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By Minna LaFortune

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 26, 2016: Dumplings are a favorite food in Caribbean meals whether boiled, fried or even roasted. In general Caribbean dumplings are bland to the taste, making them versatile  to pair with any cooked meats, fish or sauteed vegetables or even with melted butter. Recently I have seen changes to the Caribbean’s boiled and fried dumplings that I find very interesting and welcoming.

Dumplings are made from wheat flour, whole wheat flour, banana flour, cassava or breadfruit flour. Boiled dumplings are usually served with lunch or dinner paired with salted cod fish, mackerel, herring, shad, or fresh fish – snapper, parrot, butter, jack , goat or doctor fish – or salted fish with vegetables such as calaloo, cabbage, or ackees all cooked with sautéed onions , tomatoes thyme and scallions. They can also be paired with cooked meats such as curry chicken, stewed chicken or beef.

Boiled Dumplings

Cornmeal is sometimes added to the various flours to give the boiled dumplings a greater texture and thickness. The amount of cornmeal will depend on one’s preference.

Fried dumplings or Johnny Cakes are used mainly as a breakfast food and served with salted fish cod fish, mackerel, herring, shad) or salted fish with calaloo, cabbage or Ackee.

Most people love their fried dumplings crisp and hot.  In Jamaica, Ackee and Salted cod fish (which is Jamaica’s National dish) is served regularly with fried dumplings as a breakfast food. Avocado and fried plantains are often paired with the Ackee and salt cod fish and fried dumplings. Fried dumplings are usually small and round and made from wheat flour.

Festival, which is a long dumpling, is usually paired with fried fresh fish or Escoveitched Fish. Festival is made with wheat flour and corn meal and sugar.

I recently attended a cocktail reception and I was served fried dumplings cut in half and stuffed with Ackee and salted codfish. It was the rave of the party!

While I have not tasted tiny boiled dumplings balls covered in salted cod fish and finely chopped onions, I believe that dish is a real Caribbean innovation.

Today I will share with you the recipe for fried dumpling balls with boneless cubed Escoveitched King Fish.

Flour Dumplings Ingredients

  • Two cups of flour
  • 1-and-a-1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 ozs of butter cut in pieces
  • Ice cold water
  • Salt to taste
  • Grounded White pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil
  • Method
  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Rub butter and seasoned flour with your fingers until blended.
  • Add cold water.
  • Mix into a dough
  • Put dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from refrigerator and form dough into tiny (size of a quarter) dumpling balls.
  • Fry in hot oil until golden and fully cooked.
  • Remove and allow to drain on paper towels. Put in over to keep warm.
  • (Makes 20 dumpling balls)

Escoveitched King Fish Ingredients

  •  2 large thick slices of King Fish
  • Salt
  • Grounded Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • I/2 scotch bonnet pepper
  • I finely chopped large onion
  • 6 pimento balls
  • 1 and a 1/4 cup Vegetable oil


  • Put King fish slices into a large shallow bowl.
  • Add lemon juice, salt and ground black pepper to fish.
  • Allow to marinate for 4 hours.
  • Put 1 cup of oil in heavy skillet and pat dry fish.
  • Fry King fish until brown, crispy and cooked.
  • Put fish in a shallow Pyrex dish.

Vinaigrette Sauce

  • In a separate skillet add 1/4 cup of oil.
  • When oil gets hot add chopped onions and pepper.
  • Sautee onions and pepper – do not burn.
  • Add vinegar and pimiento balls and allow sauce to boil for 3 minutes.
  • Turn the flame off.
  • Pour the hot vinaigrette sauce over fish.
  • Cover for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove bones from fish and cut fish into cubes.
  • Remove pimiento balls.
  • Turn fish over into vinaigrette sauce.
  • Using a tooth pick, arrange fish and tiny dumplings together.
  • Garnish with or add red and green sweet pepper cubes.

Bon Appetite!


EDITOR’S NOTE: Minna LaFortune is a trained Caribbean caterer and also president, Society for the Advancement of the Caribbean Diaspora (SACD). Check out her food group on Facebook at


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