Caribbean Dumpling Stew

Caribbean Dumpling Stew

Last week I had a dream that my mom and I opened a Pollo Tropical franchise.  I’ve been seeing Pollo Tropical restaurants all over Atlanta.  I have only ever seen them before when I spent the summer of 2003 in Miami.  I ate there a lot and loved it.  According to my friend who’s not only a Miami native, but also Cuban, their food is the real deal.  I looked at their menu the other day and saw Caribbean chicken stew, and the idea of all these flavors excited me so much, that I starting reading a bunch of recipes for Caribbean stew online and gathered what everyone on Top Chef calls a “flavor profile.” 

This soup may or may not be authentic (it’s not), but it definitely feels Caribbean, and it’s one of the few types of soup I’d eat in the summer because Caribbean always feels summery anyway. 

I’ve been making chicken and dumplings for years, cheating by using canned biscuits instead of making my own dumplings.  I like them, and no one has ever complained.  I get a can of Grands-type biscuits and cut each one into 8 dumplings.

This soup is pretty spicy, so you can cut back on the red pepper flakes if you want, and also possibly serve it with some sour cream or yogurt to cool it down. 


Total Time:  1 hour and 15 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty Level:  Easy



2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 red onion, small diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and small diced

1 green bell pepper, small diced

2 tablespoons turmeric

2 tablespoons coriander

1 tablespoon allspice

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1- 2 inch knob of ginger, minced

2 cups frozen cut okra

1 ½ frozen corn

6 cups water

2 tablespoons vegetable base

2 cans light coconut milk

1 can of biscuits, cut into small pieces

Fresh cilantro

Sour cream or yogurt (optional)



  1. Add the coconut oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. As it melts, add the diced onion, sweet potato, and green bell pepper.
  2. Give it a stir, and add the turmeric, coriander, allspice, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. Saute everything for about 8 minutes, until somewhat tender.
  3. Add the ginger, and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the okra, corn, water, vegetable base, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce to a simmer, and add the dumpling pieces. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to gently separate the dumplings, turn them, and recover. Cook for an additional 45 minutes, turning the dumplings every 10 minutes or so.
  7. Serve hot with fresh cilantro and sour cream or yogurt, if desired.

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