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Cornmeal Cou-Cou

Cornmeal cou-cou is one-half of Barbados’ national dish of cou-cou and flying fish. It is best eaten with a very saucy stew of fish, meat, or poultry. 

Cornmeal Cou-Cou

Cornmeal cou-cou is one-half of Barbados' national dish of cou-cou and flying fish. It is best eaten with a very saucy stew of fish, meat, or poultry.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 2 mins
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: Bajan
Keyword: Bajan, Barbados’ national dish, Cornmeal Cou-Cou
Servings: 4
Calories: 220kcal


  • 2 cups Cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. Butter (plus extra for buttering dish)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 cups Water
  • 4 cups Water (boiling)
  • 1 ⅓ cup Okra (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tsp. Thyme (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic (minced)
  • 1 ½ cup Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. Oil


  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Soak the cornmeal in 2 cups water for 5 minutes.
  • In a pot, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil and gently saute the 1/2 cup of onions, 1 tablespoon of garlic, and 2 teaspoons of thyme for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the 1 1/3 cups of sliced okra and saute for 1 minute.
  • Pour 4 cups of boiling water into the pot with the onion-okra mixture and let it boil for 10 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the okra to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Pour half of the liquid from the pot into a small bowl and reserve for later use.
  • Turn the heat to low and simmer. Add the soaked cornmeal, salt, and butter. Stir constantly using a whisk to avoid lumps and keep the cornmeal mixture from scorching.
  • As the cornmeal begins to dry out, add the reserved liquid in stages, stirring with a wooden spoon until the cornmeal is cooked. This process takes about 90 minutes. Stir the cou-cou at 15-minute intervals to ensure that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot
  • As the mixture begins to break away clean from the sides of the pot, add the okra and stir to incorporate fully.
  • Let the cou-cou continue to cook until it is firm but not stiff. The cou-cou should break away easily from the sides of the pot. Another way to check it is to insert a spoon into the middle of the cou-cou. It should stand and be easy to remove from the mixture.
  • Transfer the cou-cou to a generously buttered bowl and swirl it around to form a mold. Invert the bowl onto a serving platter so the cou-cou drops out in a nicely shaped mound.
  • Create an indentation in the center of the cou-cou and heap with stewed fish, meat, poultry, or vegetables, letting the rich sauce spill over to the sides.

Nutrition Facts

1 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories220
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 4g 7%
    • Saturated Fat 2g 10%
  • Cholesterol 6mg 2%
  • Sodium 27mg 2%
  • Total Carbohydrate 43g 15%
    • Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
  • Protein 5g 10%

  • Calcium 78%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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Written by Lisa Yarde

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