Okra Coo-coo

Okra Coo-coo or Okra cuckoo is traditional Barbados dish usually served with fried fish.
Slimy okra was a bit of a challenge in our kitchen. My husband and I, we both like the taste, but every recipe witch we have tried turn out to be a small disaster. Ok, except frying it in tempura. Until we discovered this dish.
I really do not know is this true – original – traditional recipe and maybe we cook it completely wrong. Who cares anyway?! I’m not from Barbados and I can’t tell the difference.

10 – 15 okras (depending on the size)
1 cup cornmeal (medium to coarse consistencies)
5 cups water
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp. salt or to taste
freshly grated white pepper

Soak the cornmeal in 2 cups of water. Stir it well so that the cornmeal is wet throughout. Set aside. Wash the okra and cut off the tops and point of the bottoms. Slice them crosswise about 1 cm thick. Set aside. In a saucepan heat the butter and gently sauté onion and garlic until soft and nicely smelly. Add okra, salt and remaining water. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes on low heat or until okra is cooked.

Add wet cornmeal. To avoid lumps: pour out half of the okras and the cooking liquid and set aside. Return the pot to a very low heat and pour in the wet cornmeal in a slow steady stream. Stir constantly to break up any lumps. Use wooden spoon. Then add reserved liquid and okras slowly, again stir in constantly. Cook, until cornmeal is cooked. If you are using fine consistency cornmeal few minutes will be enough. I like to use medium or coarse cornmeal and cook it for 10 – 15 more minutes on very low heat, stirring now and then. It will splatter if the heat is too high. Oh, who am I kidding? It will splatter. It always does, keep it partly covered with a lid. If the consistency is to dry and the cornmeal is not cooked yet add some water. When done, taste, season with white pepper and more salt if necessary.  Let it rest for few minutes with a lid on. Spread little amount of olive oil or butter in ramekins and pour in Coo-coo to shape it.

Our favorite way to eat this this is all the way vegetarian. Coo-coo Okra served with Sauté Zucchini.

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