitcher.

While the drink is still warm, add fresh raw cane juice, turbinado raw sugar or agave, if using, to taste, stirring until it is well blended or dissolved. (The amount of sweetener will vary depending on the type and your taste; Start with a little and taste until it’s to your liking.)

Refrigerate until well chilled, if serving cold, at least 1 hour. Stir well before serving, and pour into ice-filled Mason jars or glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs, basil or African Blue Basil, if using. The drink is also delectable and very stress-soothing when served hot, if preferred.

Jerk Kabob Recipe

Cut your favorite veggies into 2"x 2" cubes/rectangles

Our family uses:

Heirloom tomatoes - rich in lycopene is an antioxidant that belongs to the carotenoid group. It's found in high amounts in red and pink fruits.

Green zucchini and yellow squash - brimming with vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Also offers carotenoids—specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. These help shield our skin from UV rays and pollution—according to scientific studies—and also may slow skin aging by helping to keep skin hydrated and elastic.

Onions - Immune system booster, loaded with antioxidants and helps control blood sugar

Shiitake Mushrooms - rich in potassium & they help lower cholesterol. I like these mushrooms better than portobellos on the grill. Less spongy and lower water content so they firm up in a meaty way.

  • 2-3 wooden or metal skewers for each person dining (I use bamboo sticks)
  • 1 tsp Calabash's Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • 3 dashes Calabash's Chinese 5 STAR seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons lime/ or lemon juice (high in vit. C)
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium version is ok. My favorite is Japanese Raw Shoyu style)
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • Small shareable bowl of Flaked River Salt Celtic for each person to sprinkle on after cooking (high nutrient) 

Combines all jerk sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Build each skewer by pushing it through the center of each vegetable cube. Slide each cube on one at a time. Mix it up & have fun! It's easy to create an edible work of art out of each kabob because the veggie colours are already stunning. PRO-TIP: Make sure to push the skewer AWAY from your hand not toward your palm or fingers. We don't have time to get self-stabbed.

Lay skewers in a long pan (think lasagna pan size). Pour your jerk sauce mix over the veggies and rotate the skewers to coat well.

Heat grill to medium-low; lightly oil grates. Set skewers on grill and cook each side for 5 minutes (there are only 2 sides to the skewer). Let rest 3-4 minutes before serving.



Pickled Pepper Jar

  • Empty mason jar
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Calabash's Pickling Spice Blend 
  • 1-3 Habanero or Scotch Bonnet peppers (anti-inflammation & antioxidant)
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice berries pain relief, digestive aid, nerves & muscle relaxation
  • 1 whole head of garlic - peeled
  • 1/2 C chopped onion or scallion 
  • 5 slices of fresh ginger - peeled
  • Optional- add cucumber (as pictured here) 

Add all items to your jar and fill with apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Close top and label it. Wash hands (pepper warning!). Keep refrigerated.

My grandfather couldn't eat anything without this bottle on the dining table. He like a 1/2 tsp atop his food and would often eat the pepper and veggies from the jar with food as well.