A staple on dinner tables in the Virgin Islands, this filling, earthy side dish goes well with fish or any stewed protein. In St. Thomas, you can find it accompanying tender stewed snapper or butter-braised conch, acting as a sponge for luscious sauces. Here, chef Julius Jackson, author of “My Modern Caribbean Kitchen” (Page Street Publishing, 2018) and native Virgin Islander, offers a simple, traditional version. This dish isn’t an exact science; some people like it so thick it stands up on its own, while others prefer it thinner, with runny lines of butter. Find which way works best for you by tasting and tweaking as needed. Chilled leftover fungi can be cut into squares and pan-fried in a bit of oil until golden, making a great base for scrambled or poached eggs with bacon on the side.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil over medium-high.
  2. Step 2

    When water reaches a rolling boil, add okra and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook over medium-high until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Slowly and carefully, pour half the cornmeal into the water while whisking to prevent lumps. It will get very thick very quickly.
  4. Step 4

    Once the mixture is smooth, add the remaining cornmeal and the butter, whisking vigorously to combine.
  5. Step 5

    When smooth, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If you’d like it a little thinner, whisk additional water into the mixture. Serve hot.