Bajan Food Cou-Cou Recipe


Cou-cou and Flying Fish is the national dish of Barbados. It is simple and easy to prepare— when you know how.

Today we are going to look at how to make cou-cou, the creamy but firm Barbadian cultural food.

It does take patience, a strong arm, and a steady eye as an acceptable cou-cou has no lumps!

Photo &Food by Vicky Walters

Normally served on Fridays in Barbados, it is Vegetarian friendly and might even pass the Vegan food test. A slow food for a quick eat.

In fact, while cou-cou and flying fish is THE dish, cou-cou can also be served with other fish or meat compliments. Accompanying vegetables could be things like beans, peppers, or sweet potato, but don’t forget the carrots! I love this meal with carrots, and prefer the vegs to be lightly sauted rather than steamed.

  Coucou with Salmon, Avocado (Pear) and white Sweet Potato. 
Photo & Food by M. Ellis

To the recipe.

Since, as you know, I am not precise with my recipe writings, I am once again passing on a method of preparation from a more able source.

Travel Itineraries is a WordPress Blog which I follow which has this recipe thing all sewn up.

You will find it here in the informative post entitled: Cou-Cou – A Snippet of Bajan Culture

– Travel Itineraries also has some interesting comments on the cou-cou experience.

Mine, for example, where we discuss the wow factor of cou-cou with red herring. Yum!


The cou-cou stick is integral, indeed paramount in the creation of this traditional bajan fare. It is used solely for cou-cou making.

OK. It has been known to be handy to swat the bums of pesky kids in the kitchen, but its culinary use is preserved. How else could we test the firmness of the finished product than with that same cou-cou stick?!

Like all things though, tradition gets slightly eroded at times. So in case you’re interested, and don’t want to build big cou-cou muscles in your arm, there is apparently a way to reduce time and effort in the making.

It is a recipe/method copied from insidethetravellab website, which removes the loving hard labour of stirring the cou-cou with the stick while it is steaming and you are sweating trying to get the consistency right…

A different take on the cornmeal cou-cou method, allowing the use of a whisk! Not very Barbadian that. 🙂

Bajan Recipe: Cornmeal Cou-Cou


Olive oil spray

4 cups water

Salt to taste

12 okras, washed, stems removed, cut crosswise about 1/4 inch thick

8 ounces FINE corn meal


Grease a bowl with olive oil spray and reserve.

Pour 3 cups water into a pot, add the okra and salt, bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

Strain the okra into a small bowl and reserve the water in a separate bowl.

Place a small pot over low heat, add the corn meal with one cup of water to soften, whisking mixture until it is completely combined.

Reduce the heat and continue beating with a whisk until it begins to thicken. Gradually (I repeat, GRADUALLY!) add the water from the okra, whisking to incorporate.

After about 3 minutes, start beating the corn meal with a coo coo stick and add in the okra until they are thoroughly mixed in.

Photo & Food by Mya (MyMy) Grizzle

Tradional or modern method this food is always enjoyable and filling. It is a satisfying belly warmer also known as Fungi in some countries and referred to in others as”turned cornmeal”.

Whichever you decide, Cou-Cou is a dish that can please any palate. You can do like Barbadians do and make it the main dish, or have it as a side dish to enhance other dishes. Either way it is a Bajan food to live by.  Give it a try.



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