Hello people! Today, Caribbean food trails bring you all the way to Antigua and Barbuda, to share their national dish. Now, it’s called Fungee and pepperpot, but it is nothing like it sounds. We have already seen the recipe for pepperpot stew (hyperlink), and today, we bring you the set.
Made of okra mixed cornmeal, Fungee is a ball of bread, somewhat like polenta. To make fungee, okra is boiled in salted water and mixed with wet cornmeal until the mixture becomes stiff. When the mixture does not stick to the pan, the fungee is ready to be consumed. Pepperpot, on the other hand, is a one-pot stew that is originally from Guyana but has been adapted to the Caribbean islands.
Since this dish consists of two separate meals that are combined together, it can be traced back to the times of the slave population in the region, when the combination of cheap meat and carbohydrates provided a balanced and nutritious diet for a day of hard labour, with the added benefit of complex and rich flavours of the stew.
- 2 cups of cornmeal
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 6 okras (finely chopped)
- Butter or olive oil
- Add enough water to the dry cornmeal to ensure it becomes a wet paste.
- Ensure that there are no dry pockets remaining.
- Boil 4 cups of water in a large non-stick pot.
- Add the chopped okras and salt.
- Use a wooden spoon and stir in the wet cornmeal paste in the pot.
- Reduce the heat and allow to cook for about five minutes with the lid on the pot.
- Uncover and start stirring the cornmeal mixture continuously.
- Add water occasionally as the mixture thickens.
- After twenty to thirty minutes, the cornmeal should be thoroughly cooked.
- Continue to stir the mixture for about five more minutes.
- Press the spoon against the sides of the pot to crush any cornmeal lumps.
- Turn off the heat as the soft cornmeal starts to appear more solid at this point.
- Spoon a pat of butter or a teaspoon of olive oil into a small bowl.
- Take some of the cooked fungee and place it into the buttered bowl.
- Swirl the fungee in the bowl until it forms a little ball.
- Set the ball aside on a platter.
- Repeat with the balance of the cooked fungee.
- The balls can be plated and served with pepperpot, vegetables or salted codfish.
Note: While stirring, the mixture may become fairly difficult to stir because of its thick consistency but it is important to keep stirring as this will prevent the cornmeal from forming lumps.