International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Measuring cup with cornmeal

(Bajan cornmeal mush with okra)

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Average: 4 (13 votes)

Coo-coo, or cou-cou, is one half of "coo-coo and flying fish," the Bajan national dish. This cornmeal porridge is similar to Italy's polenta or Africa's fufu and ugali. Okra goes by the name "ochro" on Barbados.

4 to 6 servings


  • Okra, destemmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds -- 1/2 pound
  • Water -- 3 cups
  • Salt -- to taste
  • Cornmeal -- 1 cup
  • Butter -- 1 tablespoon


  1. Place the okra, water and salt to season in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until okra is just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the cornmeal into the simmering water in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Continue to stir until the mush thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Pour the mush into an oiled round bowl large enough to hold it all. Let set for a few minutes, then invert this bowl onto a serving platter or bowl. This gives it a nice rounded presentation. Brush the top with butter and serve with steamed flying fish or stews.

Coo-Coo Variations

  • Use chicken stock in place of the water for more flavor if you like.
  • This dish is sometimes made with cassava flour.


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