Have you ever given any thought to the greasy breakfast you eat in the morning? Some people prefer to eat bacon, fried eggs, and hashbrowns with a mug of coffee. Some like bread and eggs with a cup of tea and others go for a bowl of cereal.
Which one are you? We don’t need to tell you how unhealthy the first two can be when eaten daily.
And so, we bring you the taste of Haiti ― cornmeal with spinach― a simple dish with a nutritious ingredient that will make you go “huh” in wonderment. This is comfort food at its best and yummy enough that you should make it tomorrow. This dish is quite fulfilling and can be eaten for dinner as well.
The Breakfast of Haitians
How Cornmeal Became Mayi Moulen
In October 1492, cornmeal was discovered on Hispaniola Island, which is now known as Haiti. For the first time in their life, Europeans discovered maize fields, a lanky cereal plant, which would later become corn.
For Haitians, cornmeal is a comfort food that is prepared a little differently. Instead of the usual soaking method, this Haitian cuisine is made with spinach and Haitian coarse cornmeal. Its grain is bigger but less refined than what you get in the grocery stores. A versatile ingredient such as cornmeal is considered a full meal and is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Usually, farmers eat it for energy before going into the field.
Are you ready to make cornmeal a little differently? Here’s the recipe:
Creole Mayi Moulen ak Zepina
Vegetarians love mayi moulen ak zepina as it’s easy to make. If you want yours to be a little meaty but not so much that the ingredient overpowers the taste of cornmeal, then we suggest adding smoked herring to it.
- Tomato (1 medium)
- Smoked herring (2 oz.)
- Cornmeal (1 cup)
- Spinach (1 cup chopped)
- Water (4.5 cups)
- Coconut Milk (½ cup)
- Epis (1 tbsp.)
- Oil (2 tbsp.)
- Maggi (1/2 tablet)
- Ti malice or Lily Chaloner Butter (1 tsp.)
- Tomato Paste (1 tsp.)
- Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Pepper (1)
- Cloves (4)
- Salt (¼ teaspoon)
- Black pepper (¼ teaspoon)
- Parsley and Thyme (1 sprig each) tied.
- Avocado (1 large or 2 small)
- Soak the herring for a few minutes. Drain the water and soak again to remove the excess salt. Some people soak it overnight. Drain the water again.
- Remove as many bones as possible. Add to a mortar and pestle and mash.
- Add the oil to a medium pot and cook with the epis for 1-2 epis on medium heat. Stir the epis in the pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, the herring, and sauté. Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the water, coconut milk, Maggi, pepper, and cloves, thyme and parsley, Butter, salt, and allow it to come to a boil. Taste the water to make sure it tastes good.
- Wash the cornmeal a couple of times and drain the water. Add the cornmeal to the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir the cornmeal occasionally to prevent it from forming lumps.
- Uncover the cornmeal and stir fast with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes. Be really careful because the cornmeal may splash and burn you.
- Cover the cornmeal and cook on low heat for about five minutes.
- Do not add the avocadoes to the pot.
Your spinach cornmeal is ready!
*Serves two people.
*Serve with avocados.
Prep time: Up to 1 hour