Jamaican Red Peas Soup
Is it Saturday? Then you know it’s time for some good Jamaican Red Peas Soup. I don’t know what it is about Saturdays but without fail growing up Saturday was the day to indulge in a hot bowl of soup. Whether it was red peas soup, corn soup, chicken foot soup (can’t believe I used to eat that) or pumpkin soup, this was the day.
WHY DO CARIBBEAN PEOPLE HAVE SOUP ON A SATURDAY?
According to historical research and folklore the Saturday soup tradition can be traced back to the native Tainos. The Taínos were Arawak people who were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida regions. It is believed they kept stock pots to collect meat, fish and vegetables for soup. Very interesting indeed, I’m always fascinated to learn the origins of our modern day traditions.
WHAT INGREDIENTS GO IN THE SOUP
The heart of our Jamaican red peas soup is you guessed it “Red Peas”. By red peas we are referring to red kidney beans. Red kidney beans come in a few different colours. Red kidney beans come in either dark or light varieties. Both dark and light are large, kidney-shaped beans with a firm texture and hold up well in soups or other dishes that cook for a long time. Light Red Kidney Beans have a light red/pink glossy skin. Whilst on the other hand Dark Red Kidney Beans have a deep, glossy red skin.
Generally I tend to stick with light red kidney beans but of course you can use dark red if you would like for a deeper looking soup. Traditional red peas soup would have meat items such as salted pig tail, turkey bones or stewed beef; of course this is a vegan blog so those are all out. But not to worry our meatless, vegan soup will still taste delicious. Actually it will taste better in my opinion – the key is knowing how to combine our ingredients and season correctly.
We will utilize ground provisions to make our soup NICE!!! Ground provisions is how West Indians describe traditional root vegetable staples such as yams, dasheen (taro), sweet potatoes, eddos, cassava, etc. All of which of course are harvested from the earth, thus “ground” provisions.
WHAT ABOUT SWEET CORN
Another common item to drop in our red peas soup is some delicious sweet corn. This adds some sweetness and variety to the pot. typically you would break the corn into 3-4 pieces and cook along with the soup.
To thicken the soup a bit I like to combine a little of the soup mix, coconut milk, a few kernels of the corn and blend until smooth. I then add this corn mix to the soup to thicken and add a bit of richness.
PREPARING THE KIDNEY BEANS
BEANS, BEANS, BEANS – We all know beans have a certain amount of “gas” producing ability. So as noted in the recipe below you will definitely want to soak the beans overnight to reduce the “gassy” effect. I recommend soaking overnight with a piece of whole ginger. Draining and adding fresh water every 3-4 hours (if possible). When ready to use drain and rinse with fresh water.
JAMAICAN RED PEAS SOUP RECIPE
Jamaican Red Peas Soup
- 6 cups Water
- 1.5 cups Red Kidney Beans Light or Dark
- 2 cups Jamaican Yellow Yams Cubed
- 1 cup Jamaican Sweet Potato Cubed
- 4 Yellow Corn Cut 1/3 Cubes
- 2 Carrots Diced
- 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
- 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
- 2 Scallion
- 3 Thyme
- 2 Garlic
- 6 Pimento
- 1 Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon All Purpose Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Irie All Natural Vegetable Seasoning Optional
- 1 cup Flour
- 1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
- 1/3 cup Water
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
Degassing The Beans (Overnight)
- Soak the beans overnight with a piece of whole ginger. Drain and add fresh water every 3-4 hours (if possible). When ready to use drain and rinse with fresh water.
Prepare Your Spinners (Dumpling)
- Mix your flour, cornmeal, salt with approx. 1/3 cup of water. Knead like dough and firm. Add more flour or cornmeal if too soft. You will break off thumb-size amount and roll into a cylindrical shape – see photos for example.
- Bring six cups of water to boil
- Add rinsed red kidney beans and cook on high heat until tender (Approx. 35-50 minutes)
- Add yams, sweet potato, corn, carrots, spinners (dumplings)
- Add thyme, scallions, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento, coconut milk
- Season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, all purpose seasoning, Irie all natural vegetable seasoning (optional).
- Cook on medium heat for approximately 20-30 minutes. Soup is ready when yams, potatoes, corn are tender.
- Adjust seasoning if desired. If necessary thicken with 1tsp. cornstarch and 1tsp. cold water.