(Bajan cornmeal mush with okra)
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Coo-coo, or cou-cou, is one half of "coo-coo and flying fish," the Bajan national dish. This cornmeal porridge is similar to Italy's polenta or Africa's fufu and ugali. Okra goes by the name "ochro" on Barbados.
4 to 6 servings
- Okra, destemmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds -- 1/2 pound
- Water -- 3 cups
- Salt -- to taste
- Cornmeal -- 1 cup
- Butter -- 1 tablespoon
- Place the okra, water and salt to season in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until okra is just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the cornmeal into the simmering water in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Continue to stir until the mush thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Pour the mush into an oiled round bowl large enough to hold it all. Let set for a few minutes, then invert this bowl onto a serving platter or bowl. This gives it a nice rounded presentation. Brush the top with butter and serve with steamed flying fish or stews.
- Use chicken stock in place of the water for more flavor if you like.
- This dish is sometimes made with cassava flour.