Fried dumplings are a favorite staple food found just about everywhere in the Caribbean. They are flat fried buttery dough generally served for breakfast or as a snack any time of day. Caribbean fried dumplings are moist and fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. They are best served warm with a dash of icing or with a touch of your favorite spice.
Traditionally called Johnny Cakes, fried dumplings were packed to take on long journeys or trips. Today they are commonly paired with breakfast dishes such as Salt fish, Callaloo, Ackee, eggs or corn beef hash. Caribbean dumplings come in a wide variety of forms. They are very popular at street side vendors, in casual dining restaurants and in private homes.
Basically, Caribbean dumplings come in two different varieties. The festival type includes cornmeal, sugar and cinnamon. They are served with spicy meats such as jerk pork or jerk chicken. The traditional fried dumpling is made with just flour, salt and baking powder. Sometimes cornmeal is used. Both types are kneaded into dough, shaped into balls and then fried in oil or lard until golden in color.
Try cornmeal dumplings for a nice variation. They are made with the same ingredients as flour dumplings; just add a little cornmeal to the flour for a nice texture.
Add a dollop of corned beef to the dough pieces before frying. You can also add cheddar cheese, or both cheese and corned beef. You might also want to try other variations such as onions, tomato, fish, scotch bonnet peppers, black pepper or other desired herbs. For something sweet; add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and/or bananas. When making sweet dumplings, make sure and add an egg and a little cornmeal. Generally, ½ cup cornmeal and 1 ½ cup flour is the best ratio.