Traditional Barbadian Cou Cou

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Barbadian Cou Cou - Cornmeal and Okra - Barbadian Recipe - Caribbean Recipe

Barbadian Cou Cou / Cornmeal and Okra (Courtesy @mzsparkyl | Instagram)

Cou Cou served with flying fish is the national dish of Barbados. Cou Cou is made of cornmeal and okra, and to be made the authentic Barbadian way, you have to use a Cou Cou stick, which looks like a small cricket bat, to blend the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency.


  • 8oz corn meal
  • 3oz okras
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • water
  • salt to taste


  1. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal with sufficient water to cover the meal. Set aside.
  2. Cut the tops and bottoms off the okras and slice into rings. Place the sliced okras in a saucepan with water, chopped onion and salt. Bring to a medium boil for a few minutes until the okras soften.
  3. Strain the okras into a bowl, setting aside the liquid.
  4. Add about a quarter of the okra liquid back into the saucepan and add the soaked meal. You’ll need a whisk or wooden stick to stir the cou cou as it cooks. In Barbados they use a flat wooden spoon known as a ‘cou cou stick’. Stir constantly to avoid lumping.
  5. Add more of the okra liquid gradually. You can tell you’re nearly finished when the cou cou starts to bubble gently at the surface. At this point add in the cooked okra slices and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.


  • Best served with fish and lots of gravy.
By Traditional Bajan Recipes