Healthier choice recipe: Jamaican jerk chicken

SINGAPORE - Chicken - regarded as one of the healthiest kinds of meat - can be made even more heart-friendly when its skin is removed.

The skin contains most of the calories, which, in turn, come mostly from fat, including saturated fat.

For instance, 100g of raw chicken breast - the least oily part of a chicken - contains 110 calories without the skin.

With the skin, this figure jumps by 55 per cent to hit 170 calories.

After saturated fat is consumed, it is converted into low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol.

This is distributed through the bloodstream to tissues to produce hormones.

But when it is in excess, it is deposited on artery walls, narrowing the arteries and raising the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Baking rather than deep-frying the chicken can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in a chicken dish as less oil is used.

Using oil that is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat - such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, soya bean oil and corn oil - also boosts the health benefits of the dish.

After being consumed, unsaturated fat is converted into high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or "good" cholesterol, which gets rid of "bad" cholesterol.

Using these ways, Mr Yen Koh, regional executive chef at the food solutions department of Unilever Singapore, has created his Jamaican jerk chicken with the help of the Health Promotion Board.

He said: "Jerk is a style of Jamaican cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed or marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice.

"Thyme is an important ingredient. This spice mix can also be used for pork, red meat and seafood."


Jamaican jerk chicken (Serves four)


2 tsp all spice powder
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
5 tsp canola oil
800g chicken breast, skinless


1. Mix all the spices and salt in a bowl.

2. Then add oil to the mixture and mix it into a paste.

3. Cut the chicken breast into pieces and rub the paste over them.

4. Let the chicken marinate for two hours or overnight.

5. Heat the oven to 190 deg C.

6. On a grill, cook each portion of marinated chicken for two minutes on each side.

7. Transfer the chicken to a rack and continue to cook in the oven for six minutes or until it is cooked.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Energy: 274 kilocalories

Protein: 46.5g

Total fat: 7.4g

Saturated fat: 1g

Cholesterol: 116mg

Carbohydrate: 2.6g

Dietary fibre: 0.8g

Sodium: 616mg


• Choose leaner cuts of meat, such as lean pork or beef, which are low in fat. To further enhance their healthiness, remove visible fat and skin where possible before cooking.

• Use fresh herbs and spices or low-sodium seasoning to add flavour to dishes, so less salt is used. Consumption of high levels of sodium, found in salt, has been linked to the development of high blood pressure.

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