Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge is the way the day starts on many Caribbean islands. Creamy and filling, it’s the perfect winter time breakfast. Breakfast Comfort Food – Caribbean Style!
Today’s recipe falls under this month’s BM theme of cooking foods from Children’s Books. I went to one of the earliest Fairy Tales I remember from my childhood – Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks was walking in the forest and came upon the house of the three bears. No one answered the door so she took it upon herself to go in and she then proceeded to taste everyone’s breakfast until she got to Baby Bear’s bowl of porridge which was just right and she ate it all up.
Here is a version of Cornmeal Porridge that I am sure Goldilocks would have eaten all up, as long as it wasn’t too hot or cold, as Papa Bear’s & Mama Bear’s porridge was. For an almond variation, you can also take a look at another of my porridge recipes here. To remind you of the fairy tale, you can see the complete story here.
Cornmeal is one of the staple grains used in the Caribbean for everything from pancakes to polenta. Yes we have our version of savory polenta also. Check out the Vegetarian version with okra here called Cou Cou or this version from Aruba called Tutu with bacon and beans. Both are equally delicious!
Here in the US while everyone else was eating oatmeal or cream of wheat, I grew up eating Cornmeal Porridge. This is one of the most common breakfast foods throughout the non Spanish speaking Caribbean.
In fact, I have a funny story with this Cornmeal Porridge from when I was a baby. I had a busy working Mom, so she usually gave me the instant baby Gerber cereals. However, one weekend when she had some extra time, she made this Cornmeal Porridge. Well, even at that young age I had a discerning palate. She told me once I had Cornmeal Porridge, I would never eat the Gerber cereal again. She tried all sorts of tricks to get me to eat the Gerber cereal. She tried disguising it by adding vanilla and cinnamon to it, but I could tell the difference and just would not eat it. From that day on, she had to wake up extra early just to make Cornmeal Porridge before she went to work.
If you have a picky child who won’t eat oatmeal, try this Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge and I can pretty much guarantee you will have a hot cereal convert on your hands. Like oatmeal, cornmeal is also gluten free, so if that is a concern for you, this works just as well.
IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE CARIBBEAN CORNMEAL PORRIDGE
As it chills a bit, a crust will form on the top. For me, this is the best part of the porridge. I often have it in a shallow bowl, just so I get more crust.
If you want to make it Vegan, you could use coconut milk.
- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 1/3 cup raisins optional
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup of lowfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar or more, to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
- In a saucepan, pour out the can of evaporated milk. Fill the can with water and add to the milk in the pan.
- Add cinnamon, star anise and raisins (if using).
- Heat the milk, but do not boil
- Meanwhile combine the cornmeal and 1 1/4 cups water and whisk together in a bowl.
- Slowly add this to the simmering liquid on the stove, stirring constantly.
- Simmer for 5 minutes on medium low heat. After about 3 minutes and the porridge thickens, add the lowfat milk.
- Add vanilla and sugar. Stir to combine.
- To serve, garnish with nutmeg.