I’m serving up a West Indian chicken dish wrapped up with grilled pineapples and habanero-cilantro aioli and I’m pretty over the top excited about it!
One of my absolute favorite things to do is take opposing flavors and multiple types of food and fuse them together in one dish. It’s actually the reason I fell in love with cooking in the first place. If you love 2 types of dishes, put them together! The kitchen allows you to do that and these jerk chicken tacos are the pinnacle of flavor fusion.
I have a confession. Before moving to Toronto 10 years ago, I somehow went my entire life having never tried jerk chicken. All I can say is that I hadn’t lived until trying this spicy, West Indian chicken.
If you’ve never tried jerk chicken before, I will say off the bat that it’s not for the faint of heart. Like any great Caribbean meal, this marinade includes fresh scotch bonnets and they’re not messin’ around. The heat is definitely up there. Of course you could substitute the peppers for a hot sauce but personally, I feel like it takes away from the traditional taste. To curb the intensity of the heat I’ve topped these tacos off with some super sweet pineapples.
And not just any old pineapples. In a traditional Brazilian method, these have been smothered in buttery cinnamon and sugar and then grilled until just caramelized. The sweetness from the fruit cools down the spice and the contrasting flavors literally burst.
Not that I want to add more heat on top of this fire-pit of a taco buuuuut I kinda wanna throw more heat on these tacos…and also a nice, fresh finish. So, I turned to my ultimate go-to, cilantro. I whipped up an aioli made with lime juice, cilantro and habaneros to drizzle on top.
Your taste buds will be thrown for a tasty loop biting into all the different flavors wrapped up together in one tortilla! I’m so in love with every single ingredient in this recipe and the seasonings coming together are legitimately a party on a plate. Try these tacos out for dinner this week and let me know what you think! Do you have a new recipe for taco Tuesday?
- 1 medium onion
- 3 scallions
- 2 scotch bonnet peppers
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp all spice powder
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp lime zest
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3-4 chicken breasts
- 10 small tortillas
- 6-10 habaneros or scotch bonnet peppers
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 pineapple sliced into strips
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar & cinnamon
- Process all ingredients, excluding chicken in a food processor.
- Cut chicken into slices or 1 inch cubes (depending on your preference) and place in a large bowl. Pour marinade over the chicken and let it sit for 4 -24 hours. Grill chicken until it is no longer pink in the center.
- Cut the tops off of the habaneros/scotch bonnets and discard. Process all peppers and garlic on the food processor. Add remaining ingredients and continue to process. Set aside for serving.
- Put the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until melted. Brush the butter mixture on the pineapple slices. Grill on low heat until grill marks start to form (about 5 minutes). Grill on both sides if preferable.
- Slice the chicken into thing slices and chop the pineapples into small cubes. Add the chicken to the open tortillas. Drop the chopped pineapples on and drizzle with aioli. Serve hot.