Trinidadian Corn Soup – Perfect For The Caribbean OR Cold Weather

 

The Caribbean has a reputation for spicy food. Jerk, curry, pepper sauce – despite our already hot climate, we love our food hotter. But there’s one hot, extremely popular Trinidadian dish that left my American husband perplexed – corn soup. It is EVERYWHERE in my homeland. Sold on corners in high traffic nightlife districts, available for sale at every fete, and made with a loving and steady hand in homes all over Trinidad. Including my own.

Just about every Saturday, my sister Petal makes a big pot of her Trinidadian Corn and Beef Soup. Thick and comforting and nutritious, it’s a friend and family favorite and frequently we have “soup limes” (social gatherings where everyone comes over to eat soup)! My husband was surprised by that when we were last at home. His surprise wasn’t because of the social gathering aspect – Trinis love a lime! The surprise was that such a thick and hearty soup is so ubiquitous and popular in the Caribbean, when such soups are frequently cold-weather staples. My response – Trini corn soup is just THAT good. I love eating it at home in its native environment – most often out of a styrofoam cup on a pavement on Ariapita Avenue or Western Main Road in St. James, Trinidad. And I love making it for cold weather comfort food occasions, like this current frigid, snowy weather that’s hitting Chicago. A good bowl of Trini corn soup is a welcome taste of home for me, even while the weather outside remains frightful.

Trinidad corn soup

 

My sister Petal graciously shared her recipe, and when I tried to make it in Chicago I learned a few things by trial and error.

#1 – this will require some day-before preparation, and while you’re making it it requires attention and regular stirring. Don’t just let this sit in the pot while you check your social media because you could easily ruin a whole pot of soup without realizing it. I speak from experience.

#2 – not all of the ingredients are easy to find, and you’ll probably have to swap things out. Trying to make this myself made me realize how many varieties of delicious root vegetables (AKA “ground provision”) we use in Trinidadian cooking. When I tried to find eddoes and dasheen in Chicago, I was told that those are varieties of “taro root” and they likely had one kind but not the other. SO strange.

#3 – this recipe is HUGE and you can either make it and expect leftovers that will last a long time, or cut it down to suit you. The choice is yours!

Here’s my sister Petal’s recipe for Trinidad Corn Soup!

PETAL’S CORN & BEEF SOUP

Serves up to 10 – halve the ingredients for a smaller number of guests

Ingredients

2 lbs. lean cubed beef – seasoned at least night before

½ lb. split peas – pre-soaked – I use yellow but any color can be used

½ lb. salted beef – boiled separately then drained and added to soup pot – can substitute with cooked ham or pork sausage pieces

1 bag mini carrots cut into smaller bites

Salt & Black pepper to taste

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ lbs. mixed ground provisions cut into smaller pieces (sweet potato, eddoe, dasheen, cassava – use American name alternatives) ** I used sweet potato, rutabaga, and butternut squash

2 yellow plantains cut into rounds

½ cups cubed pumpkin ** I have used canned pumpkin, or butternut squash here instead

1 cup potato – cut smaller

2 cans kernel corn

2 cans cream style corn

2 cloves garlic minced

½ cup chopped onion

1 hot pepper

¼ cup chopped chive

1 tsp. chopped thyme – Spanish or French

1 pack sweet corn cut into rounds

Dumplings – optional

Method

In a large pot place meat, peas, carrots and salt beef with enough water to cover ingredients

Cover and cook until beef and peas are tender

Add more water to make required quantity of soup

Add seasonings, onion, provisions, corns, pumpkin, potato, salt and pepper to taste

Add plantains last

Cook slowly and stir often

Taste again and adjust salt/pepper

Dumplings – Optional

Ingredients

1 cup of flour mixed from ¼ cup yellow cornmeal/remainder is white flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ cup water

Method

Mix cornmeal, flour, salt & baking powder – stir in water and drop spoonfuls of dough onto top of hot soup mixture while still in pot, cover and simmer 15 minutes

Enjoy!

 

It’s time intensive but a delicious taste of home. If you make it, let me know what you think! And for another version of Trini corn soup, check out one of my favorite food blogs, TriniGourmet.com!

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Comments

  1. yummy, thanks for sharing, I was wondering what to cook, and here you are, good choice, thanks :)

  2. Very healthy recipe.. Corn is always good.

  3. Bless you for this!!! I’ve been trying to perfect my recipe. I love this soup.

  4. I am honoured, thrilled, anxious But happy to see my soup recipe up on your blog for all to read about and try.

    In our family you would know we love soup – from fish broth made by PapaBella complete with our own (grown in our yard) green figs and flavoured with our own grown seasonings – we even grow our own ginger – so easy, to my soup, and to our Aunt Opal’s minestrone.

    I hope that all who try my soup – like it. I love corn, so will even put it in (canned) tuna sandwich paste. There is also a lovely corn relish we make with kernel corn, onions, diced tomatoes and cucumber, flavoured with lime juice, salt and black pepper – serve chilled.

    To those who are in very cold conditions and to those who are not, try this soup and tell Afrobella what you think.

    Thanks for including me in your post.

  5. Corn soup! Always nice after a good night filled with soca & calypso music! Thank you for posting your sister’s recipe! And I must have the dumplings! Lol!

  6. I love corn, I love hot soups = I already have a plan for tomorrow’s dinner :) Thanks for inspiration!

  7. This sounds yummy. I’m going to try to make a veg/pescetarian version. Thanks for sharing!

  8. This looks soooo good. I haven’t had this since I left Trinidad in 2001. I might just have to make some later toay. Thanks for the post!!!

  9. I know what you mean!!!In the Colombian Carribean where my family is from, one typical dish is a really thick yam and cheese soup which is called “Mote de queso”. Delicious in 15ºC rainy Bogotá, the capital, but eating it in 30ºC+ 90% humidity Cartagena, by the Carribean sea, has always been quite a challenge for me ;-) Have tried to find a decent recipe in English to share, but apparently it does not exist yet on the Internet, sorry! Will definitely try your sister’s recipe though. Thank you Afrobella!

  10. Thanks so much for posting this! My son just asked for Corn Soup and I could not locate my age old recipe. I will surprise him with it on Sunday!

  11. Definitely one of my favorites from home (along with a good fish broth!). Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  12. negritalinda says:

    Not sure what neighborhood you live in, but if you live in one that’s not ethnically diverse, you won’t find a diverse produce selection. There is a grocery store on the south side called La Fruteria (89th and Commercial) that sells Caribbean/African foods. I can’t imagine one not being somewhere on the North Side, but I’m not familiar with the North Side. Maybe try a Tony’s Finer Food location? There is a nice selection of roots in the North Riverside location, but I’m sure that’s way too far.

Trackbacks

  1. […] make some hearty winter recipes. One of the dishes I decided to make was my sister’s recipe for Trinidadian corn soup, which I shared in this post. This time around, time was of the essence and I had minimal opportunity to get all of the unusual, […]

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