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This small-batch Mild Jamaican Jerk Paste is almost indescribably complex, with a fruity, earthy and smoky flavor that's great for marinating or basting any kind of meat. Sweet-tart tamarind, soy sauce and a blend of spices provide an aromatic foundation. The sauce also includes two types of mustard and fruity-floral habanero peppers for heat, complemented by smoky cumin and paprika. Kitchens of Africa layers on fresh ingredients like cilantro, ginger and garlic for a well-rounded marinade. You can use Jamaican Jerk Paste on any meat, but we especially like it for chicken and kebabs. Add honey or agave for a sweeter glaze, or try it with soy sauce or fish sauce for deeper, meatier umami notes. Or simmer with tomato puree for a tangy-savory sauce to serve over beans.
Jainaba Jeng was born and raised in The Gambia, a small country on the west African coast bordered on three sides by Senegal. When she moved to North Carolina in 1997, she noticed that she could find ready-made sauces for some international cuisines, but none from her native country—or, in fact, from Africa. So she took matters into her own hands, creating a line of small-batch simmer sauces that draw on flavors from West Africa to Jamaica. “When you taste our foods, I hope you will feel the warmth, love and soul of all women of Africa to whom I pay tribute on our packaging,” says Jeng. “They are responsible for most of the cooking in Africa.”
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