Cou Cou

From time to time I’ve gotten comments on my write ups about the different cuisines I have explored. Mostly they are complimentary, but sometimes people are very offended at what I’ve written and want to set me straight. For example, I got a lot of hate mail regarding my write up of Appalachian cuisine – apparently a newspaper columnist there organized a letter writing campaign to let me know how offended they were at my thoughts. My Assyrian menu has also generated some mail from Assyrians who tell me that I did it all wrong. They’ve promised to send me recipes so I can cook a real Assyrian meal, but so far I haven’t gotten any.
But no individual recipe has received more comments than my recipe for coucou, a cornmeal dish eaten throghout the Caribbean. Apparently I did it all wrong. Here is the last e-mail I’ve gotten on the subject.
“Of course you, probably a white woman, would find the dish bland but if you were a native you would understand that cou-cou is not a stand alone dish. The national dish of Barbados is “cou-cou and flying fish” and like mash potatoes and gravy, the flavor of the cou-cou comes from the gravy of the fish. If you do not have flying fish, you could use any other steamed fish, liver, etc. anything that makes a good gravy.
If the picture on your website is the result of what you made no wonder it was bland cause it looks like poop which means you probably made it wrong.
Happy recipe hunting but next time maybe you should stick to hamburgers and french fries.”

15 Comments

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15 Responses to Cou Cou

  1. sharon

    I was wondering what that stuff in the bowl was..it looks nothing like cou-cou

  2. Cherrie

    I am a Barbadian who was searching online for a picture of Cou-Cou to help explain the dish to a friend. I am sorry, but the commentors are right in saying that the picture does not resemble Cou-Cou as I know it. I also know why you could not recommend placing the result into a buttered bowl and then unmolding it into a serving dish. You could not possibly achieve a mould with the consistency that is evident from the picture.
    However, I must commend you for your obvious love of food recipes from around the world. Many people cannot open their minds to such pleasures. I don’t care what color, shape or size you are, I love that you have embraced Cou-Cou and had such wonderful things to say about it. The fact that it was bland and tasteless was NOT your fault. As you explained, the recipes that you were able to find were all bland and did not do it justice.

  3. K Brown

    What does a cou-cou stick look like? Do you have a photo or know where I can find one.

  4. Rob

    I understand were the last person was comeing from But … wow what a bitch!

  5. L-FB

    I just had to add…there is no one in the Caribbean that can make Cou-cou like Barbadians. It is a Barbadian dish.

  6. Anonymous

    Well I am Antiguan and the Bajan cou-cou is similar to what we refer to as Fungee. Umm..but what you made really went wrong somewhere, the consistency is all wrong and it looks pretty nasty. In Antigua the dish is not served alone, it is served with saltfish and is not bland at all! Practice makes perfect, try it again and this time try to achieve the consistency and put it in the buttered bowl and unmould it. You will see how nice it looks…what you did there looks inedible!

  7. neil

    well like Cherrie said that pic looking nothing like cou cou but u tried and it is good to see people from other races trying bajan dishes

  8. Souse

    It is totally incorrect for Barbadians to refer to cou-cou as a Bajan dish. This is a dish made with cornmeal and it is done all over the Caribbean, and called by different names. Cou-cou is primarily a Leeward Island dish being most widely used in those islands

  9. 100jan

    Souse, your right that cou cou is used by the Leeward islands but it is bajans national dish and that makes it a bajan dish, so please get it correct.

  10. 100jan

    Souse, your right that cou cou is used by the Leeward islands but it is bajans national dish and that makes it a bajan dish, so please get it correct.

  11. bajanyankee

    i have to agree with many of the previous posts. the photo looks nothing like cou-cou. if you had the opportunity to try it before you prepared it, you would have known that something went wrong.

  12. T

    It would be good if you can actually sample a traditional bajan dish of Cou-Cou & Flying Fish and then get some pointers on how it is prepared. Hey! Try agian and let us know how it went.

  13. Lisa

    An alternate recipe: I am a Bajan (didn’t live there very long), but my Grandmother showed me the “new” method of making cou-cou, which turns out perfect and delicious every time:
    In a blender, blend –
    4 cups water
    6 okra
    1 tsp salt
    Add 1 cup FINE yellow cornmeal and blend.
    (The type is very important and hard to find in the States. Check Caribean stores. Sprouts also carries a fine, organic corn meal).
    Pour in a buttered casserole dish and microwave 2 min. at a time, stirring each time, until thickened. It continues to thicken as it cools.
    The posts are correct (from what I’ve learned) – is not a stand alone dish. To be served with what Bajan’s call gravy which is usually made with a fish, tomoto, onions, and curry mixture. Just made this last night, as a matter of fact!!
    Good luck!!

  14. Sorry your Cou Cou came out wrong – looks kinda bland and lacks the correct consistency. You should be able to mould it just like mash potato.
    Regarding your most recent (ignorant) email, this here “white woman” does love her cou cou and don’t find it bland… the comments on race really were not necessary to put the point across!
    As regards the comments posted by neil at January 27, 2007 3:49 AM: “It is totally incorrect for Barbadians to refer to cou-cou as a Bajan dish. This is a dish made with cornmeal and it is done all over the Caribbean, and called by different names. Cou-cou is primarily a Leeward Island dish being most widely used in those islands”
    It is totally incorrect for Neil to claim that Bajans cannot claim cou-cou as a Bajan dish. He needs to do more research before speaking out so boldly, so let me try and show him how we mean:
    (1) Flying Fish and Cou Cou is the national dish of Barbados;
    (2) Cou Cou using cornmeal alone IS primarily a Leeward Island dish being most widely used in those islands, BUT Bajan Cou Cou is not made in the same way. The main ingredient (in addition to the cornmeal) in Bajan Cou-Cou is Okra…. you won’t find that in your Leeward Islands Cou-Cou and nor will your Leeward Islansds Cou-Cou taste as good as the Bajan version.

  15. BajanChick

    LOL EW LOOK AT THAT PICTURE!!! DAMN RIGHT YOU DID IT WRONG!!
    I can only imagine how that atrocity tastes!!

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