Cornmeal pap is a staple in many indigenous households. It has its roots in various parts of Africa and has traveled to one of the world's cultural cuisine melting pots, the Caribbean. Growing up in a West Indian household afforded me some great experiences one of which was learning how to cook for many without going broke in the process. I come from a very large family with a lot of culinary influences. I developed my skill and love for food at the hand of my Aunt Erm and my love and technique for hot cereal from my grandmother. Aunt Erm could cook anything and I would venture to say that this woman could make even worn shoe leather taste good.
I remember over the summer breaks when we would spend time with our grandparents, we would have hot cereal every morning. Oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat and my favorite, cornmeal pap. Cornmeal pap was by far my favorite and for many reasons still holds a permanent place in my heart for not only the flavor, but the fond memories it evokes.
I remember that I had the inside track coming up, because I would get up earlier than the rest of the grand kids and watch my grandma make the hot cornmeal pap cereal and dish it out. Ideally you wanted to get to it while it was still too hot to eat, because that would insure a huge scoop of ice cream smack dab in the middle to cool it all down, but cool enough not to transform your ice cream into soup. You see... you wanted to actually be able to move your cereal out of the way so you still had that ice cream scoop at the end to show for your efforts. I digress!
The method of cooking cornmeal pap is a slow process. You want to give the cornmeal all the time to ease its delicate flavors and nuances out into the pot of milk. I didn't know that until recently. Slow, low heat is all you'll need to change the way you experience your hot morning cereal. Although you may not have the memories I have of cornmeal pap and the other hot cereals grandma use to make us, you will leave with the recipe, that I've modified to fit within a healthier way, and still tasty, of making it.
Here's what you're going to need:
3 quart to 1 gallon stock pot
high powered blender [We use our VitaMix]
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp sea salt [or to taste]
48 oz Silk brand soy milk [Very Vanilla flavor tastes best] + 1 cup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw almonds or 1/2 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup of each
1 tbsp flax seeds [golden] or chia seeds
This is going to be so simple it's awesome!
Step 1. Put your cornmeal, salt, milk, vanilla extract in your pot and heat through on high whisking from the bottom, keeping it from sticking, until you see the condensation on the sides of the pot go away, then reduce the heat to a medium low.
Step 2. Continue to whisk and cook until it thickens and is smooth in flavor and texture. It should begins to bubble into the center. Reduce heat.
Step 3. Wash almonds/cashews and put in blender. Add flax seeds and the reserved 1 cup of milk and blend until smooth. Make sure you are keeping the cornmeal pap from sticking ion the bottom of your pot.
Step 4. Turn heat off under your cornmeal pap, whisk in your almond/cashew puree and pour into your bowl and serve.
You are ready to go!
This is not only nutritious and delicious, but it's a great way to start your mornings. You've got your proteins, carbohydrates, omega 3s and 6s, your fibre, your enzymes and, with the right consistency, your budding memories.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing this recipe with you. Until next time...