This super creamy and delicious Jamaican cornmeal porridge makes a healthy and hearty breakfast. It’s warming, tasty and filling!
Last month, I was on a Skype call with my Uni friend that has been living in the Caribbean for 3 years now. It was still early over there and she was having her breakfast as we spoke. She was having a bowl of gorgeous cornmeal porridge topped with lots of fresh fruit and it certainly made me hungry! So after we got off the call I ran to my local supermarket and got a bag of fine cornmeal and some pineapple.
I made this cornmeal porridge once, and it quickly became on our weekly rotation of recipes to make for breakfast. First of all, this porridge is just sooo easy to make! It’s so simple and requires very few ingredients, and also it keeps you full until lunchtime! And the most important part? It’s SO creamy and tastes absolutely delicious!
JAMAICAN CORNMEAL PORRIDGE
After doing some research, I found that in the Jamaican households this porridge is called “cog” or “pop”.
This cornmeal porridge is a staple breakfast food in Jamaica and the Caribbean islands. Typically made with fine cornmeal, cows milk, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and sweetened with condensed milk. However, you can easily change things up and veganize this recipe if you like.
Here are some suggested substitutions that you can make if you want to change an ingredient:
Milk: Cow’s milk, half and half, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk. You can also just use water, but I wouldn’t recommend that as the porridge won’t be creamy and will taste different.
Sweetener: Sugar, condensed milk, coconut condensed milk, maple syrup, honey, molasses
Fruit: Banana, pineapple, passion fruit, mango, berries
HOW TO MAKE CORNMEAL PORRIDGE
In a medium-sized saucepan or pot, add water, milk, cornmeal, salt, and a cinnamon stalk and whisk everything together. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat and keep stirring constantly (using a whisk or a wooden spoon). You have to keep stirring constantly throughout the whole process.
The porridge will thicken, and you have to make sure that you remove it from heat when it’s not runny but also not way too thick. The texture has to be similar to a custard.
Add your sweetener of choice, and spice it up with ground nutmeg, and flavor with vanilla extract. Remove from heat immediately.
Serve in bowls, and top with your favorite fruit and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Traditionally, the porridge is served on its own with crackers on the side. But I like to top my porridge with plenty of fresh fruit.
THE THICKNESS OF CORNMEAL PORRIDGE
The thickness of the porridge depends on how you like the texture to be, but it shouldn’t be too watery nor too thick. I like mine on the runnier side as once the porridge starts to cool down, it will thicken up a bit more. So I would say that the thickness needs to be similar to custard when it’s still warm.
SWEETENING THE PORRIDGE
Traditionally this polenta porridge is sweetened with condensed milk. You can even use a coconut condensed milk if you’re following a plant-based diet. Condensed milk adds an amazing creamy texture and taste to the porridge so it’s a must try.
However, I don’t usually have condensed milk in my pantry so I just sweeten the porridge up with either cane or coconut sugar. And sometimes with maple syrup, but you can also use honey if you prefer.
If the porridge feels a bit too thick as you cook it, just add a splash of water to loosen it. You need to cook it for at least 10 minutes for the cornmeal to dissolve and become creamy.
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- 1 cup fine cornmeal
- 1 cup coconut milk in a carton - not canned. Or soy milk
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cinnamon stalk
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 tbsp cane sugar or coconut condensed milk or molasses or honey
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium pot, add the cornmeal along with the milk, water, salt and cinnamon stalk.
- Turn on the heat to medium, and keep stirring (I use a whisk).
- Cook the cornmeal until it thickens and has a porridge consistency (for around 10 minutes). Add the sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla extract and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat, and serve in bowls topped with fruit and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.