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Jamaican Dumplings...The Whole Dough Issue #004
July 19, 2004

I have had some inquiries about dumplings that cause me get this information out to everyone this month. Although this is the time of the year when most people Barbeque or Jerk, I will show you how to add a few Jamaican dumplings to the line up…this will make your cooking/party very special.

Well to start, let me give you the usual names for Jamaican dumplings: Cartwheel, Jack, Johnny Cake or Fried Dumpling, Festival, dumpling.

Yes all Jamaican dumplings are made with flour, and you can also add other ingredients when making Jamaican dumplings to spice them up a little, and just be plain creative.

You’ll see later.

Ok this is a recipe for just regular boiled dumplings:

½ lb. All purpose Flour

1 cup Water

½ tsp. Salt

Mix flour and salt together in a cooking bowl. Add half a cup of water to the mix, and then use your hand to knead the flour. The flour will look like crumbs; when this happens add a little water each time, and knead until the dough is made and the water is finished. If you need to add a little bit more water please do so, but do not let the dough get sappy and soft.

Now tear off pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball and place them in the same bowl for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, go ahead and do whatever else you have to do to past the time.

Come back and take the golf ball size pieces of dough and roll them between your palms to make them feel smooth. If you are right-handed, use the right heel of your palm and press the piece of dough until it is flat.

But you must leave a dent in the middle of the dough. (I don’t know why, it’s been that way forever) It’ll cook faster I suppose.

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add the flat pieces of dough to the pot. Cook for 25 minutes and… Voila! Dumplings are ready. To make a Cartwheel, make these same dumplings bigger…like a cartwheel (duh?)

Fried Dumplings or Johnny Cakes:

2 cups Self Rising Flour

1 cup cold Milk or Half and Half

1 oz. Butter

1 cup Cooking Oil

Mix ingredients together, except cooking oil, and knead to make dough. Make the dough pieces the same as explained above.

Heat the cooking oil in the skillet, and fry dough pieces for three minutes on each side. It’s imperative that you keep the heat on low for these dumplings or they will be hard on the sides and soft around the edges. You can serve these with eggs, fish, callaloo, ackee, or meat. I’ve had them with corned beef hash.

To make Jack use the same ingredients as fried dumplings, except the butter. You will have to use half the amount of milk, and use water to make up the rest of the quantity.Make the dough pieces twice the size, and use a fork to press the dough while they are frying. That’s the fact Jack!


4 oz. Cornmeal

4 oz. All Purpose Flour

2½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp Salt

1 ½ tbsp Sugar

4 oz. Cold Water

Mix all ingredients together, except water. Add the water to the mix and knead to make soft dough. Make long and slender like spinners.

Now deep fry the long spinners in cooking oil until brown. Remove the festival and lay on a paper towel to drain the oil.

This dumpling is usually served with fish, or Jerk Chicken.

More dumplings:

Add a spoon of canned corned beef to the dough pieces and make them into golf size balls and deep fry them. You can also substitute the corned beef with cheddar cheese, or add both.


*********************************************************** JAMAICA COOKING TIPS *********************************************************** When you’re making dumplings, instead of adding salt to the flour; add the salt to the water and make a salt and water solution.

Always make sure the water is boiling before you add the dumplings to the pot when you are about to cook dumplings and put two drops of oil into the pot.


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