How to make Coo Coo with Coconut Milk and Okra

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Coo Coo with Coconut Milk and Okra in baking dish

Coo Coo (or Cou Cou) is a cornmeal dish that resembles Ugali from Africa or Polenta from Europe. However, this Caribbean version is flavored with Coconut Milk Okra and local herbs and seasonings. As with most Caribbean dishes, the local vegetables, herbs, and seasonings start the base of the dish to provide that aromatic depth of flavor. Next, coconut milk is used to hydrate the cornmeal, which gives the dish a sweet, creamy flavor. The mixture is finally poured into a dish, sometimes intentionally to create a specific shape. Once the dish has solidified, it's then sliced and served alongside any meat dish or with Callaloo drizzled over the top.

What are the benefits of okra?

Okra is a vegetable that is low in fat, calories, carbs and high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a good choice of plant-based protein. That being said, Okra is a welcomed addition to any diet, especially beneficial for those on low-carb diets.   

What is okra called in Jamaica?

Okra is sometimes referred to as ladyfingers, which resemble a long, slim finger. 

Is okra good for ladies?

Yes, okra is good for ladies. Okra is high in Folate, which women need plenty of during pregnancy to help keep their baby happy and healthy. 

How do you make okra with coconut milk?

A Caribbean way of cooking Okra in coconut milk is in what's called a "rundown." This coconut milk is reduced with the aromatic flavors of onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, bay leaves, seasoning, and scotch bonnet peppers. This can be used to make fish, conch stew, or cooked with vegetables added to the rundown, such as Okra. 

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Time & Serves

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Serves
4 persons

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup Cornmeal Fine Ground

  • 750 ml Coconut Milk

  • 250-500 ml Water

  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter

  • 1 tablespoon Virgin Coconut Oil

  • 1 small Onion Minced

  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

  • 1 large Seasoning Peppers, Minced

  • 3 Chadon Beni Leaves, Minced

  • 1 stalk Chinese Celery with leaves Minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

  • 1 small Carrot, Minced

  •  2 cups Okra, sliced

  • Salt And Black Pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon of Butter or Oil for greasing the pan. 

Instructions

Prepare the mold(s) that will be used to pour the final mixture into for serving by using one large baking dish or several smaller dishes by greasing them with butter or oil and setting them aside. Be creative with molds by using Pyrex Baking pans, or Bowls to make fun and exciting shapes.

Overview of greased pans

Using a stockpot, add the butter and coconut oil and place on medium heat, allowing the butter to melt and mix with the coconut milk using a spatula.

Overview of a pot with butter and coconut oil

Add onion, garlic, seasoning peppers, chadon beni, celery, thyme and carrot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Overview of a pot containing onion, garlic, seasoning peppers, chadon beni, celery, thyme and carrot

Add Okra and mix to combine with the other ingredients, allowing to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Overview of a pot with fresh okra being added to it

Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring and mixing the pot.

Coconut milk being added to a pot of ingredients

Once the coconut milk is boiling, turn the heat down and begin to whisk the mixture while you slowly add the cornmeal a little at a time, continuing to whisk. This will prevent lumps of corn meal and help to create a smooth, creamy consistency throughout the dish.

Areal view of a pot with cornmeal being added to it

Add salt and black pepper to taste, and add water if the mixture becomes very thick and the cornmeal has already absorbed all the milk.

Areal view of a pot of coo coo being whisked

When the mixture begins to come away from the sides of the pot or the whisk can stand up on its own it's ready.

Areal view of a whisk standing up in a pot of coo coo with okra

Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared mold(s) and smooth with the back of a spoon or spatula and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes. Add some extra pieces of okra to the tops for an excellent family-style presentation. 

Pans containing coo coo with okra being smoothed out with a spatula

Once they have cooled and solidified, leave them in the mold or remove them from the mold and into shapes, and serve alongside a meat entrée or with callaloo.

Overview of coo coo with okra in their molds
Rachael Ottier Hart
Author:

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart

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Keywords
Coo Coo with Coconut Milk and Okra, cou cou, Cornmeal with coconut Milk and Okra, Caribbean Polenta, Caribbean coconut cornmeal, cornmeal, coconut milk, okra

Querino De Freitas (not verified)

I LOVE Co Co and Callaloo. I lived in Trinidad before coming to London. Co Co was served for Sunday lunch with Callaloo cooked with crab and sometimes rice and pigeon peas. I cook the same now, but it doesn't taste the same, maybe the surroundings are not the same....but that can't be helped. Cheers Querino

Permalink 03 Mar 2024

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Rachael Ottier Hart
Author:

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart