West Indian Cornmeal Porridge


A very good morning my lovelies! 
Today we are kicking off fall with an all-time family favourite recipe of mine. It's perfect for the first days of fall-welcome back! I missed you so much!!!!
So what is this stuff anyways?
Well, this is a Jamaican style of morning, hot, filling, and nourishing porridge. It is a corn-based porridge. If you are like me, this is no longer something you can eat, I am planning on testing a version of this with some steel cut oats but that is something I will get back to you about. Anywhoodles, this recipe was shown to me 23 years ago, by a lovely woman who was from Barbados, Yes, it is eaten in different parts of the caribbean. My son was crying like crazy during the nights and everyone insisted that he was too young to give food to, no matter how often I kept repeating, "I think he may be hungry". Well, she pulled me aside, brought me into the kitchen and said, I am going to show you what we feed to the children back home. She showed me this porridge that had been made for another person, and had me taste some. I freaked because it tasted so darn delicious! I also freaked because I was sure, with my North American S.A.D, pediatrician insistent, no food for 3 months; that this would be "dangerous" for a baby to eat. She burst out laughing, the answer was, You white people here only listen to doctor's. Do you know for how many centuries families have been feeding this and other types of porridge to their children and they grow big and strong? With never a problem?" I pondered these words as I watched a woman's child greedily scarfing down the blissful bites of porridge in his high chair, and decided to give it a whirl.  
My son slept, well, like a baby. For the first time, he went through the night and woke up calmer and happy. I had thinned out the porridge and fed it to him in almost liquid form, then made sure to really clean his gums and moth so as not to cause harm to his future teeth. This porridge was a life saver, and I never looked back. I also learned to take information given, with a grain of salt. My son is healthy as a horse, has zero allergies-thanks be to God! And most importantly, he still likes to have this to this very day. It's been perfect during lean financial times, as it lasts a full week in the fridge, is very filling/sustaining, and gets super thick when it stands. That means you take a bit out and place it into a smaller pot, then thin it out with milk of choice or water. When money is super scarce, it can be made with water in place of a milk of choice-further stretching your funds. I know condensed milk has gotten more expensive but because of this ingredient, you end up spending much less overall. 
If you are unable to do dairy, feel free to use dairy-free milk of choice and a vegan condensed milk recipe which can be found on this other lovely blog:

This porridge has a wonderful spiced, comforting, warm thickness that just leaves you feeling happy and contented when you eat it. Serve it with fresh, gluten-free crusty bread, gf buttermilk biscuits, or scones. My son and I like it a bit thinner, so we use more milk ( I make it with almond milk) in it and we toast thick, gluten-free bread, and dip it in as we shamelessly scarf it down. Such a good, healthy, and delicious alternative to boring and staid breakfast choices.

West Indian Cornmeal Porridge
Serves 4-6 can be reheated, just add a bit of milk.

-1 C FINE cornmeal, not coarse!
- 3 C Water + 1/2C for blooming cornmeal
-1/2-1C Milk of your choice, I use almond, unsweetened
-Spice mix: 1stick cinnamon, 5-7 whole pimento berries(Jamaican allspice), 6 scrapes off of a whole nutmeg, 1-2 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
-1 Can of condensed milk
-1 Tbsp Real vanilla

-Pour cornmeal into a heavy-bottomed pot, add 1/2 cup of water and stir through. Allow to sit and "bloom" for 5-10 mins.
-Add spices, 3C water, vanilla, & stir.
Now is the time to make sure you have ALL your ingredients at the ready, that means opened, measured, along with whisk and spoon. Everything must be right next to you because once you begin the cooking process you can't leave it or stop stirring. If you do not follow these instructions, it will lump and burn every time!
-Place pot on medium-low heat, no higher than 5. Stir often, it will start to thicken after 5-10 mins.
-When thickened add the condensed milk
and stir very well. Cook 1min then add milk.
-Continually stir, you may use the whisk if any lumps appear, at anytime. Cook until it thickens to consistency you prefer, shorter cook time for a more runny porridge and longer cook time for a thicker porridge.
-Remove from heat and dip your wooden spoon in to coat the back of it (napper la cuillére, as Chef's refer to it), then run your finger through it. The line should stay, that means it's ready. 

You are aiming for a thick sauce consistency but not as thick as oatmeal, although my son likes it pretty close to it. I prefer a more runny porridge, it's really up to you. Serve with fresh crusty bread for dipping, biscuits, hard dough buns from the West Indian market, or even buttered toast. This is very rich, nourishing, and filling so don't serve more than 11/2 C of it at a time. Remember to take a few deep breathes before eating, to give thanks for your lovingly prepared meal, & to share it with those you love. 
Here are pics to help you on your culinary adventure, enjoy!

Take care, be well, & love freely...

2 comments on "West Indian Cornmeal Porridge"
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  2. This is the best stuff ever!!!! I know why/how Goldie Locks ended up fast asleep in those bear's home! LoL #fulltummy 😋