Jamaica as represented by the
Windward, Moore Town Maroons and
the Leeward, Accompong Maroons

The people speak Jamaican Creole, Jamaican Maroon Creole, Kramati, plus English. 

The Windward Maroons' ancestors escape began in the mid-17th century during Spanish rule and continued through the British rule in the 18th century. Under the leadership of their famous woman leader, known affectionately to them as "Grandy Nanny," a treaty signed with the British government in 1739.

The Leeward Maroons' ancestors began their escape in the late 17th century when Britain ruled, and their treaty is dated 1739.

We are especially grateful to Fieldworker Hazel McClune, Moore Town Paramount Chief Colonel C.L.G Harris, Accompong Paramount Chief Colonel M.L. Wright, and our wonderful Foodways Demonstrators Hermine Daure, Martha Downer, Phyllis Myers, Parnel McKenzie, Rosalie Rowe, Major Charles Aarons, and George Harris. 

Coconut Drops
Ginger Beer
Jerk Pork
Johnny Cakes
Tun Cornmeal
Vegetable Pies



makes 1 dozen
2 lbs. cassava root
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

Grate the cassava and squeeze dry; pound it smooth in a mortar with a pestle, or put in a blender or food processor. Pass the pulp through a sieve or coarse strainer to make cassava meal. Add salt.

Heat a 6" skillet-- or a large griddle with 6" metal rings on top-- over a high flame and use 1 cup of the cassava for each bammie, pressing it into the pan with a cloth so that it takes the form of the bottom of the pan (or metal ring). Cook for 5 minutes, watching it carefully so it does not burn. Turn with a spatula and cook the other side for another 3 minutes. Remove to a clean cloth. Serve hot.

Bammies are used as an accompaniment to a meal and as a snack or breakfast dish.

Smaller bammies, 3" by 1/2" thick, can be formed and cooked for about 3 minutes one side and 2 minutes on the other. This recipe will make about 1 1/2 dozen.

Bammies can be cooled, wrapped, and frozen in aluminum foil. To reheat: defrost and soak in water or milk for about half and hour until soft but not crumbling. Heat quickly on a griddle and serve. 


Boyo (Dokunu)

makes 1 dozen
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup grated coco root (taro root)
1/2 cup  grated coconut
1/2 cup  brown sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coconut milk, canned or fresh
1/8 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon powdered mace
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
6 banana leaves
White string

Sift the cornmeal and flour together into a large mixing  bowl. Add the sugar, spices, coco root, coconut, coconut milk, and vanilla, and work into a firm, but not stiff, dough.

Halve each banana leaf and soften by quickly dipping into warm water. Place 1/2 cup  of the mixture on each half leaf ad fold to make a little bundle, completely enclosing the filling. Tie with string.

Fill a large pot half full of water and bring to a boil. Then, lower the boyo into the pot, making as many layers as possible. Boil gently over medium heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove one bundle from the water and open to test doneness.

Serve hot or cold, as an appetizer, snack, or side dish.

In Jamaica, this dish is also called "blue drawers."


Coconut Drops

makes 3 or 4 dozen candies
2 coconuts, slivered in 1/2" pieces
2 lbs. brown sugar
2" piece of fresh ginger root
1 cup cool tap water
6 banana leaves, or moistened aluminum foil

In a large pot, cover coconut meat with water and let stand for about two hours. Add sugar and ginger, and simmer over medium high heat. Stir with wooden spoon every few minutes to keep from sticking to bottom of pot and cook until the sugar id completely dissolved and the mixture begins to adhere to the spoon. Drop by spoonfuls onto banana leaves or a wet cutting board and let cool to harden.



2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
(For Fried Dumplings:
1/4 cup butter, 2 level teaspoons baking powder, 3 cups cooking oil)

Bring about 3 quarts of water or broth to a rolling boil over high heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour with the salt and add enough water to form a soft dough. Pinch off walnut sized balls of dough and drop them, one by one, into the boiling water. Bring to a boil again, and lower heat to medium. Boil gently for twenty minutes and remove one to test if done.

To make fried dumplings, add 1/4 cup of butter and 2 level teaspoons of baking powder to the recipe. Heat about 3 cups of cooking oil (a depth of about 4")  in a deep fryer and drop the dumplings in one by one. Brown on all sides, remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels before serving. (This is a type of Johnnycake, since it is fried.)


Ginger Beer

makes 8 servings
1/2 lb ginger root, grated
1/2 gallon boiling water
2 cups brown sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 gallon of cool tap water
Additional sugar to taste

In a half gallon crock, jar, or bottle, combine ginger, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup sugar. Pour 1/2 gallon boiling water over this and let stand 12 to 24 hours. Strain into a one gallon glass or ceramic jar, and add another 1/2 gallon of water, and sweeten to taste. 

Phyllis's note: Instead of sugar, 1/2 cup of licorice root, simmered for 20 minutes in 2 cups water, can be added to the ginger, lemon juice, and boiling water. Proceed as above. The licorice adds an anise flavoring and natural, sugar-free, non-caloric sweetness to the spicy ginger flavor. Licorice root for tea is available at natural foods' markets and is packaged under the brand name "Seelect"

Sparkling Beverage: 4 tablespoons yeast (1 tablespoon per quart) dissolved 10 minutes in 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110oF to 115oF). The yeast should be bubbly and increased in volume-- otherwise, discard and use a new batch of yeast. Add the yeast mixture to the ginger mixture. Stir thoroughly. Cover the container with foil or plastic wrap and let it stand for in a warm, draft-free place to ferment one week. Stir every other day. Strain through a sieve and transfer to a glass or ceramic bottle. Cork tightly and let ferment at room temperature for another 3 or 4 days. Serve chilled over ice cubes.


Jerk Pork

makes 30 servings
10 lbs. side of pork OR
2- 5 lb. lean pork roasts: loin, leg or shoulder
2 tablespoons salt
3 scotch bonnet hot peppers
4 scallions
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried pimento berries (allspice)
2 tablespoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
About 6 pieces of firewood: odorless, such as birch; enough to burn for  2 1/2 hours

Score the meat in 1 1/2" diamonds. Crush the herbs and spices in a mortar with a pestle, or pulverize in a blender. Combine the powdered herbs and spices with the salt and rub the mixture into the meat, thoroughly covering the surface. Leave the meat to cure overnight in refrigeration.

The following day, roast over an open wood fire, jerking the meat around several times (turning occasionally), for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is no longer pink inside (Alternately, over roast at 350oF, 30 minutes per lb.)

Chicken can be used instead of pork. 


Johnny Cakes

makes 6 servings
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lard
1/4 cup cold water
Oil for frying
Flour for dusting the kneading board

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the lard until the mixture forms marble-sized doughballs. Add the water 1 teaspoon at a time, just enough to bring the dough together with a firm consistency. 

In a heavy bottomed frying pot, add enough oil to half fill the pot. Bring it to frying temperature over moderately high heat.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough well, for about five minutes. Break off 2" balls of dough and flatten them with the bottom of a drinking glass to form 1/2" thick patties.

Fry the patties, uncrowded, in the hot oil only until they become golden-- about 3 minutes. Remove with a dry spatula and drain the puffed johnnycakes on paper towels or newspaper to absorb the extra oil.

Johnny cakes are usually served for breakfast with marmalade. 



makes 6 to 8 servings
2 lbs. cacoon
2 coconuts, grated, in water to cover
2 onions
1/2 cup fresh thyme
2 tablespoons black pepper, ground
3 scallions
2 tomatoes
2 Scotch bonnet peppers, whole

In a Dutch oven, combine the cacoon with the coconut meat and milk and boil gently over medium high heat for thirty minutes. Add the seasonings and simmer another 30 minutes until thick. Skim off the coconut oil and use for other purposes (such as sautéing fish for flavoring stew, et cetera). Continue simmering, stirring from time to time, another 30 minutes, until the consistency of a custard is reached. 

This delicious stew is prepared by the Moore Town Maroons. The Accompong Maroons prepare their version with salted mackerel instead of the large, Jamaica nut, cacoon. Soaked, desalted, dried codfish could also be used.  



makes 3 loaves
5 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 coconut, finely grated OR 4 cups unsweetened grated coconut
2 cups milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350oF. Grease three 3 1/2 by 7" loaf pans and coat with flour.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt into a large bowl and add the coconut, mixing thoroughly. Blend in the milk  a little at a time, followed by the butter. 

Pour the batter evenly into the three baking pans. The batter should fill no more than 2/3 of each pan. Bake 1 hour and insert a toothpick or a clean knife blade into the center. If it comes out clean, the toto is ready. 

Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Then, invert the pans over wire cake racks and cool.

Serve either warm or cool as a tasty snack with butter. 


Tun Cornmeal

makes 6 to 8 servings
2 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
1/2 lb codfish
2 scallions
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 quart water

In a saucepan, combine the salt, pepper, codfish, scallions, and water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the cornmeal in a small, steady stream* stirring constantly with a wooden spoon as the cornmeal is being added

*To insure a steady stream of cornmeal, pour 1 cup at a time of cornmeal into a funnel, plugging the funnel opening with your finger until ready to begin the even flow into the boiling water. 


Vegetable Pies

makes 4 servings
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons warm milk
1 onion
1 scallion
1 teaspoon thyme
1 chopped, fresh chili pepper
1/2 lb. cooked greens, such as spinach
2 cups cooking oil

Sift the flour with the salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add milk and knead to a silky, stiff dough. Cover and set aside.

Chop the onion and sautée in hot oil until transparent (about 10 minutes). Add the chili pepper and sautée another 2 minutes. Stir in the greens with one 1 teaspoon of the salt, and cook for another 5 minutes to combine flavors. Remove from heat and reserve.

In another frying pan, begin heating cooking oil over a medium high flame. Divide the dough into six equal parts. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to form thin, circular shapes. Place 1/6 of the greens mixture on one half of each circle, leaving the other half empty. Moisten the edges with water (or beaten egg white). Fold one half of the dough over the filling, forming  semi-circular pie. Fry the pies in the oil until golden brown on each side and serve warm.