Culinary Tour 2010 – South of the Border: (7) Jamaica – Red Pea Soup

Next stop of our Culinary Tour is Jamaica. I was doing A LOT of research what dish I could make this week. I wasn’t really happy with any of my search results because Jamaicans use soooo many exotic ingredients that I’ve never heard of and which I definitely would not be able to buy here. I learned quite a lot about Jamaican cuisine, though. These are some traditional Jamaican meals:

So, I wasn’t really excited about Jamaican cuisine and decided to cook a Red Pea Soup. Follow the link if you want the recipe – I won’t list it here because none of us was really excited with the result. It was ok, but not something I will ever cook again. The only thing the kids liked about this soup were the spinners (dumplings made from flour, water and salt). I really DO love kidney beans, but the combination of coconut milk and kidney beans was just too weird. So,  I’m sorry to say that, but Jamaica is not among my Top 10 destinations foodwise. Hopefully some other co-travellers of the Culinary Tour have made something tastier so we won’t have to starve during our stay in Jamaica. See you next week in Haiti!

8 responses to “Culinary Tour 2010 – South of the Border: (7) Jamaica – Red Pea Soup

  1. I appreciate the honesty in this post. Truth is, our explorations are not always successful. I just posted my Jamaican dinner which happily was great. Take a look…perhaps you’ll give Jamaican food another chance.🙂

  2. I loved the rice and peas that I made for this stop!!!

  3. After we came back from our honeymoon in Jamaica, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out the food. We finally found some Jamaican ladies in town that shared some secrets. I make jerk chicken but leave out the peppers so the kids will eat it. After the chicken is finished marinading, I cook the marinade down into a sauce and add the peppers to that so we can still get the authentic jerk flavor. It’s hot, but it’s more about the balance of flavors than just fiery heat.

  4. There are so many ingredients in Jamaica that are not available here. What I really wanted to do for the tour was callaloo fritters but of course there was no callaloo to be found anywhere. I almost didn’t participate but was fortunate to find the uniq fruit🙂

  5. Yeah, kidney beans and coconut milk don’t sound good to me at all! I’m having trouble finding something in Haiti that seems edible. What will be made is a mystery to me so far.

  6. No two Jamaicans cook exactly the same.
    I have never put coconut milk in my red pea soup, nor have I ever had it with coconut milk.
    I do put coconut in my rice and peas.

    I can’t get a lot of Jamaican ingredients where I am now. So I substitiute something similar.
    I love callaloo soup, if I can’t get callaloo I substitute spinach.
    Even in Jamaica different plants are used to make callaloo soup.

    Don’t be put off if you don’t like one recipe – try another and adapt it to your taste.

    There are some Jamaican recipes on my website. You are welcome to try them … and leave a comment if like or don’t like

  7. I ate at the most incredible restaurant outside of Atlanta yesterday. I was caught in traffic on the Stone Mountain Hwy., tired and hungry, and spotted a sign for a small Carribean restaurant. I stopped and went in and ordered curried chicken, served with rice and peas and kale. Everything was so good! I was served a delicious tea, which left me wondering what was in it. It was a tea of many flavors, none of which I could pin down. The whole meal left me feeling revived and ready to continue my journey home.
    Before I left I ordered a takeout of red pea soup and had that for dinner last night. I’m speechless. It was probably the best soup I’ve ever had, second to a Persian soup with mint, tomato and mini meatballs. It was so good, I couldn’t bear to eat the whole thing at once, because then it would be over. This incredible soup consisted of red peas, potatoes, yam, “spinners” which I thought was spaghetti , beef, some vegetables, and a mystery ingredient. There were small, thinly sliced pieces of something orange and melon-like, with a greenish rind. It had all been slow-cooked for a long time. ( which is what your soup might have needed. Your photo looked nothing like the soup I had. )
    Can anyone help me our with the “melon”? I’d like to make this soup. And I’d also like to identify what kind of tea this was.
    Now I’m going to eat the second half of my soup and see if I can pinpoint some more ingredients.
    Thanks for any help.

  8. From the posted photo of the soup, it does not looked like it was cooked long enough. The kidney beans should be broken down and the soup should be thicker. Using canned coconut cream will help to make the broth creamy and adds a slight coconut flavour. I prefer to use a small cube of solid coconut cream for flavour while reducing the amount of fat.

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