Jamaican Patty

Patty is to Jamaica what pizza is to Italy, the hamburger to the U.S. and wine to the French. Photo by Grace Cameron

March-June 2009, JamaicanEats magazine


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground, dried turmeric or annatto (see Glossary for annatto)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cold water


  1. Sift the flour, turmeric or annatto into a bowl.
  2. Add butter and mix well with fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in enough of the water to form a dough.
  4. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or yellow cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh hot peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs chive, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4-pound prime ground beef (chicken or fish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground turmeric or annatto
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (pimento)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup water or (beef or chicken) stock
  • 1 tablespoon brown rum


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onion, garlic, hot peppers, thyme, chive, parsley and tomatoes until soft.
  2. Add meat and all other spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add water or stock and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes until liquid has evaporated and the meat is nice and thick.
  4. Add rum just before pot from the stove. Let cool.


  • 2 egg yolks, well beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.
  2. Roll out pastry and cut into circles 7 to 12 inches in diameter, using a saucer.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of the cooked meat mixture on one side of the circle, fold the other half over so that the edges meet, and crimp together with a fork until well sealed.
  4. Place the patties on a baking dish lined with aluminium foil or make sure the baking dish is well oiled and floured.
  5. Brush the tops with the beaten egg yolks.
  6. Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Serve piping hot.

Makes 12 to 18 patties.

-By Rosemary Parkinson

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