Cou Cou, what does that sound like to you ? If you guessed a comforting hearty meal then you’re correct. This polenta like dish is traditionally served with flying fish that is drenched in a spicy-savory tomato sauce. Flying fish literally fly out of the water and soar over the sea with there wing like fins. It is one of Barbados’s national treasures and it’s picture is engraved on our silver dollar coins. Oprah even did a video about this not so ordinary fish here that you can check out.
For this recipe I will not be using any fish however I will be using the traditional Bajan seasoning that this fish is rubbed with before it’s cooked and it’s vegan. Tofu will transform into fish and will be immersed in the spicy tomato sauce. Can you hear all of the beautiful little flying fish rejoicing ? I certainly can.
Bajan seasoning is a savory blend of thyme,scallions,onions,garlic,hot peppers,parsley and spices. It can be used in many different vegan meat dishes. It really gives great depth of flavor and is the secret seasoning that you taste in many Caribbean dishes,but can’t put your finger on.
Okra is like me. It’s plain,simple and not to many people like it.Only a few people who dare to prepare it find out just how great it can be. It’s used to add smoothness and a little flavor to the cornmeal. Don’t worry, it’s not slimy at all.I find that if you don’t over cook okra, it will soak up whatever flavors you cook it in and remain chewy.
I hope that you prepare this dish and it becomes one that you turn to for comfort like so many Bajans and Caribbean food lovers.
Robust and Flavorful Barbadian Cou Cou
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 okras sliced thin
- 1/2 an onion minced
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 11/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter I used earth balance
- Grease two medium bowls with butter or oil and set aside.
- Place the water into a medium saucepan.
- Then Add in the salt, okra and onion. Let cook for 10 minutes.
- Place the cornmeal into a medium bowl,pour in the water and mix until it forms a loose paste. Add more water if needed.
- Transfer the cornmeal paste into the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Keep stirring with a wooden spoon for 25-30 minutes.
- Transfer the Cou Cou into tho bowls and shake in a circular motion.
- Then flip the bowl over onto a plate.
- Top with butter and set aside.
Breaded Fried Tofu
- 1 pack of extra firm tofu
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 teaspoons salt
- Enough oil to fry
- Pat dry the tofu with clean paper towels and cut into 1 inch slices.
- Place the cornmeal,flour and salt into a large plate and mix.
- Coat both sides of the tofu with the flour mix.
- Fry on both sides until golden brown.
- Take out and place onto a paper towel lined plate.
- Reserve the oil.
- 1/2 green bell pepper roughly chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper roughly chopped
- 1/2 an orange bell pepper roughly chopped
- 1 onion peeroughly chopped
- 1/2 hot pepper I used habanero
- 5 springs thyme destemmed
- 2 scallions roughly chopped
- 4 springs fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 ripe tomatoes thinly sliced
- 1 orange juiced
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- salt to taste I used 1 teaspoon and a pinch more
- 1 cup water
- Place the first 9 ingredients into a food processor and process until broken down, but not soupy.
- Fry in the same oil that you took the tofu out of until the seasoning has cooked.
- Then put in the ketchup,tomatoes,orange juice,butter,maple syrup and salt.
- Mix well and add in the water.
- Let simmer on low heat for 7-10 minutes.
- Place the tofu into the sauce and coat well.
- Then serve over the Cou Cou and enjoy.
*remove the bottoms from the scallions before chopping.
This recipe has many steps but if you’re up for it,it will make a welcoming departure from the ordinary.