Fried dumpling is a Jamaican staple that is easy to make. It consists of four ingredients, all-purpose flour, baking powder, water and salt. Some variations add a pat of butter to the recipe while others substitute milk for water. Dumplings are a cheap way to bulk up a meal where flour is cheap and meat or fish expensive. Usually found at the breakfast table, along with fried ripe plantains, boiled green bananas and roast breadfruit, dumplings are torn apart with your fingers and used to sponge the delicious gravy from saltfish (bacalao) cooked in coconut oil, rundown mackerel or corned beef with scotch bonnet peppers. This fried dough is brown and crispy on the outside but remains soft and chewy on the inside. Children love to split dumplings in half and spread grape jelly in the middle; it’s a sweet treat, especially with a hot cup of Milo or Horlicks.
Try this recipe at home; you’ll see for yourself how easy it is:
Jamaican Fried Dumpling
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time just until the mixture is wet enough to form into a ball. The dough should be a firm consistency. Knead briefly. The dough should not stick to the fingers when done.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Break off pieces of the dough and shape into a patty – kind of like a flat biscuit. Place just enough of the dumplings in the pan so they are not crowded. Fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels before serving.