Provincial Trini

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While catching up with my brother, an occurrence that happens most times over internet messaging, today I made a well needed international call to Trinidad.  Whether typed out or spoken aloud, our light conversations always start off with “so, what yuh drinking these days?”  It sways back and forth from infrastructure – we joked about the fact that where I grew up in Trinidad, only just received pipe-born water.  We talk about fashion, culture and of-course food.  Adds reminder to send bro a Jerk Pork recipe.*

How we ended up speaking about dumplings, truly I don’t know, we were gung-ho on this Jerk Pork recipe.  
It was the rarest occasion that Ma made dumplings for us.   Even when customarily called to be eaten with Curried Crab and in hearty Corn and heavy meat-filled soups e.g. Beef and Cow Heel, per her “this wastage of flour” was most times omitted.  In Trinbago, dumplings are a cultural staple at river limes and carnival all-inclusive fetes but before the demand and glamour flour dumplings were provincial or peasant food – afforded by all and made with little effort.  

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Riced Potatoes

If presented, I will eat dumplings, it’s a great vehicle to sop up tons of rich, spicy gravy.  But given a choice I’d opt for the carb not as bland, or chewy – sorry dumpling lovers.  

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Potato dumpling dough, formed into a disc and ready to rest in the fridge.

I haven’t cooked in over a month.  Life happened and my day job tried to suck the love out me.  But I’m here now and my creative juices started back flowing, having been catapulted by hunger.  Trust. I get many single life cooking ‘aha’ food ideas when I’m starving.  Today, I’m back freestyling in my kitchen to prepare a meal for myself made from flour, potatoes and rainbow chard.  Ha, that sounds more like mystery basket items on a TV cooking competition right.

Instead of just boiling the potatoes to be eaten with the rainbow chard I planned on sauteing.  I figured why not tszuj it up by turning the plain ole boiled potatoes into potato dumplings, eaten with vegetables braised in coconut milk with tons of ginger and garlic.  Yummy!

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Notes
– In Trinidad, variations of dumplings are made with cassava and other ground provisions and cornmeal.  A favorite in Trinidad and Jamaica.
– The recipe is great for Vegans and Vegetarians and makes enough dumplings to give three generous servings.  Double the recipe if cooking for more people.
– Stiff dough will give you chewy dumplings, don’t over-knead it.  You want the dumplings to be light.
– Allow the dough to rest in between handling it.
– Can be made using leftover mashed potatoes.
– Once cooked, I tossed in coconut oil and herbs but you can use butter or olive oil.

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Potato Dumplings
1 ½ cups of Potatoes–cooked and riced
1 ½ cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Black Pepper

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Using a box grater, run the potatoes through the large side for coarsely riced potatoes.

In a medium bowl combine the riced potatoes, flour, salt and pepper.  Adding enough water (about ¾ – 1 cup) to create a soft dough.  If the dough is too sticky to form add more flour to create a smooth disc.  Place in the fridge to rest before forming. On a floured surface, cut portions of the dough and roll into long, thick “snakes”, then cut into bite-size pieces.  Return to the fridge to rest before dropping the dumplings into boiling water and cook for 15–20 minutes.  After, I tossed the dumplings in hot coconut oil, chopped parsley and thyme.

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