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How To Cook Jamaican Hard Food?

Boiled hard food, easy to make, is very filling and goes when well with most traditional Jamaican main dishes. Yellow yam, green banana, pumpkin, ripe plantain and flour dumpling boiled in salted water.

Boil hard food

What is Jamaican Hard Food

Hard food is ground provisions such as yam, green banana, plantain, potato, pumpkin, dasheen root, cassava, breadfruit, cho cho and boiled dumpling.

In Jamaican culinary hard food is boiled in salted water and eaten as a side dish or cooked in soup.

In the recipe below, the hard food is cooked on it own and I am cooking the most commonly cooked hard food use in Jamaican culinary.

Hard Food Recipe

Here are the hard food that I am using for this recipe.

how to cook Jamaican hard food

A piece of pumpkin, yellow, yam, green banana and ripe plantain and plain flour for the dumplings. These are the most commonly cooked hard food.

How To Cook It Jamaican Hard Food

Hard food is very easy to make. You are basically boiling the ground provisions and dumplings. I will also share with a few tips as I go along that will help to get the perfect hard food.

Make the dumpling dough first and add them to the pot first. The reason is that no matter how long you boil the dumplings they will not break apart.

boiled dumpling dough

There are two variations of boiled dumplings. The first one is made just with plain flour mixed with water. The second is to add a little bit of cornmeal to the flour before making the dumpling dough.

Some people add a pinch of salt to the dumpling mix, I don’t ever add salt to my boiled dumpling but if you like your food with a bit more salt you may way to add some to the dumpling mix.

Peeling the yellow yam and the banana can be a little bit tricky. The peeled yellow yam which cause you to itch if it touches your skin. Surprisingly, it does itch the palm of your hands.

It can be a bit hard to remove the skin from the green banana so I would recommend cooking it with the skin if you have never peeled a green banana. Just cook off both ends of the banana and cut the skin down the middle.

Also, if you are not adding the yam and banana straight to the pot after you peeled them make sure to soak them in cold water to stop them going brown.

Hard food

Cook the plantain with its skin because the ripe plantain is very soft and absorbs too much of the water if cooked without.

A great way to prevent the plantain sucks up to much water if the use a vegetable steamer basket. I use this especially when the plantain is very ripe.

cook hard food

What To Serve With Hard Food

Hard food is served with many traditional Jamaican main dishes. Rundown (rundung) is served mostly with hard food mainly for breakfast.

Brown stew fish and brown stew chicken are commonly serve with hard food. Curry chicken and curry goat are also served with hard food.

Ackee and saltfood, callaloo and saltfish, steamed cabbage go well in with hard food.

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Jamaican Boil hard food

Boiled Hard Food Recipe

How to make boiled hard food
4.67 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: boiled food, hard food
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 serving
Calories: 240kcal
Author: Lesa


  • 3 Green banana Peel
  • 1 Ripe plantain Don't peel, chopped into two pieces
  • ¼ lb Pumpkin Peel
  • ½ lb Yellow yam Peel
  • Salt

Boiled Dumpling

  • 1 Cup Plain flour
  • ¼ Cup Cornmeal (option)
  • tsp Salt (optional)
  • Water


Boiled Dumpling

  • Mix the flour and the other ingredients (if you are using them) together.
  • Gradually pour water and knead the flour mix until you make a firm dough
  • Separate the dough into 4 or 5 pieces and make 4 or 5 round dumpling.

Cook the hard food

  • In a large pot, pour about 4 cups of boiling water and 1 tsp (use less salt if you add salt to the dumpling)
  • Add the dumpling, yam, banana, and pumpkin to the boiling water. Cover and let the pot cook for about 20 minuites.
  • Halfway through add the plantain.


  • Cook the plantain in its skin and add it last to the pot because cooks easily and get very soft.
  • You can also cook the banana in its skin, this will make it easier to peel.


Nutrition Facts
Boiled Hard Food Recipe
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. 4 stars
    Hello, I used your curry chicken recipe. It turned out good except I added too many pimento seeds which overpowered the curry. How do I fix it?
    Thanks, Ms. Bflo

  2. I am Afro American Woman and I never heard of this recipe before bananas yam and plantain until yesterday I talked to an African friend of mine that told me about it so I looked it up for once I tried and if I like it I would definitely leave you a comment on how it was and if I liked it and thanks for the recipe

  3. thank you for sharing the recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    I just wanted to tell y how happy I am to have your recipes to turn to. I am an American, born in Tennessee but, love all things Jamaican. I have even used information from your recipes in a school project before graduating with an AAS in Culinary Arts. I visit Jamaica regularly and know your recipes are authentic Thank You! I love your recipes!

  5. 5 stars
    Can you freeze cooked hard food?

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