Monday, January 31, 2011

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

I really like Bob Marley and one of my favourite songs he wrote was called "No Woman No Cry'. One of the lines goes ..." and then we cooked cornmeal porridge of which I'll share with you" and I must say it couldn't help but sing that to myself as I whipped this up for pudding tonight. Last weekend in the midst of our 'summer holiday' we took refuge at the Matakana Farmers Markets, which while a little on the pretentious side and a little small, are still worth the visit for the ready made food on offer alone. Of course there are other things to buy but they tend to be a bit overpriced and a know, 'wah-wah' if you know what I mean. I did buy some Feijoa jam but we really spent our money on some of the fantastic food on offer. One of my favourite stalls was 'Jamaican Me Hungry' and we did buy most of the food we ate from there. I had a yummy beef pattie which was like a pie. It had a really soft and flaky pastry and a spicy beef filling. The Jerk Chicken was amazing and very spicy but it had a lovely smoky flavour too. We also tried the Cornmeal Porridge. I had always thought it would be bland and normal porridge which, incidentally, I detest as the smell reminds me of feeding the old people when I did my nursing training. It was, however, really different. It was really creamy and tasted like a vanillary semolina/rice pudding with a lovely texture and an even better flavour.

When we got home I did some hunting on the internet for a recipe and the one I found featured on many sites. It seems that this is what people eat for breakfast or as a snack but I think while it would be a yummy breakfast, it can carry off the dessert role too especially with some added fruit. I found the recipe easy to make, but I liked it to have a bit more sweetness so added some vanilla sugar to it although you could add some more condensed milk, (I mean life is that much better with condensed milk in it don't you think?). I also think some cream added at the end once it has been served up would be extra good too. Dons and Harry had honey is theirs and once she had added a bit of cream, Dons thinks if was just like the one at the market. However you could do whatever you like and tweak it to your liking. If the impulse so takes you while your making it, break out the reggae music to add to the reggae/Jamaican vibe of this dish.

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

1 c cornmeal (I used instant polenta)
4 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
1/2 c condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Put the cornmeal in a bowl and pour over 1 c water.

Put 3 c water and 1 c milk into a pot and bring to the boil. Once it has boiled turn down the heat and stir in the cornmeal mix. Simmer 10 mins stirring often.

Stir in the condensed milk, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer another 5 mins.


  1. hi there can i use semolina instead of cornmeal to make this?

  2. I would think that if you use semolina it would be a totally different dessert...but it would probably still taste good though. Let me know if you do try it with semolina.