The cornmeal porridge recipe below is based on the Jamaican way of preparing this delicious hot cereal. If you have never tried cornmeal porridge, you are definitely missing out. If you have you know what this hot, creamy, delicious goodness is all about. Caribbean people love porridge. So much so that we’ve created or adapted endless variations including peanut, banana, plantain, and hominy. But ask a few Caribbean islander what their favorite porridge and I is bet the most popular answer you will hear is cornmeal porridge. In Jamaica, cornmeal and other porridge are usually served for breakfast solo, with crackers or with a chunk of fresh-baked bread.
Simple Homemade Deliciousness
There are as many cornmeal variations as there are cooks. A fine to medium grain is recommended for this recipe. Anything thicker and you will have issues getting the porridge to thicken. Anything thinner and you will have a thin watery porridge that’s more like akasan than porridge. I generally use 2 to 3 types of milk when making any porridge. Coconut and Condensed milk are almost always involved. Occasionally there will be whole milk lingering so it gets added. Use 1 or as many as you like. If you use condensed milk taste for sweetness before adding any other sweetener.
Porridge is often the first table food that we feed to babies in the Caribbean. Because it is easy to digest and high in nutrients porridge is often fed to the sick. Sweet porridges are traditionally flavored with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Savory porridges, flavored with meats and vegetables, are less popular in the Caribbean. Congee or Jook is a savory rice porridge that is often served for breakfast in Asian cultures.
What’s so Good About Cornmeal Porridge
Cornmeal porridge is a delicious low-fat inexpensive breakfast. Depending on the ingredients used, it is a good source of calcium and other nutrients. Sweeten your porridge with condensed milk and honey for a healthier alternative to this delicious Caribbean treat. There are many other porridge variations served by almost every culture worldwide. Most porridge is served hot and can be sweet or savory. Porridge is made by boiling processed grain or select fruits in water, milk, or a combination of the two.
Use a whisk or a wooden spoon to stir your porridge. Either one of these utensils will allow you to continue stirring the porridge as it thickens, without scratching the pot. A necessary step to prevent your porridge from being lumpy.
- 1 C cornmeal
- 3 C water
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ C coconut milk
- ½ C condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- *½ tsp cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
- *½ tsp nutmeg
- Bring 2 C. water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add salt to water. In a small bowl, mix cornmeal with 1 C. water. Stir cornmeal into boiling water. Reduce heat to med – low and stir until porridge thickens. Cover and let porridge cook for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently, while boiling. After 10 minutes stir in milk and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Watch pot carefully because the milk will cause the porridge to boil over. After 5 minutes turn off the stove and stir in remaining ingredients. Serve porridge while hot.
*½ C. milk for ½ C. condensed milk, omit sugar if using sweetened condensed milk