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Janga Soup

Janga is a Jamaican crayfish that is supposed to help the Jamaican men ‘get lucky’ or stay on “it” long enough. With that said, let me give you a little story that will make you more comfortable or try to understand where I am coming from.

Back in the day when my scoundrels and I were out of school for the summer holidays, we wreaked havoc on the accepted norms at the time in terms of our behavior and outlandish attitude toward the local water captain. He, the water captain, was responsible for maintaining the gates that controlled the water from the canals that irrigated the sugar cane plantations. This water from the Rio Cobre River in upper St. Catherine was rich with river food, that is, Perch, Eels, Sand Fish, Shrimp, Janga, and Tikki Tikki.

Now our intention over the seven to eight weeks that we were out of school was to mine the canals for food…especially Janga. To achieve this, we had to turn off the water at the main irrigation gate, however. We would send five members of the gang to the main gate to break the padlocks, remove the chains, and turn off the water. And of course that was illegal. But we did it anyway…Yah Mon!

Turning off the water gates would allow us to bale the water out of the canals with our milk pails and paint pans so that we would later scoop out the fish and shrimp with our crocus (burlap) bags. By the time Walter, the water captain, came to inspect the water gates we had amassed all the fish and shrimp we could handle.

Now one of the strangest behaviors was the gleam in the older boys’ eyes when they saw a Janga in the crocus bag. Some called it “Auggo,” which is short for August fish. Not a fish of course, but that was one of the names that they called this dark crustacean. The boys would have several heated and funny discussions about the Janga you would think a war is about to happen.

I later discovered that Janga is a known aphrodisiac. Another thing, the Janga and shrimp will not cook in the same soup as the fish because the soup will not taste the same, according to them. In other words, only certain individuals will enjoy Janga soup for their “back,” as they usually say.

Well here is my version of Janga Soup (bush style)

½ lb. Shrimp (peeled)

½ lb. Crawfish

1 tbsp. Lime Juice

1 Irish potato (peeled)

1 stalk Scallion (beaten and softened)

1 sprig Thyme

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Black Pepper

1 Cho Cho (Christophine) Sliced into 8 pieces

1 pinch Curry

½ Scotch Bonnet Pepper or Bird Pepper

½ Onion (finely chopped)

1 tsp. Cooking Oil

Wash the shrimp and crayfish with cold water and put them in a bowl. Add the lime juice to the bowl of shrimp and crawfish. In the meantime, bring water to boil in a pot on a high flame. Add the cho-cho, potato, and onion to the pot and salt to taste.

Allow the vegetables to boil until the potato is soft. Remove the potato and cut it in halves. Blend half of the potato in a blender and add it back to the soup, stirring constantly. Turn the fire down to medium.

Add all other ingredients to the soup and monitor for five minutes. Taste the soup now. If it is O.K. let it cook for another three minutes, if not, add more ingredients like a little more salt or thyme.

I cheat a little on this soup by using some Old Harbour Fish Fry seasoning or Old Bay Shrimp Boil.

Yah Mon!




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YAH MON!

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