Thursday, 22 May 2014

Cou Cou

Here in Barbados, our national dish is Cou Cou and Flying Fish.  If you have never had a taste of this delicacy then you are indeed missing out on a palette sensation.
It has been rated at Number 3 on the National Geographic's Top Ten National Dishes in the World.
CouCou is a dish made with yellow cornmeal and finely chopped okras.  It is a recipe  that was brought to the island by African slaves.  Not everyone can make cou takes some doing but with a little patience and determination it can be achieved.

Image borrowed from the internet
Cornmeal Cou Cou

In the other islands, cou cou is known as fungi and it is more or less a firm polenta with seasonings.

The recipe for cou cou requires that the ingredients be stirred continuously until it is smooth and melts like butter in the mouth.

I still remember as a child my Mum hulked over a pot of cornmeal cou cou stirring in a frenzy to avoid lumps forming with her "cou cou stick."
The cou cou stick is made of wood and resembles a small paddle and makes it easier to stir the cou cou in the pot.
Mum would then place the cou cou into a buttered bowl and roll it around to form a ball.... this was the old traditional way of serving cou cou.

I had never tried my hand at making cou cou, not only because it seemed quite a bit of hard work, but also due to the fact that I am allergic to corn.  However, daughter dear loves it, so I was determined to at least find an easier way for her sake.
During a conversation with one of my dear friends a couple of days ago, she informed me that she had found the easy way of making the dish.
My ears immediately pricked up at her revelation, and I asked her for her recipe.
The trick it seemed was to soak the corn meal in room temperature water was that easy...I would never have guessed that in a million years. I decided to experiment.

 Corn Meal and Okras

 Cut okras into fine pieces

I steamed my okras in water in the microwave...a quick process. 
 Put about a cup of corn meal in a pot and cover with water (room temperature) and leave to soak for about 10 minutes.

 Add a little salt to taste.
 Add a teaspoon of Bajan seasoning and a teaspoon of peppersauce and about three tablespoons of butter.

 Turn the heat on a low setting and use a wooden spoon (cou cou stick) to stir.

Add the okras in the water a bit at a time to the cou cou mixture as you stir.  If you find that lumps are beginning to form as you are stirring, lift the pot off the stove, add more okra water and stir vigorously until the lumps are no more.
Stir and stir and stir until a nice soft blended fluffy texture is achieved.

A small portion of Cou cou
.......just enough for daughter dear.
I had a taste.....smooth and buttery.
We also use breadfruit, yam or green bananas to make cou cou if we so desire and accompany with any fish stew/sauce.

 Barbados is known as the "Land of the Flying Fish", named after the plentiful flying fish (Etinurdichthys Affinis ) that surround our warm tropical waters. These fish actually "fly" by using their fins to propel themselves when moving in the water, sometimes bursting out the water at speeds of 55kmph. They are beautiful to see when they emerge from the water with their large pectoral fins outstretched and the light hits their shimmery blue black colour....this allows them to glide mid-air for a considerable distance above the surface of the water. This is their natural defense from predators.
Flying fish info here.

Today I did not have frozen flying fish on hand so I made a salt fish stew instead which was just as tasty.

I purchase salt fish bits in a package from the supermarket.

I added the remaining okras to the salt fish stew.

Steamed a few okras and pumpkin pieces on the side.
Out to the garden to gather a few fresh lettuce leaves for my salad....and......Tadaaaah!!
No Cou Cou for me, but Potato Balls, Salt fish stew, steamed veggies and fresh lettuce leaves.
It was good.....oh yes, daughter dear enjoyed her lunch too.

Here is an easy Cou Cou and Flying Fish recipe.

Today is the second anniversary for my blog, what better way to celebrate than trying something new....just like how I tried something new by joining the Blogland family two years ago...what a great ride it has been thus far...thanks to all of you.


  1. Happy Anniversary. May your blog carry on for many years to come.
    If that's the [easy' way to make the cou cou I definitely wouldn't be trying it! I think Daughter is very lucky to have a Mum who makes her such lovely meals.

    1. Thank You CJ for your kind sentiments...I am looking forward to blogging for many years to come.
      Yes Daughter Dear is very lucky to have a Mum like me......but does she know it??????

  2. I cannot believe that I've only known you for two years. Time seems to fly and yet it plays merry pop with us at the same time. I'd be interested to try cou cou but not to make it.

    1. Time sure does fly doesn't it....two years have gone by soooo quickly....thank you for getting me started.
      I think you would enjoy the Cou Cou as well......maybe one of these

  3. It looks delicious!! I want some!! :o)

    1. I wish you could taste and enjoy it too....


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