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Jamaican Oxtail Stew…and twenty questions I can’t answer about you

This past weekend was my bridal shower, the first of a long series of wedding shenanigans to follow. Usually there are a few elements to a successful bridal shower: piles of finger foods, chic pinterest-worthy decorations, gifts and group games. Thanks to a group of very creative and sometimes sneaky friends, the game part became the most memorable part of the occasion.

As soon as I had walked into the living room, my fiance Y’s face projected on the big screen caught my eye. Confusion and hilarity ensued. Turned out that my bridesmaid had conducted a skype interview with him in secret the week prior, and that the various questions she had asked him, she would ask me to test how well we “know” each other. I say interview, but it was much more like an interrogation, partly because both Y and I stumbled through the questions, barely getting a quarter of them right, and partly because the bridesmaid kept asking questions that had no absolute single answer. For instance, what is Y’s favorite band or song, what is my least favorite food, what is the most annoying trait of Y. There are so many to that last one….just kidding. The game proved its comical effect, and brought out many surprising facts like how I don’t care for burgers and fast food, to the disbelieving grunt of many.

Afterwards that night, Y and I compared our answers to most of the questions and laughed over our differing responses and poor memory. But also, these questions got me thinking, when I was in high school, I did use to have a favorite color, a favorite musician or a most annoying pet peeve. What happened to them after I’ve entered into my mid-twenties? The answers to most questions requiring a specific answer became more and more vague, and my taste for good and bad became much more grey and somewhere in the middle of a spectrum rather than the extremes. Maybe I’ve lost a sense of judgment and opinion over many things, but I have an inkling that my interest has also diversified and tolerance heightened after years of rounding out the edges. At some point, I can no longer proudly proclaim a favorite or least favorite but am able to embrace more and see the virtue in them. Just a different angle at life, as I would say.

Jamaican oxtail stew1

Anyhow, I will update everyone with more wedding celebrations to come. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the free time I’ve had and the three more months that I have to live in my apartment with a fully equipped kitchen before I move on to some small and dingy one-hundred-years old apartment for residency. That calls for more adventurous dishes and luxuriant recipes, one of which is the Jamaican oxtail stew I made. Make this and you’ll be glad to have finger-sticking-goodness all weeknight long!

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Jamaican Oxtail Stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print


  • 2 lbs oxtails
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 small potatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 Tbsp allspice or star anise
  • 4 dry red pepper
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat 2 Tbsp of canola oil in a large pot. Sear oxtails with salt and pepper until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer oxtails to a separate plate for later use.

In the same pot, add tomato sauce, diced onion, ginger and garlic and saute until onion is soft, for about 7 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until smooth, for about 2 minutes.

Add oxtail back to the pot and add beef stock, potatoes and spices/red chili pepper. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to medium-low, keep the stew at a simmer for 2 hours.

Add brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and cook over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced to desired amount, about 10 minutes. Serve over steamed rice!



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