Barbados Cou Cou Recipe

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I love Cou Cou and fish, doesn’t matter what kind of fish, I can fix up any recipe to taste.  

Cou Cou is a traditional dish in Barbados passed down through many generations, it’s part of our culture. Cou-Cou is made with corn meal and okra, on the side is Flying Fish, Red Herring or Saltfish.

Cou-Cou is honoured as the national dish of Barbados and it’s served in many restaurants in Barbados

I use fresh Bajan chopped seasoning to bring my fish to a tasty treat – a wet, spicy seasoning flavoured with fiery peppers or scotch bonnet chilli for a true taste of the Caribbean and Bajan culture cuisine.


8oz corn meal
3oz okras
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 tbsp butter
4 cups water


1lb boneless salted cod
2oz/ 60g butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 sweet pepper thinly sliced
2 cups 16oz/500ml tinned tomatoes or 2lbs/1kg peeled fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh marjoram
2 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon pepper sauce


1/2 pound red herring
1/2 onion
1/4 tomato
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup (optional)
Salt to taste or two Maggi cubes


In a bowl, combine the cornmeal with sufficient water to cover the meal. Set aside.

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.

Strain the okras into a bowl, setting aside the liquid.

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 we use a flat wooden spoon known as a ‘cou cou stick’. Stir constantly to avoid lumping. If you happen to get lumps add a bit of butter and stir on low heat

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.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.


Boil salt fish in plenty of water for 20 minutes. If still too salty, repeat. Drain salt fish, break into wedges, check for bones and set aside.Heat butter and sauté the onion. When beginning to brown, add garlic, salt fish and sweet pepper and sauté for a further 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, curry powder, herbs, water, pepper sauce and black pepper and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes to or until tender.

Salt to taste.


Soak or boil red herring to remove most of the salt, drain.
Cut up the onions, tomato and scotch bonnet and saute in a small bit of oil in a saucepan.
Remove and place in a dish.

“Pick up” (break in to small portions and remove any bones) saltfish and fry in the same saucepan with light oil.
Add seasonings (onions, tomato, scotch bonnet pepper, ketchup) and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Serve with your cou cou

Recipe Submitted by Good Old Bajan Cooking Group.

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