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+ servings
Cornmeal with onions on a white plate with a cloth

Saltfish Turn Cornmeal

A modern day twist of a classic Jamaican dish, made with coarse cornmeal, saltfish, herbs and spices and cooked in coconut milk
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Jamaican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 426kcal
Author Charla


  • 2 cups of coarse cornmeal 250g
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk 400ml/2 cups
  • 2 cups of water 400ml
  • 1 cup of cooked saltfish 90g (see post for homemade recipe)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 scallion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme stem removed or 1/1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon all purpose seasoning optional, see post for recipe
  • 2 tablespoon of dairy free butter
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil


  • Pour the cornmeal in a bowl/jug and mix together with the water to form a liquid paste then set aside.
  • On medium heat, use a medium sized pot and add olive oil then proceed to saute the onion, scallion and garlic until soft and translucent.
  • Now add the tomato, saltfish, thyme, all purpose seasoning, black pepper and continue cook for 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and add the dairy free butter.
  • Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let the coconut milk heat up for 2 minutes
  • Slowly pour the cornmeal paste/mixture into the pot while stirring vigorously with the other hand until it starts to thicken (it should look like a milky/porridge consistency to begin with)
  • Cover the pot with a lid and let it steam/cook for a total  of 30 minutes, check and gently stir (3-4 turns) every 10 minutes. Around the 25 minute mark is where you want to really focus on increasing the heat to medium-high and stirring to bring the cornmeal together. Stir, fold and cut the turn cornmeal as it thickens. It should pull away from the sides of the pot with ease
  • Serve accordingly. as the cornmeal cools down it separates and scrambles very easily.


  • I personally recommend using the coarse textured cornmeal to make this recipe.
  • Make sure to follow the instructions to the TEE, especially it's your first time making the recipe, do not increase the heat (unless stated) or try to hasten the cooking process or you run the risk of ruining the dish.
  • Make sure the heat is reduced when pouring the cornmeal mixture to avoid lumps and the cornmeal from thickening too quickly. If it thickens too fast it won't cook properly.
  • Turn cornmeal should be dense and scrambles/breaks apart especially as it cools.
  • Coarse cornmeal takes slightly longer then it's finer counterpart to cook.
  • It's best to serve immediately or warm at best
  • Add a splash of water if you intend to reheat first of all.


Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 91mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 393IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg