Mayi moulen ak Epina e Zaboka (Cornmeal with Spinach and Avocado)
I often get reproached for always wearing dark and somber colors like black, grey and blue. I love those colors because they make me feel more mature and they slim me down around the waist a little. Also, I’m not the kind of person who loves attention.
What people don’t know is that even though I love somber colors, my food has to have COLOR in it. Give me vegetables, fruits etc.
To prove my point, I decided to have “CORNMEAL” with avocado on the side on the menu this week. And as you already know, I love cooking haitian meals MY WAY! Beware of the colors! lol
Maybe it rubbed on me a little . Lately, I’ve been trying to add more colors to my wardrobe. Maybe I’m a little bit influenced by a friend of mine:color-wise. Check out her blog, you’ll probably understand what I mean. Click here
So, back to food!
People have come up with many stories about cornmeal such as…
Mayi moulen” was :
- A meal that used to be fed to animals in Haiti during the times of slavery. It was one of the only meals that the slaves were allowed to eat because it would put them at the same level as animals and the “masters” would not spend as much on feeding them.
- Served while still hot directly into the slaves’ hands. They would throw it to the walls so it would cool off.
I have no idea if these statements are true or if they’re just some old folks tales but I chose to put them there because everyone’s opinion matters. There might be some part of truth in there. Who knows! Maybe I do believe the animal part however, because my father would make us regularly prepare cornmeal (only the coarse one) for our dog Blacky (which is a name for most Haitan dogs btw) when my sister and I used to live in Haiti.
Even if at first I used to see the above statements as negativity, I just can’t stop laughing every time I hear them because nowadays, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, everyone in Haiti eats cornmeal.
And unlike some beliefs, cornmeal is not exclusively of Haitian culture. It is part of our culture. We did not invent it guys. It’s part of our legacy!
Here are a few fun facts about ” mayi moulen” (Which is definitely not a dish that I love) that I would love for you to remember:
- Mayi moulen, cooked with kidney beans, coconut, peppers, and pikliz (spicy pickled carrots and cabbage) can be filling, and its ingredients are usually affordable.
- The word “corn” has many different meanings depending on what country you are in. Corn in the United States is also called maize or Indian corn. In some countries, corn means the leading crop grown in a certain district. Corn in England means wheat; in Scotland and Ireland, it refers to oats. Corn mentioned in the Bible probably refers to wheat or barley.
- Most historians believe corn was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. The original wild form has long been extinct.
- The Arawak originally cultivated the grain to actually make cornmeal out of it.
- It has several names such as Polenta, Cornmeal, Maize etc.
I altered the ingredients a little to add more savor, color and fun. Instead of the coarse grains, I chose to use the finely chopped corn meal. I like the nice and soft feel to it.
- 1/2 cup of fine corn meal
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tbs. oil
- garlic, salt, black pepper, and hot pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 of red bell pepper
- 1 carrot
- chopped tomato (to taste)
- 1 slice of avocado 🙂
- hot pepper (to taste)
- Fry your onion, tomato, red bell pepper, carrot and add your spices and hot pepper to it.
- Add your cornmeal, Stir.
- Quickly add your 2 cups of water.
- This step is important. As soon as you pour your water in there, BEAT the mixture continuously at all time until cooked (usually takes about 15 to 20 mns). Do not stop until you judge it’s cooked otherwise, parts of your mixture will stick together and form little clots of corn.
- Add your spinach and keep beating
- Taste your mixture and add extra flavoring if necessary. In my case, I was missing salt.
Mayi Moulen is usually served in the morning as breakfast and is always accompanied by avocado!
The meal must have a porridge consistency and it must be served warm or else it will harden. Still edible but it will be more like a cake!
Well at least that’s how my grandfather would call it ” Tu veux une tranche de gateau de Mais Natou?”
Oh and speaking of which, he would insist on the french pronunciation of the word corn which is ” mais” :
Correct pronunciation (Ma-eez)
Wrong pronunciation (Ma-yee)