Couche Couche aka Cush Cush
Couche Couche pronounced “coosh-coosh.” is a very old Cajun cornmeal-based recipe that was most often used as a hot cereal. Also spelled Cush Cush, Coosh Coosh, and Kusk Kusk among others, though Couche Couche is the most accepted. This simple dish of sautéed cornmeal for generations was once the everyday supper – la souper – and was also breakfast – déjeuner for many Cajuns.
This dish is almost synonymous with cast iron black pots as these type pots offered even heat distribution to cook the cornmeal light and fluffy. The smell of cooking the cornmeal mixture evokes warmth and comfort – many have said it smells like popcorn. Not a wonder as both are corn products. And WOW if you were lucky enough to get the Couche Couche crust – la croute – the crunchy hard part at the bottom of the pot you were in for a treat.
Rev. Jules O. Daigle (Author) of A Dictionary of the Cajun Language best described this dish as a steamed, moist cornmeal eaten as a cereal but is not mush.
Cajuns each have their own favorite way of eating Couche Couche, Maw-Maw’s favorite is eating it with lots of sugar, fig preserves and coffee added to the milk!! Couche Couche and Coffee Milk – da best.
Many won’t agree as there are so many options but one thing we can all agree on is to not overcook the cornmeal dish. If you have ever “choked” on a swallowing a bite you know what I mean. Makes you stay away from eating Couche Couche for a while.
Not just with sugar and coffee milk, Couche Couche may be served several ways. Served with milk, fruit preserves (fig preserves were the most common), Louisiana cane syrup, bacon and (one of my favorites) chopped pork cracklings, it is satisfying and filling. I had a friend who actually ate it with peanut butter. And then, there are those that love lumps in their Couche Couche. Do you like the soft balls in your Couche Couche? Yes?
This dish is thought to be a French interpretation of a Native American dish. Many Cajuns refer to corn as macque choux (mock shoo) and it is said that originally this was an Indian word meaning corn. From the book, Stir the Pot The History of Cajun Cuisine, “traditionally Cajun cooks living west of the Atchafalaya made cornbread while Cajuns to the east of the water shed, who had easier access to flour exported from New Orleans, prepared wheat bread”
In looking at some of my old New Orleans Creole books, I find it interesting that I did not find recipes for this Couche Couche dish’ but I think the aforementioned explains it..
Couche Couche Stove-top Method
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups water
1 tsp baking powder
5 – 6 tbsp oil (canola oil preferred)
Mix together all the dry ingredients – the cornmeal, salt, baking powder. Stir the water in gradually into the cornmeal and mix well. It will look like very wet cornmeal and the cornmeal will stick together, reducing to half its size and will look like very damp sand.
Heat five of the six tablespoons of cooking oil into a heavy iron skillet on high heat.
Pour the whole mixture into the hot cooking oil, stirring almost immediately after pouring. Allow a crust to form on the bottom, add the last tablespoon of oil, stir quickly while breaking up the wet cornmeal. Lower flame to medium and let cook. Stir every three to five minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot each time. Make sure to crush any lumps that may form. Cook approximately 20 to 25 minutes until the mixture is dry, light and fluffy.
Many cooks lower the heat and cover the pot tightly while it’s cooking. The stirring however still has to be done. It is a matter of preference as to which way you want to cook this dish – we do find covering the dish lends itself to a moister and not to dry couche couche. My Mom cooking couche couche for a family of eleven, made the best without covering the pot – probably because the pot did not have a cover but the dish was perfect. But I think her trick was to constantly stir.
Many Cajun cooks use milk or buttermilk as the liquid to wet the cornmeal and some will add two tablespoons sugar along with the salt and baking powder.
And you don’t like all that stirring? Would you like to make Couche Couche only stirring twice? Microwave is the answer! Couche Couche was mainly served as a supper meal due to time of preparation. With today’s technology the microwave is a convenient way to prepare the dish as it does not require constant stirring and YES taste just like Momma’s. This dish has been tested with several types of cornmeal.
A Cajun Tradition Made Easy In The Microwave
3 cups cornmeal yellow-white or stone-ground
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
Milk for serving
Couche Couche can be made with different types of cornmeal and cornmeal products. The picture reflects the different products that have been tested. If using self-rising cornmeal, cornbread and muffin products, omit the salt and baking powder.
Maw-Maw’s favorite was the coarse ground
Mix cornmeal, salt, baking powder (omit if cornmeal product has baking powder, baking soda and salt).
Add the cornmeal mixture to water and oil mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture is a 2-quart microwavable bowl and cover
Cover, microwave on HIGH for five minutes
Remove from microwave – Caution HOT - Stir well, then microwave covered on high for six minutes
Remove from microwave – Make Final Stir – Dish it Up and Enjoy
RealCajunRecipes.com had several submissions for this Couche Couche dish. Follow this link http://bit.ly/2FoXErC for all of the recipes and Enjoy~
Repriser cela est bon! – Darn that is good!
E N J O Y~
Darn this Dish is Good – Enjoy~