Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge (recipe)

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

This post was originally published on April 1, 2007. It has been updated once since then

In 2007 I was asked to share Five (Foodie) Things Most People Don’t Know About Me. One of them was that cornmeal porridge is one of my ultimate comfort foods. My Jamaican mother made it regularly for me as a child, particularly if I was unwell or feeling particularly downtrodden. Cornmeal porridge holds a very special place in the Jamaican food psyche. Its prominence was highlighted in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of (the now defunct?) Jamaican Eats

Excerpt:
I ALWAYS KNEW THAT JAMAICANS WERE PORRIDGE-LOVING PEOPLE, what I didn’t realize was the extent of our porridge craze. We found vendors serving up steaming bowls of porridge from the back of their vans and from pushcarts in busy community squares. We even got wind of a bicycle porridge man who balances his trade in the Portmore area of St. Catherine. Plus, porridge no longer means just oats and cornmeal. As a porridge lover, I was amazed (and warmed) by some of the porridges combinations I found.

This love and attachment is one that my Jamaican mother has successfully transferred to me in turn. I make mine the way she showed me. An American friend once asked me if she could add jam and fruit?!? OK. Let me say that when it comes to most things culinary I believe in less is more, and with certain dishes some things are just heresy. So feel free to throw in the kitchen sink, I wouldn’t say no, but please please please don’t let me know about it. To me (an old school girl who learnt from an old school yardie) porridge is a healing, simple, almost purifying elixir. Fruit and jam… tsk tsk tsk.

If you follow the below instructions to a tee you should not have any problems. The main problem that people encounter when attempting to make cornmeal porridge is the existence of lumps. This can be avoided by first making a ‘slurrie’ of cornmeal and cold water (as stated in the first step). You also want to be sure that the water in the saucepan is indeed boiling as this will also prevent the formation of lumps when the slurrie is added :)

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge (recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

METHOD:

1. Mix the cornmeal with 1/2 cup of the water
2. Bring the remaining 1 cup of water to the boil
3. Stir in the cornmeal mixture and salt
4. Continue cooking for 10 minutes

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

5. Add condensed milk and vanilla essence

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

6. Top with grated cinnamon and nutmeg

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

Makes 3-4 servings

This recipe is an exclusive TriniGourmet original. Please do not share it or post it to your site without crediting TriniGourmet.com and linking back to this site :)

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Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt

    I would guess that the vanilla and the condensed milk really brings out the sweetness of the cornmeal — sounds lovely and so easy to do!

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      they do! :) and the whole thing is very smooth and creamy, not gritty at all :) it’s my ultimate comfort dish :lol:

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt

    I would guess that the vanilla and the condensed milk really brings out the sweetness of the cornmeal — sounds lovely and so easy to do!

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      they do! :) and the whole thing is very smooth and creamy, not gritty at all :) it’s my ultimate comfort dish :lol:

  • Nj

    I’m making it right now…its my comfort dish too. reminds me of Sundays morning when my mom would make a big pot!

  • Nj

    I’m making it right now…its my comfort dish too. reminds me of Sundays morning when my mom would make a big pot!

  • Jesse

    I am glad, I found this page.
    I’ve only had cornmeal porridge,once.
    A friend of mine, made it one day, while we were at Camp Casey, Korea.
    I miss her.
    And can’t wait to try it!

  • Jesse

    I am glad, I found this page.
    I’ve only had cornmeal porridge,once.
    A friend of mine, made it one day, while we were at Camp Casey, Korea.
    I miss her.
    And can’t wait to try it!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    NJ – hope it turned out right :D Isn’t it funny how evocative even a simple dish can be? :)

    Jesse – I hope you had success with this recipe :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    NJ – hope it turned out right :D Isn’t it funny how evocative even a simple dish can be? :)

    Jesse – I hope you had success with this recipe :)

  • Susan

    Just finished making a pot of cornmeal porridge. My mum used to make it all the time but you know how it goes…you eat eat eat but don’t always remember to note how it is prepared when you are young. Anyway your website was a useful reminder of the proportions of meal to fluid. Just need to find some cinnamon now.
    Thanks. Susan UK

  • Susan

    Just finished making a pot of cornmeal porridge. My mum used to make it all the time but you know how it goes…you eat eat eat but don’t always remember to note how it is prepared when you are young. Anyway your website was a useful reminder of the proportions of meal to fluid. Just need to find some cinnamon now.
    Thanks. Susan UK

  • kitwana kafele

    Right i am gonna try this recipe, wish me luck. I will tell how it come out

  • kitwana kafele

    Right i am gonna try this recipe, wish me luck. I will tell how it come out

  • Joy

    When I was young, I would go to my Jamaican friend’ s house every morning to pick her up and her Mom would have porridge ready. Some 30 years later, the taste is so clear in my mind, that I thought I would never be able to enjoy those flavors again. Thank you, thank you, so much for this recipe, I made a pot and all over again I feel six years old.

  • Joy

    When I was young, I would go to my Jamaican friend’ s house every morning to pick her up and her Mom would have porridge ready. Some 30 years later, the taste is so clear in my mind, that I thought I would never be able to enjoy those flavors again. Thank you, thank you, so much for this recipe, I made a pot and all over again I feel six years old.

  • Kira J

    I actually just had a bowlof porride this morning. I’m American but my grandfather was West Indian (from Barbuda)and I’ve been eating it since I was young. Since he passed away (12 years now) I havent found any place that makes it the way I remember until recently. And now that I’ve found this recipe I will be sure to make my own so thank you.

  • Kira J

    I actually just had a bowlof porride this morning. I’m American but my grandfather was West Indian (from Barbuda)and I’ve been eating it since I was young. Since he passed away (12 years now) I havent found any place that makes it the way I remember until recently. And now that I’ve found this recipe I will be sure to make my own so thank you.

  • Melanie

    Yum and double yum–I love this recipe and will make cornmeal porridge very soon using your Mom’s recipe. Thanks.

  • Melanie

    Yum and double yum–I love this recipe and will make cornmeal porridge very soon using your Mom’s recipe. Thanks.

  • tom the jamerican

    In falmouth jamaica, pauls wife sharon cooks it with bit of orange peel, finishes it off nicely, I wouldve eaten a whole pot of this if no one else was there.

  • tom the jamerican

    In falmouth jamaica, pauls wife sharon cooks it with bit of orange peel, finishes it off nicely, I wouldve eaten a whole pot of this if no one else was there.

  • Cathy

    Try using coconut milk, it’s yummy. Our last trip to Jamaica we were served porridge made with coconut milk and it was sooo good!

  • Cathy

    Try using coconut milk, it’s yummy. Our last trip to Jamaica we were served porridge made with coconut milk and it was sooo good!

  • dianne

    Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    I had it first at room temp. But its just as good hot. I think I will then try it cold. Good Recipe…..Thanks

  • dianne

    Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    I had it first at room temp. But its just as good hot. I think I will then try it cold. Good Recipe…..Thanks

  • http://dingolay-des.blogspot.com/ Desiree

    I thought that it was just me who considered cornmeal porridge the ultimate comfort food. My mother taught me to make it with coconut milk, so when I went to Jamaica and saw a friend making it with condensed milk, I was horrified! But tastes just as yummy both ways. I always wanted to know how to make that Jamaican porridge with corn kernels floating in it; was it called hominy or something?
    .-= Desiree´s last blog ..Refresh =-.

  • http://dingolay-des.blogspot.com/ Desiree

    I thought that it was just me who considered cornmeal porridge the ultimate comfort food. My mother taught me to make it with coconut milk, so when I went to Jamaica and saw a friend making it with condensed milk, I was horrified! But tastes just as yummy both ways. I always wanted to know how to make that Jamaican porridge with corn kernels floating in it; was it called hominy or something?
    .-= Desiree´s last blog ..Refresh =-.

  • ria

    You are absolutely right about Jamaicans and their porridge. My Jamaican husband has been after me for years to feel the passion for porridge. I think porridge is ok but could probably live without it. Anyway my hubby and I have reached a compromise- I'll love porridge when he loves my trini calalloo! (hmmm..he loathes ochroes so …)

  • ria

    You are absolutely right about Jamaicans and their porridge. My Jamaican husband has been after me for years to feel the passion for porridge. I think porridge is ok but could probably live without it. Anyway my hubby and I have reached a compromise- I'll love porridge when he loves my trini calalloo! (hmmm..he loathes ochroes so …)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/karenj87 Karen Jeffrey

    I love cornmeal porridge. I think it’s a West Indian thing. It’s the first food they give to babies except it’s made very thin with milk and a touch of sugar so they can be fed through their bottle. They usually give them as the meal before sleep because it was believed it made them sleep through the night. Ours is usually sweet just like Cream of Wheat. Now that I live in the US it is the best on a cold winter day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karenj87 Karen Jeffrey

    I love cornmeal porridge. I think it’s a West Indian thing. It’s the first food they give to babies except it’s made very thin with milk and a touch of sugar so they can be fed through their bottle. They usually give them as the meal before sleep because it was believed it made them sleep through the night. Ours is usually sweet just like Cream of Wheat. Now that I live in the US it is the best on a cold winter day.

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