NEW YORK, NY - Who does not love Cornmeal, the secret super food? Cornmeal, like rice, is the ubiquitous staple that is found in pantries and kitchen cupboards not only in the Caribbean but all over The Americas and Europe.
It is made from ground dried corn and is available in fine, medium, and coarse consistencies. Very finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as corn flour. In the United Kingdom, the word corn flour denotes cornstarch.
In Europe, cornmeal is known as polenta, and finely ground corn flour for making bread or tortillas is known as maize flour.
Polenta, (Italian pronunciation: [po’lenta]), is a dish of boiled cornmeal in Italian, French, and Swiss cuisine. It may be consumed hot as a porridge or allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf, which is then baked, fried, or grilled.
There are various types of cornmeal:
Blue cornmeal is light blue or violet in color. It is ground from whole blue corn and has a sweet flavor. Steel-ground yellow cornmeal is common mostly in the United States, and the Caribbean.
Stone-ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ, lending a little more flavor and nutrition to recipes. It is more perishable, but will store longer if refrigerated.
White cornmeal (mielie-meal), made from white corn, is more common in parts of Africa. It is also popular in the Southern United States for making cornbread.
Cornmeal is a good source of magnesium, selenium, and thiamin.
Some of the other nutrients that are found in cornmeal are as follows:
The uses of Cornmeal in the Caribbean are as follows:
In Barbados it is prepared as Cou-cou – part of the national dish of Barbados, “cou-cou and flying fish.”
In other Caribbean islands, cooked cornmeal is called fungi -fungi/fungee – a cornmeal mush cooked and cooled into a stiff pudding that is sometimes eaten with saltfish and/or pepperpot. It is consumed on the island of Curaao and is part of the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda.
In Haiti, cornmeal is cooked and mixed with various types of peas, bacalao and herring. It is also served with steam fish and other meat dishes.
In Jamaica, cornmeal is used to make porridge, dumplings, festival (cornmeal mixed with flour and sugar baking powder then fried and served with fried fish), dessert as in Cornmeal pone and part of a main course cooked with pumpkin, coconut milk, seasonings and served with various meats and fish dishes.
Here is my recipe for Turned Cornmeal with Pumpkin. Enjoy.
6 and a 1/2 cups of water
2 cups fresh Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Margarine
1 cup pumpkin, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk scallion, chopped
1 sprig of thyme
1 teaspoon Green Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce
3 and a 1/2 cups Cornmeal
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pour 4 cups water into a pot and bring to a boil.
Add Coconut Milk and Margarine, pumpkin, onion, scallion, thyme and hot pepper sauce and mix well.
Combine cornmeal, salt and black pepper. Pour on the remaining water and mix well.
Scrape the cornmeal mixture into the boiling liquid and cook stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Cook for about twenty five minutes.
Spoon mixture into molds and allow to set.
Served as is, or may be served grilled. Serve with roasted fish and sautéed vegetables, and various meat dishes such as stew chicken, oxtail, stew beef , jerk chicken and jerk pork!