What is Turn Cornmeal?
Turn Cornmeal is basically a savory dish of boiled cornmeal or polenta, this boiled cornmeal can be made as simple with water and salt or seasoned with herbs, spices, vegetables, and even meat. It has several versions throughout Italy, the Caribbean, and Africa. In Italy, a similar version is called polenta.
FOR THE FULL LIST OF INGREDIENTS, SCROLL TO SEE THE RECIPE CARD AT THE END. BUT BEFORE YOU SCROLL CHECK IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT IS INCLUDED IN THE BLURB.
In Barbados, it is called Cou Cou, their national dish along with fried flying fish. In Antigua, Barbuda, Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Curacao it is called Fungi. On some of the islands, okra is substituted with the local cactus.
In African countries, similar versions of turned cornmeal, are called, Pap, Nsima, Ugali and, polenta in Italy.
Cornmeal is cooked in seasoned coconut milk, it is similar to cooked to polenta. It is popular in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.
Growing up in Jamaica, my mother rarely made this dish. However, when she did I enjoyed my mother’s turn cornmeal recipe very much. It was loved by many people in Jamaica but unfortunately, it was shunned by some people because it also had a stigma for being food for the poor and dogs.
Now that I’m grown, I’m proud to prepare this flavorful turn cornmeal dish. It brings back fond memories of my childhood. I have also enjoyed eating Turn Cornmeal Aka Fungi or Fungee in Antigua and Curacao.
How To Make Turn Cornmeal Jamaican Style
It is easy to make turn cornmeal recipe, place water, coconut milk in a large saucepan. Add seasonings, onion, garlic, green onion, thyme, allspice, pigeon peas, salt, and bring to a boil.
This method is similar to how I make Jamaican Rice and Peas, except that I add cornmeal instead of rice.
I added the pigeon peas for added protein and flavor. You can find pigeon peas in Caribbean grocers or online. It is also called Gungo peas or Gandule in Puerto Rico.
As soon as the seasoned coconut milk starts boiling, I slowly pour cornmeal in a steady stream into the boiling liquid with my left hand while I’m constantly stirring. with my right hand. I keep stirring making sure all the cornmeal is fully coated without dry spots.
Next. I cover the saucepan and reduce heat to the lowest setting and allow turn cornmeal to cook for 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, I stir and cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. Grain should be swollen, soft, and taste-cooked.
I served mine with Curry Cabbage and it was enjoyed by all even my hubby who doesn’t really care for it since he was affected by the stigma attached to it.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag #healthiersteps — we love to see your recipes on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter!
Also please leave a star rating ;-)
Need some encouragement on your Healthier Steps journey?
Join our new Facebook groups, sharing lots of delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes, health tips, etc., from our members. Please join us and invite your friends Gluten-Free and Vegan For Beginners and Vegan Recipes With Love.
- Categories: Gluten-Free, Vegan
- Course: Main Course
- Cuisine: Jamaican
- Energy: 305 kcal / 1275 kJ
- Fat: 16 g
- Protein: 6 g
- Carbs: 36 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Cooking: 20 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- For: 8 Servings
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups pigeon peas/gungo, cooked
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 4 sprig fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Vegan Butter, (I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper
- 2 cups fine cornmeal
- Pour coconut milk, water, pigeon peas, garlic. onion, green onion, thyme, allspice, garlic powder, butter, salt and pepper in a large saucepan on medium-high. Bring to boil.
- Slowly pour cornmeal while stirring constantly with a large spoon until thickened. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover, stir and cover again to cook for another 10 more minutes.
Hotep Empress: Do you think you can modify this to make it ‘live’ rather than stove cooked but dehydrate all the ingredients in the rich seasoned coconut milk on 111 degrees until ‘tun corn meal’ consistency as we say bak a yard? Please let me know what you think as this took me back to my early youth in JA where I relished many Thursday (Ben Johnson Day) in country when we would come home to a delicious and welcome round of this one of my favorite all around meal. I don’t cook anymore and so you took me back with this one that I am definitely going to take for a spin using a glass container to make same in the dehydrator. Thanks again for your site and all the amazing recipes to explore ‘live’.
Carol, you bring back great memories. I grew up in Hopewell, Hanover. I would use young corn that is still in its milky stage. Dried corn will tear up you stomach over a long period of time. Grains should be cooked to break down the starches.
We really enjoyed this recipe! Just one question, though- should the last sentence say “10 more minutes” instead of “110 more minutes”?
KS, I’m happy you enjoy my recipe, thank you for pointing out this typo, I really appreciate it.
In Curacao this dish is called “Tutu”. Its made with less ingredients and we mash the pigeon peas before adding the cornmeal. I will have try this recipe. Keep it coming!
My mother use to cook this for me as a child. I am grown now with my own family and going to try this for the first time hope it turn out good
Shan, thank you. I hope you enjoyed it.
Stumbled on your site, going to try cooking the Jamaican style Turn Cornmeal. Looking for more vegan style recipes. Thanks for sharing!
Joan that’s one of my favorite recipes, I hope you enjoyed it.
Michelle, I stumbled on your Turn Cornmeal recipe while looking for something to use pigeon peas and cornmeal together. I haven’t done it yet (this weekend), but I can tell it will be good.
Tell your husband this: The poor people in Maine didn’t eat lobsters a long while ago. It was seen as poor peoples’ food. They put lobsters on the crops. Now, I think you might agree, we think differently. Moreover, something like this recipe is so good for your health! My microbiome is going to be happy! And if the microbiome ain’t happy, ain’t no body happy (to coin a phrase…)!
I look forward to checking out the rest of your website. I lived in Haiti for 2 years, and still make pikliz, soupe joumou, and rice and beans. But I’d like to know others, or know other takes on these recipes.
Roger, I’m so happy you found my recipe and website. I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Thank you for sharing your background stories, ain’t that something about lobsters! I find that so many of the dishes throughout the Caribbean are similar!
I had fungi in St. Croix in 2001. I was eating vegetarian to vegan at the time and found it easy to eat out in St. Croix. I think there is or was a community of 7th Day Adventist there when I visited. I love your recipe btw, but skipped the hot chili because of GERD. I plan to cook more tomorrow with a fried plantain. Thanks for sharing this.
Celeste,that’s awesome. I realize a version of this dish is throughout the Caribbean. I’m also a 7th Day Adventist.I’m happy you are enjoying my recipes and please share my website with your friends and family. Thank you for your feedback.
I’m 7th day too! I had no idea you were. I recommend your site to everyone! Since 2019 when I stumbled on it. <3
Lily that is so awesome, I’m so happy you found my website, and thank you so much for sharing it, I really appreciate your support.
Dear Michelle my favourite corn flour sister meal of starch is South african phuthu I love it.
Wow Debbie, I need to check out South African phuthu.
Wow! Thanks for the info! I went to South Africa once and they had something similar and I think it was called “pop”. I would try this.
Wow..this is a completely new recipe as well as a concept for me. I will try it with brown chickpeas.