Tag: Allspice

Legendary Dishes | Topik (chickpea-potato-tahini balls stuffed with caramelized onions)


This is a very popular Armenian dish, appreciated also in Anatolia. It is served cold but it can also be served hot, baked in a 180ºC oven for 45 minutes.

Six Portions

  • 1.5 kg onions, cut in half, sliced thin
  • 400 g potatoes, boiled whole until cooked, peeled, mashed
  • 400 g chickpeas, soaked in water for 8 hours, boiled until soft, mashed
  • 250 g + 35 g tahini
  • 25 g currants
  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp + 1 salt salt
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • Cinnamon, to garnish
  • Olive oil, to garnish

Combine potatoes with chickpeas and one teaspoon each of cinnamon, salt and sugar, 35 g of tahini. Form into a dough, set aside.

Sauté a third of the onions in a very large pan with a teaspoon of salt on low heat, cover. When the onions start to soften and release water add the second batch, increase the heat, cover. Add the third batch, increase the heat a little more, cover. The purpose is to soften the onions, release their water content and reduce them to a quarter of their original quantity. When the onions are completely soft, remove the lid and cook over a medium-high heat. The operation can take more than a hour, depending on the quality of the onions.

Add currants, pine nuts, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, one teaspoon each of allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, mix well. Cool, add the tahini and mix thoroughly.

Cut 6 pieces of clingfilm approximately 20 cm x 20 cm. Divide the chickpea-potato and onion-tahini mixures into 6 equal portions. Take a portion of the chickpea-potato mixture, and spread it flat into a round about ½ cm thick on the clingfilm. Place a portion of the onion-tahini mixture in the middle. Hold the clingfilm on all four sides and close up to make a round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Repeat with remaining mixtures. Transfer to the refrigerator for three hours or overnight.

Twelve Portions


  • 800 g potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed
  • 750 g chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, boiled, mashed
  • 75 ml tahini
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar


  • 3 kg onions, halved, sliced thin
  • 500 g tahini
  • 3 tbsp currants
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Cinnamon to garnish
  • Olive oil to garnish

For the shell combine potatoes with chickpeas and tahini, work in the cinnamon, salt and sugar, knead a little to form a dough.

For the filling sauté onions in a very large frying pan with salt on very low heat, stir from time to time. The onions should cook down to almost a quarter of the original quantity.

Add currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, and mix well. Once cool add tahini and mix.

Prepare 12 pieces of clingfilm (approximately 20 x 20cm). Divide the chickpea / potato dough into 12 equal portions. Take a portion and spread on a stretch film in a round manner, it should be about ½ cm thick. Place 1/12th of the onion mixture in the middle, then hold from all four sides of the stretch film and close up to make  round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Do the same with the rest of the mixes.

Transfer to the refrigerator, chill for two hours. Ideally topik tastes much better the next day. The surplus may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to two months.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Allspice | Chickpeas | Currants | Onions | Pine Nuts | Potatoes | Tahini


Legendary Dishes | Jerk Chicken / Pollo Jerk (spiced chicken)


Every Jamaican believes their jerk sauce is the best and almost every Jamaican refuses to reveal their secret ingredients, except to say, ‘pimento (allspice) is essential’ and there must be a spicy sour-sweet taste. The amount of oil, soy and vinegar is disputed, yet the liquid-paste ratio must be correct to allow the sauce to stick to the chicken, and oil helps it do just that.

Like every Jamaican we have looked at other versions, tasted various jerked chicken and come to the usual conclusion. As long as you follow the basic rules, what is left is personal taste. So after countless experiments and experiences this is the one we like for now, we might change our minds in a while though, you never know.

  • 270 ml orange juice
  • 120 ml olive oil / vegetable oil
  • 120 g onions / 10 spring onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp allspice, dry-roasted, ground
  • 45 g palm sugar
  • 45 ml soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 4 cm (40 g) ginger root, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 15 ml rice vinegar
  • 10 g black pepper, ground
  • 4 scotch bonnet red peppers / jalapenos peppers, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 5 g coarse sea salt
  • 1 lime, juice
  • Nutmeg, large pinch

Combine all the ingredients (except the chicken), blend into a loose paste. Coat chicken in the paste, marinade in refrigerator overnight.

Bake on a grill pan in the oven at 180ºC for an hour, turning and basting after half an hour, or grill turning constantly. Alternatively do what the Jamaicans do, cook it slowly over a wood-fired barbeque.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Allspice | Scotch Bonnet