Jamaican Fried Chicken
Testing Kitchen

Testing Kitchen: The JFC Burrito Take 1

The JFC -with JFC standing for Jamaican Fried Chicken- is the first burrito I tasted. I first came in contact with Jerk flavours some time ago, when I did some shifts for The Wrap Game -a street food stall run by Tim James that served a Jerk chicken wrap under the name of The Ragga Wrap. I loved the flavour of those grilled chicken thighs, and with that in mind I made Jerk Chicken for a Taco Night at Hot Milk. People seemed to like it. 

Jamaica came to my life once again during the brief time I worked for En_FOOD in their Caribbean themed pop up. So when I started designing the menu for Cantina Canalla I decided to offer a Jerk Chicken Burrito. 

Listen, you get to know me. I’m famous for making simple things complicated. If you ask any other person to make you a Jerk Chicken Burrito, she will marinate the chicken, grill it and serve it. But not me. I don’t work like that. I always have to put extras even before starting and that’s why this burrito is a bit complicated. 

My JFC is a variation of the KFC, Korean Fried Chicken. Apparently, KFC is the summum of fried chicken: crispy fried chicken coated in a spicy, sticky BBQ sauce packed with Korean flavours. I found some recipes on the internet that make fried chicken in the Jamaican way, coated with a Jerk BBQ sauce, but they didn’t convince me. So I told myself: let’s make a Southern style fried chicken with a Jamaican spirit in the Korean way. And here you have it! The JFC!

The challenge

How to get a fried chicken full of flavours that remains crispy after coating it in a BBQ sauce?

To make sure my chicken has got loads of Jamaican flavour I made a seasoning -you can make yours using this recipe– that I put in the marinade, the batter, the flour mix and the BBQ sauce. For that sauce, I decided not to use ketchup, following Kasia’s advice, and making it with canned tomatoes instead. 

The fried chicken was absolutely tasty after frying it: crispy, spicy, fruity… It was a Jamaican beach in my mouth. The Jerk BBQ Sauce was very good too. It wasn’t like your usual BBQ sauce or like one from Levi Roots. It was more like a good tomato sauce, not as something they will use in Korea. I have to work on this more. 

After coating it in the Jerk BBQ sauce, the Jamaican Fried Chicken was something to die for. Absolutely gorgeous! It wasn’t as crispy as I expected because of the moisture from the sauce, buti it was amazing! Maybe I can keep some of that crispiness by putting the chicken under the oven’s grill for a while. But that would add 1 more step to the elaboration of an already complicated burrito. 

Jamaican Fried Chicken

The Rice & Peas

Unmissable. I made them in the traditional way. No innovations whatsoever. However, I didn’t get them right: too much liquid and a bit overcooked. I had to remove some of the liquid and it seemed I saved them. But I wasn’t 100% happy with them. I’m not used to cooking rice in this way, so I’m going to need some more effort to get this right. 

The Caribbean Slaw

I’m adding a kind of Caribbean slaw to the JFC burrito, just with red and white cabbages, carrot, spring onion, scotch bonnet and a special dressing. “Very good slaw”, you would agree. 

The Verdict

The JFC Burrito is a very good one, full of flavour, textures and contrast. I’m very happy with it. However, apart from the mentioned things to improve, I feel it needs some more of the stuff you find in a traditional burrito, like pico de gallo, some kind of sauce and sour cream. 

But as I want Cantina Canalla to be different from other burrito or mexican joints, maybe I shouldn’t worry about these extras. Let’s see in the next take of the JFC Burrito. Stay tuned!

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