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Antiguan Fungi


Fungi (pronounced FOON-ji) is a cooked cornmeal paste, similar to Italian polenta. Before serving, the paste is formed into little balls (about 2 inches in diameter).

Fungi is eaten in many parts of Antigua. It is usually accompanied by a dish of mashed vegetables and a sauce of salted cod-fish, tomatoes, garlic and onions.

Fungi requires very simple ingredients. Nevertheless, making it can prove to be a challenge for even the most experienced cooks.

There are several variations of fungi. Sugar or vegetables can be added to the mixture to change the taste and texture of the final product. In addition, fungi balls can be sliced and fried for a delicious breakfast!

How to Make Fungi:

Ingredients:
1 Cup of Cornmeal
5 Cups of water for cooking
Butter or Olive oil

Before beginning to cook, the chef must fashion or buy a
"fungi-stick."  This is an implement that looks like a small 
cricket bat.  See the image below.

Fungi
Two Cricket Bats
1. Moisten the cornmeal completely with as much water as necessary. There should be no pockets of dry cornmeal, but the mixture should not be extremely wet. 2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. When my mother makes this, she uses an iron pot. Nevertheless, I highly recommend using non-stick cookware. 3. Pour the cornmeal paste into the pot. 4. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the paste and let it cook for about 5 minutes. 5. Now uncover the pot and stir the paste until it becomes very thick. Warning! stirring will become increasingly difficult and dangerous as the cornmeal thickens. 6. Add enough water so that the mixture in the pot becomes liquid. Repeat steps 4-6 five times. after about 30 minutes, the cornmeal will be cooked. 7. Do not add any more water. Continue stirring the mixture, making sure to smoosh the paste against the sides of the pot. Your arm will be in lots of pain at this point from the splashes of hot cornmeal and the exertion, but do not stop. If you do not stir well, you will have lumpy fungi. 8. Once the fungi is more solid than pastey, but still soft, you can turn off the fire. 9. Put a pat of butter or a teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl. 10. Remove some fungi and drop it into the bowl. Swirl the fungi around in the bowl until it forms a ball. Repeat with the rest of the fungi. At this point, if you are like me, you will be fed up with making any traditional Antiguan food, and you will just open a can of chile and eat that with the fungi.
Thanks to my mom, Dorothea for the recipe. I hope I got it right!