Jamaican Curry Chicken and White Rice

Food Rule Slide
Food Rule Slide

Prep Time: Approximately 15 minutes

Cook Time: Approximately 45 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 4 cups of rice
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 4 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • ¼ stick of butter
  • ½ of whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp of curry powder
  • ¼ tbsp of black pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks of scallion
  • 3-4 pieces of thyme
  • 3 pieces of garlic
  • 1 tsp of chicken seasoning
  • ½ tbsp of pimento seeds
  • 2 Irish potatoes
  • Salt for taste

Instructions for CHICKEN:

1. Wash chicken (remove skin if preferred) and cut into small pieces.

2. Sprinkle black pepper and chicken seasoning onto chicken and mix well.

3. Pour vegetable oil in pot (keep stove on medium heat) and let it heat up.

4. Crush garlic and fry in oil for 5 minutes.

5. Remove the garlic and place in trash.

6. Pour curry powder into oil and stir gently for 1 minute. 

7. Gently place chicken into oil and stir with a long fork for 5-7 minutes.

8. Dice onion and scallion.

9. Pour ¾ cup of water all over the chicken.

10. Add diced onion, scallion, pimento seeds and thyme and then stir.

11. Cover pot and let it cook for approximately 30 minutes.

12. Wash, peel and slice potatoes into cubes.

13. Add Irish potato to pot 25 minutes in and stir (Only cook for 5 minutes).

Instructions for RICE:

1. Wash rice twice to remove starch.

2. Put rice into pot and add just enough water to cover the rice.

3. Add a pinch of salt, butter and stir.

4. Place stove on medium heat until water boils.

5. After water boils, turn the stove on low heat.

6. Let it steam until rice is soft (Approximately 20 minutes).


Curry is an intricate part of the Jamaica culture, history, and cuisine. Indian indentured servants who were brought to the then English Colony to work on sugar cane plantations after the abolition of slavery brought the spice to Jamaica in the 17th century. Curry is now one of the most popular spices in Jamaica and is used on various types of meat. As long as it is meat, it can be curried (E.g. curry goat, shrimp, chicken, crab, and even pork).

Surprisingly, I estimate that approximately 80% of my meal was processed. The processed ingredients included the rice, chicken, curry powder, black pepper, and butter. On the other hand, the whole foods included the onions, thyme, garlic, potatoes and scallion since my mom buys most of our fruit and vegetable at the farmer’s market at Reading Terminal. However, if this meal was prepared in Jamaica, over 95% would be whole foods. This is because the chicken would have been raised on a farm, the curry seasoning would have been homemade and all the vegetables would have been from a garden.

After completing some calculations, I estimate that each full serving of curry chicken and rice has approximately 640 calories (48% fat) and 18 g of protein. As you can see this meal is high in fat and also in protein. If this nothing but this meal is eaten everyday, obesity, diabetes and possibly high blood pressure could occur. However, if eaten in moderation, this meal can provide you with healthy benefits since it is also low in cholesterol and high in protein.

The ingredients for this meal originated in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin, New York and Florida. The food that raveled the farthest was the curry powder that was manufactured in Doral, Florida, 1,297 miles away. The potatoes traveled all the way from Rosholt, Wisconsin, 1070 miles away. The potatoes were organically grown with a limited amount of pesticides. As stated previously, the vegetables (onions, scallion, garlic, thyme) were local produce that was bought at a farmer’s market. I estimated that my meal traveled more than 7,000 miles, which is bad for the environment because of all the pollution.

The cost of this meal was approximately $15. The most expensive ingredient of the meal was the chicken at $5. The corporations that made money of this meal were the Wakefield Food Group and Purdue. In addition, local farmers made money off this meal. Cooking this meal at home is more cost friendly and healthier because a full fast food meal for four people would cost more than $15 and would be unhealthier.

I am used to getting a home cooked meal everyday and I do not eat fast food that often. I believe this enables me to make healthy food choices, even though most food items nowadays are unhealthy in some way. The cost of this meal would have been reduced to about $7 since everything would be grown at home.


This unit has further informed me of the flaws in our food system and the factors that contribute to it. I also learned of the prevalence of obesity and heart disease in America society. It is interesting to see the connection between the way Americans eat and the diseases are now affecting a large part of the population. The most interesting thing I learned about was food deserts and how popular they are in America. Food deserts help to contribute to high levels of obesity in low-income areas where residents do not have access to healthy foods. Based on the research we did in class about food deserts in our own communities, I found out that I actually live in a food desert. I also understand this because people in my community usually shop at corner stores and Chinese stores. This is why people of a lower socioeconomic status have higher rates of obesity.

From watching Food Inc, I have learned much about the food system and the role that I play. As the consumers, we are the drivers of the food system. Food companies makes the products that we want to buy and if we decide to not support a certain food product or company, we can bring change to the food system. A prime example of this was the pink slim industry. After a public outcry in 2012, people stopped buying pink slime, which is ammonia treated meat scraps that are grinded together. Soon after, pink slime was banned from major food stores such as Kroger’s and Food Lion, among others. This drove these companies out of business and brought change to the industry. My mom usually cooked ground beef/pink slime, but after I heard the news reports, I told her that she should not buy it again. If we can to change the food system, we have to start with ourselves and them get our families and friends to join in.

The biggest problem with our food stem is the lack of federal regulation. Food companies have essentially bought out the government and is often lobbying to get laws passed in their favor. This makes companies feel that they are all powerful, which leads them to abuse their workers and animals. I am willing to change the way I eat but I have to think about the budget of my family. Eating healthily means more money. I am going to stop eating at much fast food, especially at McDonalds. I believe that this is something that I can achieve by eating more often at home.