Just like fried fish, the dish that consists of boiled meat and vegetables can be found in every culture. We have our nilagang baka of which the bulalo is a regional variation, there’s the Irish Dublin coddle, the Chilean caldo pata, New England boiled dinner, Welsh cawl… the variety is endless because each one uses the meat and vegetables most abundant in the region. Sometimes, the meat and vegetables soup integrate the starch component of the meal, as with the Japanese ramen, the Vietnamese pho, the Western chicken and dumpling soup and the Chinese wonton soup.
This tripe and dumplings soup is basically a boiled meat and vegetables soup. The authentic Caribbean recipe will contain slices of plantain which we don’t have here in Asia. What we have is the saba banana. I retained the vegetables more traditionally associated with the soup like okra and carrots. And, of course, I also retained the dumplings. A final note about the dumplings before I go into the recipe.
Dumplings mean different things in different cultures. We might know them as rolled stuffed dough that has been steamed or fried, in some cultures, dumplings don’t have any filling at all. Filling or no filling, dumplings have a common denominator — they are all cooked balls of dough. The dough may be made from flour or floury (starchy) vegetables like potatoes. The dumplings in this dish were made with flour, water, salt and sugar.
Caribbean-inspired beef tripe and dumplings soup
For the dumplings
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- enough water to form a soft dough
- Rinse the tripe well. Cut into bite-size pieces. Place in a pot, cover with water, throw in a couple of cloves of garlic, a whole onion, a few pieces of peppercorns, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf. Add a tablespoonful of salt. Simmer for about four hours or until tender. I used a pressure-cooker so the cooking time was cut down to two hours.
- During the last half hour of simmering, prepare the dumplings. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Add water, a tablespoonful at a time, to form a soft dough.
- Knead the dough for a minute, form into a ball, wrap with cling film and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- When the tripe is done, taste the broth and add more salt, if needed.
- Add the vegetables and saba bananas.
- Take the dough, cut into eight to 10 portions (no need to get OC about the shape but, if you must, then go ahead and roll the pieces into balls) and drop into the simmering soup.
- Cover the pot and simmer for twenty minutes. Taste the broth one last time and add more salt, if necessary.
- Serve the soup hot.