In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Grandma’s Split Peas And Dumpling Soup.


This is as classic a Caribbean soup can get, as it’s loosely based on a thick dhal (yellow split peas) and dumpling soup my grandmother would make on a Saturday (have you heard of Soup Saturday?). Truly simplicity at it’s best! My grandmother would usually flavor hers with bits of Salted Cod, but we’ll be using salted Pig tail in this version.

You’ll Need…

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (any oil you like using)
1 large onion (diced)
5 cloves of garlic (smashed)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
3-4 lbs salted pig tail (prepped)
1 1/2 cups yellow split peas (washed)
2 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups coconut milk
5-8 cups water
5 medium potatoes (1/4)
1 large carrot (cut into 1/4 inch coins)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon brown sugar
pinch of salt (for dumplings)
3/4-1 cup water for the dumplings
2 tablespoon parsley (chopped)

  • You can replace the salted pig’s tail with salted Cod fish. Smoked bones or turkey will work just as great. Or feel free to rock it without any of those and keep it vegetarian.

Start by prepping the salted pig’s tail. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (you can ask your butcher to do this). Give it a good rinse with cool water, then into a deep pot with water (cover). Bring to a boil and simmer for 40-50 minutes. This will make it tender and remove most of the salt it was cured in. Drain and set aside for now. or Feel free to boil for 30 minutes, drain, add new water, bring back to a boil and cook another 30 minutes if you want.

Put your huge soup pot on medium flame, add the oil followed by the onion, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper (use and pepper you may have on hand and in the amount you can handle). Turn the heat down to low and let it gently cook for 3 minutes.

Add the pre-cooked salted pigtails, black pepper and Caribbean Green Seasoning, followed by the washed split peas. Stir well.

Now add the coconut milk and 4 cups of water. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Then reduce it to a gentle boil and cook until the peas are fully cooked and falling apart. About 1 hr and 15 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium, then add the potato and carrots. Bring back to a boil (add more water if it’s too thick). I added 2 more cups of water at this point as when you add the flour dumplings it will further thicken.

As it comes back up to a boil, lets make the dumplings. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt, then add half of the water and make a soft dough. Add more water if needed and if it’s too wet, add a bit more flour. Knead for 3-5 mins, then set aside to rest for 5 minutes. I did place a damp paper towel over it to prevent the dough from forming a skin.

On a flour dusted surface, roll out the dough ball as if you were making a pizza or Sada Roti. I like my dumplings (following how grandma would do it) thin and flat. After the dough is about 1/8 of an inch, use a sharp knife or pizza cutter and cut into 1 inch squares.

Twenty minutes after adding the potato and carrot, add these completed dumplings to the pot, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick together. It will only take about 5 minutes to cook.

Some housekeeping. Pay attention to the thickness of the soup and add more water accordingly, as it will thicken considerably as it cools. Taste for salt and adjust to your liking… I didn’t add any salt to this pot as the remaining salt in the salted pig tail was enough. The scotch bonnet pepper we used can be spicy so be mindful of that and if you don’t have scotch bonnet or prefer something like a Habanero or Jalapeno.. rock that! Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling hot peppers.

Toss in the parsley and enjoy

An incredible soup with some basic ingredients. While this is very TASTY, for some reason it could never taste as good as my grandmother’s. Side Note… there were times she would add eddoes and yam to the soup.

Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @ CaribbeanPot.com/CookBook/

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