Soups are a big part of Jamaican cuisine and are usually made and sold on the street corner, local restaurants or at home mostly on Saturdays.
Jamaican soups are quite different than soup in other parts of the world. Jamaican soups include a wide range of items including ground provision, vegetables, meat, seasoning, herbs and dumplings. Soups are so common in Jamaica, that there are many different types. Here are the five most popular Jamaican soups.
Chicken foot or chicken soup is very common in Jamaican, in fact, it is the most popular type of soup. The feet of the chicken/chicken parts are normally cleaned and set to boil in addition to pumpkin which gives the soup its rich yellow color. Other ingredients including yellow yam, dasheen, Irish potato, dumplings, scallion, thyme and cock-soup mix are normally added to make the soup rich. A scotch bonnet pepper is also usually added to enhance the taste. Chicken foot soup is so common that vendors normally show up to local events such as football games and stage shows to supply patrons with the much-demanded chicken/chicken foot soup.
Red Peas Soup
This is another favorite among households. Jamaicans love to cook red/kidney peas. It is a major ingredient in the rice and peas meal traditionally eaten on a Sunday, and this love for peas is so strong that it is also a key ingredient in soup. Red peas soup is prepared by boiling the peas and preferred meat, mostly beef, oxtail or chicken back/parts until cooked. Ground provisions and similar ingredients included in chicken/chicken foot/pumpkin soup are also added to this type of soup. Red peas soup is super tasty and rich in fibre due to the peas.
Jamaica is an island- a piece of land surrounded by water, which means, fishing is a common practice. Therefore, it would be impractical for there not to be a type of soup in which fish is the main ingredient. Fish tea/soup is a bit different from chicken/pumpkin and red peas soup. With fish tea, the fish is added to a pot of water and set to boil, yam, green bananas, dumplings, carrots, scallion, thyme and, scotch bonnet pepper are added. Instead of cock-soup mix, fish tea mix is added to season the mixture. Unlike red peas and chicken/pumpkin soups, this mixture is a bit thinner, and it is always recommended that dumplings be added due to the risk that bones in fish may stick one in the throat and the belief that dumplings may dislodge them in such cases. Despite the risk of one swallowing a bone, fish tea is delicious and will continue to be a favorite among Jamaicans, especially seafood lovers.
Mannish water is also another delicious soup that Jamaicans just love so much. The main ingredient in mannish water is goat meat-usually the belly of the goat, including intestines, in some cases, the head of the goat is added. Yam, coconut, green bananas, dumplings, thyme, scallion and scotch bonnet peppers are added to give the soup flavor. Mannish water is customarily served in cups at funerals or nine-nights.
This is a vegetable-based soup that is super spicy. It is made with coconut milk, callaloo, okra, scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, onions and dumplings. Before serving, the soup is seasoned with salt and black pepper, and it is often garnished with minced scotch bonnet peppers. Although the soup is vegetable-based as stated before, some persons may desire meat and pig’s tail or salted beef may be added.
Just writing this article makes me want a cup of each of these soups. If you decide to make some, have a bowl for me as well. Thank you and do enjoy!