Above: Chef Nigel Spence’s Ripe Kitchen and Bar
By Nigel Spence
Recently, I’ve been hearing about more and more people in Jamaica contracting a new disease called Chikungunya which has been making its way throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere.
It is derived from the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, known in the past to carry the Malaria disease.
Once infected, people suffer excruciating joint pains along with spiking fever and severe headaches.
This can last for weeks and in some cases, even months or years. It is reported that the disease is not usually fatal, though there have been some deaths linked to it.
There is no vaccine against the virus and apparently the only medication being dispensed for the disease to help ease the burden is Acetaminophen, sold in Jamaica as the over the counter drug, Panadol.
Well, true to form, my fellow Jamaicans who historically “tek bad tings mek laugh” are taking the lighter side of the matter by singing about the various maladies afflicted upon the society.
Popular artistes like Beenie Man and The Astronauts recently released their take on the matter in a humorous recording warning – “dem nuh fraid a nuh bad man, neither the garrison dem come from…dem only fraid a di “chicken gun man.”
Another new artiste, Wayne J, sings descriptively how Chikungunya “mek a bag a young people move ole” and ‘im haffi draw fi a Panadol quick”.
An image circulating on the web shows a rooster standing tall with a cigarette in his mouth and armed with what appears to be a submachine gun – the caption – “Chicken Gun Yah” (the killer virus).
It’s serious but I have to laugh.
I remember too in the aftermath of Hurricane Gilbert – popular song artiste Lovindeer topped the charts with a humorous rendition of the event, titled “Wild Gilbert”. I had to crack up at the lyrics when Lovindeer described how “di roof migrate without a visa…” – only a Jamaican could come up with that!
But all in all, it’s what keeps us sane as we face the day to day challenges of life and hardship.
As long as food and music play a role we can weather any storm or “chicken gun man.”
Well, as chicken seems to be the order of the day, I thought I would pass on this deliciously, succulent recipe which bears no relationship to the cigarette-smoking, gun-packing rooster but it is certainly a killer and is sure to have you “dying” for more.
It is also quite easy to prepare so if you have been a victim of the virus, this recipe requires very little time standing in the kitchen to complete the dish.
Stay safe my Caribbean folks!
Weekday Braised Chicken
4 pounds chicken legs and thighs
1/2 Cup Chinese Black Vinegar (may substitute apple cider vinegar)
1/2 Cup Oyster Sauce
1/3 C Soy Sauce
3T white sugar
4 Stalks Scallions (rough chopped)
4 T fresh ginger (fine chopped)
8 garlic cloves -whole
1/2 Fresh Scotch Bonnet Pepper (less if you don’t like heat)
3 T Cornstarch
1 Cup Chicken Stock (may substitute water)
Season chicken with salt and pepper and reserve.
Add all other ingredients except scallion to a blender and blend until smooth.
Add chicken, scallions and blended mixture to braising pan and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes till meat is tender and sauce has developed and thickened slightly. Adjust seasoning as necessary and serve over steaming white rice.