Dumplings – a Jamaican recipe

Dumplings – a Jamaican recipe

“I remember my dad roasting bread fruit outside – the smell, the communal feel as we gathered outside with our neighbours,….when it’s warm and just cooked – oh my gosh, I want to go and buy some now!”


For Kaye and her family, the preparation of food is as meaningful as the eating.

She says “I grew up in Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica – my Dad is from the Island of Dominica, so in our home there were three languages: English, Patois, and French Creole – but the main one was English”.

“Stew peas and rice was a staple food – it fills you up easily. It’s made with red kidney beans, coconut milk, a bit of meat, in a big Jamaican Dutchi pot. And you put some spinners in it – spinners are dumplings, which you roll to elongate the shape – which is where the name comes from. As children we loved them!”

“Then on Saturdays we’d always have soup – not a thin soup, but a really thick one, which was really filling with things like yam, Cho-Cho vegetable (like a squash), and of course spinners. I’d really look forward to that soup every week”.

Kaye’s Jamaican roots continue to influence her cooking as she lives with her family here in Bristol

“We all try to cook in my family: I have a teenage girl – she’s a chef in her own right. She made Cinnamon Danish she learned from school the other day, it looked like something you’d buy from a shop!

My youngest is really hands on – he’s not scared to prepare a fish and get stuck right in!

My husband is very good at plantain and dumplings so that we leave to him! He’s also very good at fruit punches – any fruit he can make into a juice.He makes a wonderful Jamaican juice using only the skin of a pineapple and at Christmas he’s the sorrel king!

My kitchen is a fun place to be! A place where we can converse….talk about food…. normalize it. So we all get involved.

Inspired by Kaye’s food story, here is a recipe for Jamaican Spinners:


1 cup all purpose flour

A pinch of salt

Water to make a stiff dough


1. Mix flour and salt together in a bowl.

2. Add enough water to make stiff dough.

3. Once the dough is formed, pinch off about 1/2 oz of dough and roll it between your hands to from a long, thin cylindrical shape; Repeat until all of the dough has been transformed to spinners.

4. Add spinners to soup or stews 15 minutes before the dish is due to finish cooking.