Bring a taste of Haiti to your home by learning how to make this vegan rendition of this Akasan. A popular porridge like drink made from corn flour, star anise, cinnamon and plant based milk.
They say that the most important meal of the day is breakfast and I truly believe it is. That's why I'm showcasing this popular breakfast recipe courtesy of the Haitian people called Akasan.
This drink is incredibly tasty, filling and oh so flavoursome. I also took the liberty of making it dairy free for people are vegan or lactose intolerant.
What is Akasan
Akasan aka ak100 drink originates from the island of Haiti. This porridge like beverage is typically served hot or cold for breakfast and great for people who are on the go. The ingredients consists of yellow corn flour, star anise, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and evaporated milk.
When I first came across this recipe I was immediately intrigued. Each Caribbean island, be it French, Spanish or Dutch colony, all share some similarities. Breakfast is very important to Caribbean people with porridge being a popular choice and I'm not referring to plain ole oatmeal.
What instantly draw my attention to this recipe was the similarities to Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge and my Cornmeal Porridge with Hominy Corn. Akasan certainly looks like the porridge I grew to love. The key difference is the use of star anise, the lack of condensed milk to sweeten to taste and the texture is thinner.
I suppose in a sense you could summarise ak100 as a Haitian corn flour porridge. Regardless I really enjoyed my Haitian akasan experience. The flavour from the star anise really comes through and compliments the cinnamon so well.
I will definitely be having this on a weekly basis.
Cornflour vs cornmeal vs cornmeal
There appears to be some MAJOR confusion when it comes to these three things. It all comes down to what part of the world you are in because these terms can be interchangeable.
For arguments sake I am going to give a quick definition of each so we are all on the same page
Cornflour - This is the result of the cornkernels being milled. In other words, it's a finest version of cornmeal that you can get hold of. It is so fine that it can be used as flour in some recipes that would normally call for wheat flour.
Cornmeal - It's a coarser version of cornflour which derives from dried corn. This is what is used for make polenta, cornbread by Americans or cornmeal porridge in various parts of the Caribbean.
Cornstarch - is a fine white powder that derives from the starchy part of the corn kernels. It has a much high starch content then cornmeal and cornflour so it can be dissolved in water and used as a thickening agent. In the UK cornflour and cornstarch are often interchangeable which is an example of why there's so much confusion when it is called for in a recipe!
Ingredients you will need
- Yellow cornflour: You want cornflour is NOT the same as cornstarch. It's the finest cornmeal that is available to buy.
- Water: You will need some water to mix the cornflour with.
- Raw almond milk :I used almond milk but there's no reason why coconut, cashew or hazelnut milk won't work too.
- Star anise: A very important ingredient for this specific porridge!!
- Cinnamon sticks/Nutmeg: Both spices are used to serve as flavour enhancers
- Coconut Sugar (low GI): You can use another slow releasing sweetener if you wish.
- Himalayan pink salt: For taste!!
How to make haitian akasan
- Bring the water to the boil with the star anise and cinnamon sticks
- Add the cornflour to a jug and whisk into a smooth paste with the cup of water.
- Slowly pour the cornflour paste into the saucepan with the boiling water, whisking to avoid any lumps.
- Add the almond milk and sweetener to taste and serve - hot or cold
What do you do with any leftovers?
Feel free to refrigerate any leftovers can consume what is left within 2 days.
Where can you purchase yellow corn flour?
Any ethnic grocery store - think African, Latino, Caribbean should stock or online where I have listed the ingredients you need using a hyperlink.
Notes and tips
- Bring the water to boiling point. When adding the cinnamon sticks and star anise make sure the water is boiling before moving onto the next step. You should be able to smell the spices!
- Mix the cornflour with 1 part water. You want to make a paste first before adding any cornflour. This is done to avoid your Akasan from becoming lumpy. Remember to stir continuously as you add the paste to the saucepan.
- Plant based milk. The original recipe calls for animal milk (evaporated milk) so feel free to use almond milk instead
- Sweeten to taste. I only used about ¼ or ⅓ of a cup of coconut sugar. Sweetness is really down to the preference of the individual, so you decide!
More porridge recipes you may like
- Jamaican Peanut Porridge
- Jamaican Oats Porridge
- Sago Porridge
- Hominy Corn Porridge
- Roasted Almond Porridge
- Yellow Plantain Porridge
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