Get to know Trini food: Trinidadian corn soup

Make no mistake, Trinis love food.

The size of the waistlines in Trinidad and Tobago bear testament to the favorite local expression,“Better belly buss than good food waste!” Side note: you can learn 19 Trini sayings in this article I wrote for Matador Network.

In this foodie nation, there are many favorites. One is Trinidadian corn soup. You can find it as the staple Saturday lunch in many homes or at food stalls across the two islands. There is no one recipe but locals generally agree that Trini corn soup must have corn, split peas, and dumplings.

Jesse is a boss when it comes to making Trinidadian corn soup. When we were in Japan, it was the quickest home meal we could rustle up. He shared it with our friends and even taught the recipe to my high school students and the local community group. You can read more about the experience in this Caribbean Beat article I wrote.

Want to learn to make it? Here’s the recipe!


Jesse’s Trinidadian corn soup


For the dumplings:

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup coconut milk/water

a little vegetable oil

For the soup:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic

1 large onion

1 tablespoon ginger

6 cups of water/vegetable stock

1 cup yellow split peas (dal)

1 cup coconut milk

2 large carrots

2 large sweet potatoes (you can also add local ingredients like cassava and green fig)

3-6 corn on the cob

1 scotch bonnet or other hot pepper


black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped shadow beni/cilantro, thyme, or chives


Wash, peel and cut vegetables into bite-size pieces.

Cut the corn into 1-inch discs.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the diced onion, garlic, and ginger.

Saute for a few minutes, add the split peas, and stir well.

Add all remaining ingredients except the herbs, salt, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. The idea is to cook the split peas so that it melts into a thick soup but that the vegetables remain whole. Stir the pot frequently to stop the soup from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

To make the dumplings, combine cornmeal, flour, oil, and milk/water and knead well. Roll out the dough and cut into small squares. You can also hand roll your dumplings into little balls or oblong bits.

Once the split peas have dissolved, add the dumplings, corn, and hot pepper and let the soup simmer until these ingredients are cooked. P.S. add the scotch bonnet pepper whole (no chopping) and do not let it burst!

If you think the soup is too thick, add a little water or vegetable stock to thin it out.

Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve the soup with the chopped herbs sprinkled on the top. You can also top it off with pepper/hot sauce for extra heat.

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19 thoughts on “Get to know Trini food: Trinidadian corn soup

  1. Ah this soup looks so good! I just had lunch but looking at this photo is giving me serious craving. I love trying out local dishes when I go to a new place or country. Therefore, I always love to learn or explore new cuisines! I wish I could try this treat soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know that I am in love with your country 😉 And it’s also mostly due to the delicious food I was able to eat there. I had corn soup on a street bar and it was amazing. Thanks you for sharing this recipe so I can do it at home and remember lovely Trini.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I started reading the recipe automatically assuming it would be something I couldn’t eat but holy moly this food is naturally vegan? It looks and sounds absolutely delicious so I definitely gotta give this a try! I’ve never tried Trini food before so I’m quite excited 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds delicious! Sometimes some of the simplest sounding meals are so flavor packed that they are some of the best things to eat to get a feel for the country! I’ll be definitely giving your recipe a try at home and I hope I can do it justice!

    Liked by 1 person

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