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Jamaican Turn Cornmeal

Jamaican Turn Cornmeal





What is Jamaican Turn Cornmeal?


Jamaican turned cornmeal is a classic dish which is made traditionally in our country using cornmeal, coconut milk, different herbs & spices, sometimes vegetables, saltfish or bacon. However, this is just a similar dish made in other Caribbean countries, Italy, and Africa where it is called by different names. Most might be familiar with the Italian version called Polenta.






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 To be quite honest the first time I was privileged to taste this amazing dish was when I was in my late 20’s at my mother-in-law’s house. I loved it at first bite and thought it was so satisfying, fulfilling and just something to eat when you feel for something different and out of the ordinary.


Then I learned that this wasn’t a dish that was popularly made in all Jamaican households as it was sometimes viewed as a food eaten by the less fortunate. This was to my surprise because this ranked high to me as a lot of the other comfort foods we grew up on as kids and loved.


So, of course I set out to create my own version and after trying a few failed attempts of the taste I knew I wanted, finally SUCCESS!! So, many people may make different versions of this using different ingredients according to their preferences. It can be made with very basic ingredients as a side dish to something like fish or as a one pot meal, which is the way I prefer it.


Ingredients for Jamaican Turn Cornmeal





  • Corn meal
  • Coconut Milk
  • Saltfish
  • Bacon
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Scallion
  • Thyme
  • Bell Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Scotch Bonnett Pepper
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Butter
  • Water
  • Coconut Oil


Preparation Steps





  • Prepare your coconut milk mixture and cornmeal mixture and set aside.
  • Cut up your bacon in small pieces and fry a little to desired consistency.
  • I basically boil off the excess salt of some Sailfish in a medium pot before  picking it into small pieces.
  • Mince up your onions, garlic, bell pepper, scotch bonnet, tomatoes and scallion. Add your thyme, seasoned salt and black pepper to it.
  • In a non-stick skillet,  add the oil, butter, saltfish, and vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Next the coconut milk is added and brought to a low boil.
  • Add the cornmeal mixture, stir for about 2 minutes, turn to low heat and cover. Check and stir every 5 minutes for 30 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed and you’re able to fluff with a fork.
  • It should not be too wet or dry.
  • Season to taste.








Jamaican Turned Cornmeal or "Tun Cornmeal"

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author Dianne


  • 1/2 cup Saltfish picked
  • 2 strips Bacon
  • 1 cup Cornmeal refined
  • 1 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 + 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Onion diced or minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Bell Pepper diced or minced
  • 1/2 cup Plummy Tomatoes diced
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1/4 piece Scotch Bonnet Pepper or more if desired
  • 1/4 tsp. Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 stalk Scallion


  1. Wash off excess salt off of the saltfish. In a medium sized pot with enough water to cover the fish, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, change water and boil again for another 10 minutes.

  2. Run saltfish under cold water. Remove skin and bones and pick into small pieces and set aside.

  3. Cut 2 strips of bacon in small pieces and set aside.

  4. Dice or mince the onion, green pepper, tomatoes, garlic and scotch bonnet and set aside.

  5. If using coconut milk powder, dilute in about 3/4 cups water to equal 1 cup or you can use can milk.

  6. Dilute cornmeal in 1/2 cup water.

  7. Fry out bacon lightly until slightly brown in a non-stick skillet.

  8. Add oil, butter, all vegetables except scallion and saltfish. Sautee about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.

  9. Add coconut milk and bring to a slow boil.

  10. Add cornmeal mixure, salt and black pepper, stir for about 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and cover. Check and stir every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes.

  11. It should be ready at this time when mostly thickened and in between mushy or not too wet and dry.

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