As a kid I never had much love for this dish, but as I grew older (and moved away from home / the Caribbean), Corn Cou Cou became a fave of mine. Since mom could never convince us to eat corn Cou Cou it was rarely ever made in our home, except for the odd time she would make it for dad.. usually served with stew fish. While the cornmeal and okra are the ‘constant’ ingredients in Cou Cou, you’ll find that the technique and supporting cast of ingredients will differ as you visit kitchens across the Caribbean.
Note: While the technique will be a bit different than the traditional way of making Cou Cou, I assure you the end result is simply delicious.
1 cup corn meal (fine grain)
2 cloves garlic diced fine
1 tablespoon butter
2 sprigs thyme
1 small onion
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust)
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 pimento pepper (diced bell pepper could work -2-3 tablespoon)
Important: If doing this recipe Gluten Free please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Heat the butter on a medium flame in a deep saucepan (if doing this vegan – use coconut oil) . Go in with the diced onion, garlic, and pimento pepper, then reduce to low and cook gently for 3-4 minutes.
Wash, pat dry (paper towels) and trim (remove the tips and stems) the okra. Then cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch wheels. Add them to the pot and stir well..heat still on low. Add the fresh thyme as well and if you wanted to put a little black pepper you can.
After about 3 minutes add the coconut milk and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, add the salt and cook for about 5 minutes or until the okra is tender.
Remove the pot off the heat and while stirring, start adding the cornmeal a little at a time. The goal is to mix it well, so we don’t end up with lumps.
After all the cornmeal is in the pot and incorporated, place back on a medium/low flame, add the water and keep stirring. The goal now is to cook the cornmeal… takes about 4-6 minutes.
Make sure all the liquid is absorbed and the Cou Cou is thick (it will thicken more as it cools) and here’s where you can taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
Cou Cou is usually served with stewed meats or fish and besides being very ‘filling’ it’s a meal that’s very comforting for most people from the Caribbean. So while my technique may differ to the one my grandmother would use, I assure you.. you’ll definitely want to give my way a try.
How/what do you call Cou Cou? If you use a different name for it, kindly share it in the comment section below… I’d love to learn.