We can’t believe how such a tasty dish can be so simple – made from just four main ingredients: flour, sugar, salt and water (plus oil for frying). You can add other ingredients, such as butter and cornmeal, but – trust us – it’s as good with just the Fantastic Four. One trick to making dumplings is to know that they get better with confidence and practice. Be in control of the dough while kneading – don’t let the dough control you. There are multiple ways to create a perfect dumpling shape and everyone insists that their dumplings are the best, not just in taste, but looks as well. What you do is completely up to you. Nan always says just go with how you feel – or what’s comfortable!
Indulgent and highly addictive, these fried dumplings are a staple of the Caribbean plate – warm and crunchy, yet soft in the middle. They’re also one of our favourite things to eat all day, every day, with everything.
- 500 g self-raising flour
- A ‘likkle bit’ of sugar
- A ‘likkle bit’ of salt
- 1 tsp butter (optional)
- 200–250 ml water
- Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
These go well with Jamaica's national dish, ackee and saltfish.
1. To make the dough, put the flour into a bowl, add the sugar and salt, then mix together with your hands or a spoon. Rub in the butter, if using. Add the water a small amount at a time, kneading it in with your hands, until you have a large ball of dough. It’ll be a bit sticky at first, but after kneading for a couple of minutes the dough should be soft and should not stick to your hands (if your dough is too dry, add a likkle more water and knead it into the dough; if too wet, dash in some flour).
2. To shape your dumplings, tear off a golf ball-sized piece of dough and place it in the palm of one hand. Then move the dough around in a circular motion with your other palm. Once a ball shape is created, gently press the ball down, and with your thumb press a dimple in the centre of the dumpling.
3. Pour enough oil for shallow-frying into a frying pan and place over a high heat. Once hot, turn down to medium–high, so you don’t burn up the dumplings. Then, in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, add the dumplings carefully to the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until golden brown on the first side. Prick them with a fork to help the heat get to the centre of the dumplings, then turn and cook for a few more minutes until golden all over. Drain the fried dumplings on kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil.
Recipe from Original Flava: Caribbean Recipes from Home by Craig and Shaun McAnuff (Bloomsbury, HB, $49.99).