Jamaican cornmeal porridge – a delicious vegan twist on one of the most popular porridge recipes from the reggae island of Jamaica also known as cog or pap.
I have another Caribbean recipe to share with you guys and this on is called Jamaican cornmeal porridge.
I’m really pleased with how this naturally gluten free cornmeal breakfast recipe turned out. It took me some weeks to complete my own rendition of cornmeal porridge. To the point where I now have some of my family drinking this vegan version instead of the conventional one.
What is Jamaican cornmeal porridge?
Jamaican cornmeal porridge (aka cog or pap) is a dietary staple for Jamaicans and many Caribbean islands. The porridge is made from cornmeal (polenta), milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, water and condensed milk to serve as a sweetener.
It’s delicious, creamy, warming and very very filling.
What is the thickness of cornmeal porridge?
Cornmeal porridge is somewhere in the middle in terms of texture. It certainly shouldn’t be too thin/watery nor should it be so thick that you can literally cut it with a knife. It all depends on how much cornmeal is used to make the porridge.
For example if you’re making a recipe that calls for 1/2 of cup of cornmeal, you’ll want to make that you have three times the amount of liquid (3 cups approx) to compensate for the expansion of the porridge as it boils. Also as the porridge cools it tends to get thicker too.
It’s so much easier to control and correct porridge that is too thick (as you can add more liquid) than it is to rectify porridge that is too thin because for the increase in lumpiness from the addition of cornmeal.
Making Jamaican cornmeal porridge with coconut milk
The conventional version of cornmeal porridge is not dairy free or vegan friendly.
One thing I’ve learnt during my cornmeal crusade is the importance of condensed milk, especially for the vegan style. My previous attempts were made with solely coconut milk and coconut palm sugar.
Granted the results were okay, but underwhelming which left me disheartened. There was an edge and the sweet creamy taste that was missing. Thankfully I was able to identify the missing piece to the puzzle – condensed milk and rescue my recipe.
Finding the perfect vegan version wasn’t easy since a lot of recipes online call for a canned version containing additives and preservatives. Homemade milk wasn’t an option since it lacked the true fat content. Just when I was about to give up I brought some organic coconut milk to make my vegan condensed milk and voila – Cornmeal porridge vegan style was birthed.
Where can I buy organic/non GMO cornmeal porridge?
Since corn/cornmeal is on the GMO hit list it makes consumption quite controversial. The good news is there are organic and non-gmo versions which can be easily purchased mainly online from Amazon.
organic and non GMO cornmeal is expensive but I try my best to buy this when possible. However, if you’re primary concerns are only to veganise the recipe then this section doesn’t apply and you can buy your cornmeal from most local supermarkets.
There are different textures of cornmeal widely available ranging from super fine to course. I personally like the super fine texture because the porridge comes out creamy and smooth.
What are the health benefits of vegan cornmeal porridge?
- It’s wholegrain and contains no cholesterol
- Full of fiber to help ease constipation and keep you fuller for long
- Contains complex carbohydrate to yield energy
- Packed with vitamin A and other essential minerals for skin, hair and nail growth
Do I have to use coconut milk to make the recipe?
In short the answer is no. I know many people aren’t fans of coconut milk so an alternative plant based milk can be used to achieve the same results. Also, a few people want to know how to make cornmeal porridge without milk. This can be done by using leaving out the use of milk and using water only. By doing this will alter the taste drastically though.
Tips on how to make cornmeal porridge jamaican style
- Mix the cornmeal mixture as you’re adding it to the saucepan to avoid lumps.
- Use the superfine cornmeal for a creamy/smooth texture.
- Allow the cornmeal to cook for at least 15 minutes to yield optimal taste (the long the better).
- Use low fat or fat free plant based milk if you’re seeking a low fat option.
- The cornmeal will naturally thicken as it cools however if it seems too thick during cooking simply add 1/4 cup at a time of water if needed
Jamaican cornmeal porridge
Delicious Jamaican cornmeal porridge made free from dairy – Vegan, Vegetarian, gluten free
- Prep Time: 2 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- 1/2 cup of organic cornmeal (preferably non GMO)
- 1 cup of water
- 3 cups of coconut milk
- 1/3 of coconut condensed milk (see link above)
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp of himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 tsp of vanilla powder (or 1tsp of vanilla extract)
- Mix the cornmeal with water and set aside.
- Pour the 3 cups of coconut milk into a sauce pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Once the milk starts to boil, add the cornmeal mixture to the pot. Do this slowly and make sure to turn consistency to omit lumps – continue to stir until all the watery cornmeal has gone.
- At this point this is where the remainder of recipe requires plenty of stirring, so get that arm in motion while adding the outstanding spices and condensed milk.
- Continue to stir for 15 minutes until the porridge is smooth and creamy.
Ensure to stir cornmeal in the initial stages and throughout to omit lumps forming.
Cornmeal is sometimes sold as polenta or maize meal.