Jamaican Patties

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8 to 8 servings

These can be made bite-sized, if you prefer, and filled with whatever happens to be around the house – leftover chili, cooked vegetables, and scrambled eggs. Serve them hot or at room temperature.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 3 to 4 tsp cold water


  • 1 small onion , finely chopped
  • 250 g lean ground beef , or chicken
  • 1 small, fresh hot pepper , finely chopped (extremely optional)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp crumbled dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup water


  • First make the pastry dough. In a large bowl, have your young assistant combine the flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt and turmeric. Cut the vegetable shortening into this mixture until it is crumbly using a pastry blender, two (dull) knives or a food processor. Add the water, one spoonful at a time, until the dough sticks together into a ball. It shouldn’t be gooey, but soft enough to roll our without cracking. Set aside.
  • Now make the filling. Dump the ground beef or chicken into a skillet, add the chopped onion and the optional hot pepper, and cook over medium heat until the meat is lightly browned, about 5 or 10 minutes. Measure in the curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook for another couple minutes. Sprinkle in the bread crumbs, stir and add the water. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
  • Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Have your assistant flatten each piece between her hands, like she’s making a small hamburger. Place on a well-floured surface and roll, with a rolling pin, until it’s about 5 in. (12 cm) in diameter. 1/8 in. (¼ cm) thick, and as close to round as you can get it. Put about 2 tbsp. (30mL) of the meat filling into the middle of the dough and, using a finger or a pastry brush, moisten the dough all around the filling with a bit of water. Fold the pastry over the filling, making a half-moon shape, and squish the edges down with a fork. Trim the edges.
  • Carefully lift the patties onto an ungreased cookie sheet and poke a few fork holes into the top. Bake them at 350°F (180°C) for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.