Jamaican Patties

Ubiquitous in Jamaica, and also found all over the Caribbean, these tropical patties are are made of a tender golden turmeric pastry stuffed with a classic curried minced beef filling.

By SALT Magazine | 16 August, 2017 | Food, Recipe
2017-08-16 10:23:45 2017-10-11 10:55:56
MasterChef: Street Food of The World's Jamaican Patties - tried and tested by SALT magazine
MasterChef: Street Food of The World’s Jamaican Patties – tried and tested by SALT magazine

Looking very much like an oversized apple turnover or empanada, these pies, often tinted a muppet yellow (think Sesame Street’s Big Bird or Bert), are a warming bundle typically stuffed with curry. Jamaican patties are essentially another ethnic interpretation of our local curry puff. While everyone who tasted the pies unanimously agreed that the ochre, turmeric flavoured pastry was excellent, the curry filling lacked oomph and spice – so adjust accordingly.

Making fork marks on the pastry
Making fork marks on the pastry



PREP TIME: 1 hour | TOTAL TIME: 1 hour plus dough chilling time

1 tbsp olive oil
400g minced beef
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp curry paste
A pinch of dried thyme
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the pastry

450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp fine salt
225g butter, cut into 1cm cubes
about 8 tbspn ice-cold water

  • To make the pastry, place the flour, turmeric and salt in a food processor and pulse together briefly. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. While pulsing, add just enough ice-cold water to bring the mixture together into loose clumps. You can also make the pastry by hand: rub the dry ingredients and butter together between your fingers and thumbs until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water and stir through with a knife to incorporate it, bringing the mixture together with your hands.
  • Place the pastry on a sheet of cling film and draw up the edges, gently pressing it into a ball. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • Pour the oil into a deep frying pan and set over a high heat. Add the mince and fry for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned, breaking the clumps up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Reduce the temperature to medium-low, then add the carrots, onion and red pepper, along with the garlic, curry paste and thyme, and fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  • Add the tomatoes along with 150ml cold water and season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the sauce is well reduced, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper if necessary, then set aside to cool completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. On a lightly floured work surface, cut the pastry into 8 equal-sized pieces, gently rolling each one into a ball. Roll out each ball into a circle about the size of a large saucer and about 3mm thick. Brush all around the edges with a little cold water and then spoon some filling on to one half of each circle, leaving a generous 1cm border around the edge. For each patty, bring the pastry up and over the filling, pressing down firmly at the edges to completely seal the filling inside. Trim each one with a sharp knife to give you a neat ‘D’ shape, then take a fork and press down the sealed edge to give you a traditional finish.
  • Place the patties on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the pastry is cooked; because of the turmeric, they won’t turn golden brown like traditional shortcrust pastry, but should instead be a bright yellow.
  • Serve hot or warm.
MasterChef Street Food of the World: Jamaican Patties
Masterchef Street Food of the World by Genevieve Taylor

Recipe taken from MasterChef Street Food of the World, published by Bloomsbury, £26, Hardback Photography © David Loftus. Purchase the book here. 

The SALT Team is dedicated to bring out the best in food journalism, with culinary prose, evocative photo-essays, and inspiring reads from people who work behind the scenes. Our online portal carries the latest on food and drinks in the region, with an injection of a fresh new spirit to food content and an offbeat attitude.