Contributed by Tracie Blake
Dumplings! Dumplings! Wonderful Dumplings! Tasty Jamaican-sytle dumplings are a delicious addition to every meal.
We have dumplings with ackee & saltfish, dumplings with chicken, dumplings in soups, dumplings with tin mackerel and dumplings with corned beef.
Dumplings are prepared boiled or fried. The traditional main ingredients for making dumplings are simply flour, water and salt.
And still other additions and substitutions have been made over generations in households depending on taste and liking.
Boiled dumplings are prepared by mixing flour and salt together in a bowl. Water is then added to the mixture a little at a time. The mixture is then kneaded by hand until a soft consistent wad of dough is formed. The dough is then pulled apart piece by piece and each piece is rolled in the palm of the hand.
It is then flattened and shaped in a circle while using the thumb to make an indentation in the centre. It is then placed in a pot of boiling water and cooked for about 15 minutes.
Fried dumplings or Johnny Cakes are prepared by mixing flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Butter is then diced into cube-like pieces and added to the mixture. Milk is then added to the mixture a little at a time.
The mixture is then kneaded by hand until a soft consistent wad of dough is formed. The dough is then pulled apart piece by piece and each piece is rolled in the palm of the hands into balls in the size of golf balls.
It is then placed in a pan of oil and fried until golden brown all around.
Whole wheat flour is sometimes used in place of regular flour. The addition of cornmeal, sugar and vanilla is used for the traditional and exciting festival.
Another delicious twist on Jamaican Dumplings is referred to as "fritters". These are fried and are prepared by mixing flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Water is then added to the other ingredients.
The mixture is stirred to a soft pancake-like mixture. The mixture is then spooned into a frying pan of oil and fried until golden brown on both sides.
Restaurateurs and other cooks have added another twist to dumplings where they stuff them with cooked meat and vegetables of choice. Common stuffing includes chicken and callaloo among others.
So yes, dumplings are an integral part of any Jamaican main course. It’s simply not complete without it.
And by the way we also call them "Jack" and "Cart Wheels" too!
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