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.
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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.
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- 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.
This is something new to me. Love the flavor and color. Sounds so interesting!
This dish sure looks phenomenal! Can’t wait to try this with our next curry night.
I’m not very familiar with turned cornmeal, but I am just loving all the colours and flavours in this dish!
Can’t wait to give it a try :D
I’ve never heard of turn cornmeal, but it sounds delicious. I love the heat from the Scotch bonnet in this dish.
Turn Cornmeal sounds like a really interesting recipe. Not familiar with Jamaican food, but I enjoyed reading about the history behind it (both personal and otherwise). It was a beautiful window into another culture, time and place.
WOW! This is different! I think I have eaten something similar in Jamaica once and it was delicious! I love the coconut milk and all the spices in this one! I will defs try this out!
You added coconut milk and that alone sounds so delicious with cornmeal. I have never made turn cornmeal but this sounds so wonderful. Saving this for later. Got to try. Love it.
I’ve never had turn cornmeal before, but this looks delicious! I would definitely love to try it out. So yummy!
I love polenta so I’m positive I would love this. The coconut milk sounds great in this!
I know polenta, being Italian, and I can imagine the flavors of this Turn Cornmeal when cooked in coconut milk and additional herbs and spices! Yum!!