Smoked Herring and Dumplings

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

If saltfish was brought to Trinidad by the Spanish and Portuguese, it’s most likely that smoked herring was brought by the English. This dish, which is similar to Buljol served with Fry Bake, uses herring in place of saltfish and is served with boiled dumplings instead of fried bread.


  • ¾ pound smoked herring fillets
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shado beni or cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 small red chili pepper, finely chopped (optional)


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • Pinch of coarse salt


  1. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the herring fillets. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes and drain. Allow the fillets to cool and then finely shred. Set aside.
  2. Make dumplings: Mix together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add 6 tablespoons of water and knead to form a stiff dough, adding more water if necessary. Knead until smooth and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to form ovals. Pinch both ends of the ovals, then flatten between palms or against a cutting board. The dumplings should resemble small flat footballs. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the dumplings. Simmer until dumplings float to the surface. Drain and set aside, keeping warm.
  3. Heat a medium sauté pan and pour in the canola oil. Add the onion, chives, shado beni, and garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato and red chili pepper, if using, and mix well and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the herring and fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. To serve, divide the dumplings between four plates and put the smoked herring mixture on top, dividing evenly.