I think it was about 6 years ago when for my birthday, we (my sister and I) surprised our parents with a visit down the islands. That visit marked the first time in about 15 years that my mom had all of her children in the country at the same time. My sister who lives in Trinidad knew of our planned visit, but my mom, dad and brother (who now lives in NY) didn’t – Yea! it was a good birthday gift for me… to all be under one roof. On that trip, we spent a couple days on the sister island of Tobago and one night while out a bar called “Shade” I recall my sister asking me if I’d like a cup of corn soup. Corn Soup? I had been away from the islands too long. I had no clue what corn soup was and I’ll be honest, a soup made from corn was not appealing to me. Long story short… it was another 3 years later that I had my first cup of corn soup. That one was from a street vendor around the savanna in Port Of Spain late one night.
Normally I like my soups with some sort of meat in it and there are times when I use salted pig tails in making this dish, but this time we’ll go strictly vegetarian. FYI – corn soup is one of those hearty meals on the go, you get after fetes (party / night club) and a meal that’s made it’s way into the fabric of good street food on the islands.
2-3 corn on the cob
2 tablespoon chopped shado beni (substitute – cilantro)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon chopped chives
3 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoon parsley
1 cup yellow split peas
1 scotch bonnet pepper (any hot pepper you like)
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 tablespoon salt
1 large sweet potato cubed
4 medium potato (I used Yukon gold) cubed
1 lb pumpkin (about 1 1/2 cups) cubed
1 can coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 can creamed corn
1 large carrot diced
EDIT: Seems I forgot to list the 1 cup of celery (special thanks to Renata for pointing this out)
* If you’re making this with salted pig tails, remember to pre-boil the pigtail first to remove some of the salt, and you may not need any added salt in the soup itself. The remaining salt from the pig tail will be enough to flavour the entire dish.
For the dumplings…
- 3/4 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- water *
* Add 2-3 tablespoon water when making the dough for the dumplings and add more as necessary. You’re trying to achieve a firm dough.
Start by preparing the vegetables for the dish. Peel, cut, chop, cube etc. You’ll notice in the pic below that I cut the scotch bonnet into pieces, this is because I love the heat. Feel free to leave it whole in the dish and remove after cooking, if you’re concerned about the heat level. I also add the sprigs of thyme whole, but later in the cooking process I’ll fish them out of the pot.
With the cobs of corn all you have to do is clean them, rinse under cool water and cut into 1 inch pieces.
* I encountered a problem with my camera while putting this recipe together, so I do apologize for the lack of pics depicting the steps as I normally do.
In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat, then add the diced onions, garlic, celery, herbs and hot pepper (see my note about the pepper above). Let that saute for a couple minutes, then add the split peas and stir well. Now add everything else mentioned in the ingredients list above, except the pieces of corn and dumplings. Bring that up to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 70 minutes. The idea is to cook the split peas and allow everything else to cook-down and melt away into a lovely thick soup. Leave the pot slightly ajar and remember to keep stirring the pot.
After the 70 minutes, go ahead and add the pieces of corn and dumplings. Allow that to come back up to a boil and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes. Remember to keep stirring the pot and if you notice that it’s overly thick, feel free to add more water of vegetable stock if you have.
Basically all you’re doing is making a dough from the ingredients listed above, then allow that to sit for about 10 minutes. Then pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll that into small cigars using both hands.
NOTE: I’ve seen people add the sweet potato, pumpkin and potato later in he cooking process so it’s doesn’t melt away too much. But I like putting everything in the pot and allowing it to do it’s thing. Not only do I cube the potatoes and pumpkin rather large, I love my soup thick and rely on these ingredients melting away.
This makes enough soup that could easily fill 4 adults as a main course, and about 6-8 people as a starter. I encourage you to give this recipe a try as it’s very simple to follow along and it makes for a very hearty and tasty soup your entire family will love. Especially if you’re based in colder climates and you’re looking for something to warm you up on those cold winter nights. Or maybe you’re having a party this summer and you’d like to do as we do in Trinbago and have some soup for after the main festivities.
Share your thoughts below… maybe you have a different way of making this soup that you’d like to share? All comments are appreciated.