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Jamaican Stew – Vegan Style

I’m so excited to share with you the first ever reader submission to T-Bones and Tofu.  I am posting this recipe as submitted with a big dose of gratitude to my friend – and reader – Jonathan Lee.  Jon sent me a text on one of our cold, wet Houston days a couple of weeks ago to share that he had made a big pot of Jamaican stew via a vegetarian adaptation of a family recipe.  The best part?  Jon’s not even vegetarian.  (But his brother is, so the part where we cook for those we love rings clear here.) 

This stew features a blend of root vegetables (see ambiguous listings below), some additional veggies and a protein (black beans).  But what really makes it pop is the addition of dumplings!  (Made from “dough stuff” as specified by Jon.)  What is it about those little balls of dough, cooked in broth that immediately invoke the feelings of comfort food?

There is a rich history of dumplings in the European tradition, and even in China in the form of the pot sticker, but I’ve found little on how the dumpling entered the staples of Jamaican cuisine.  I can speculate this tradition was brought to the Caribbean by British settlers.  However, the recipe below relies not just on the liberal addition of hot sauce for authenticity but on its lineage.  (Jon is a first generation immigrant.)

I learnt this recipe from my brother who probably learnt it from my mother, but each of us cook it their own way and so feel free to modify it any way you want.

The stew recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of vegetable stock
  • 6 Red potatoes
  • 2 Large carrots
  • Some other vegetable if you want.
  • 4 Medium size mushrooms
  • 1 Can of black beans
  • About 1 ½ cups vegetable medley
  • Some kind of hot sauce
  • Some random seasonings
  • About 1 ½ cups of flour

Preparation:

  • Pour the vegetable stock into large pot and bring to rolling boil.
  • Cut up potatoes and add to stock when rolling boil is reached.
  • Cut up carrots and add about 5-10 min, depending on how squishy you want the carrots to turn out, after potatoes.
  • Add other vegetable if you are using them shortly after the carrots unless they are of the already squishy type that don’t take long to cook, then add those later.
  • Add hot sauce and seasoning randomly throughout cooking to flavor according to your own taste.
  • When potatoes start to feel soft cut up and add mushrooms, then vegetable medley, and beans.
  • Pour flour into bowl and slowly add in a little bit of water and mix.  Keep slowly adding water until the flour stick to itself and forms a dough type material.
  • Take small chunk of dough stuff and roll it into a small ball and toss in stew.  Repeat this until you have no dough stuff left.
  • Cook for another 10-15 min, then stop cooking it and remove from heat.
  • Now eat, drink, be merry, and don’t forget to claim this recipe as your own!
  • (And for the carnivores this is also awesome with lamb, cut up beef, and a great dish for that pesky leftover turkey.  Just add pre-browned or cooked meat somewhere around the carrot phase.)

I have done this with broccoli as well but cauliflower might work better.  I hope this is vaguely clear and works for you.

Enjoy!  And please be sure to share your recipe submissions at tbonesandtofu@gmail.com.

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