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Fish and Fungi (foon-ji) is considered to be the unofficial dish of the US Virgin Islands. This recipe dates back to the days of slavery. Danish Law (owners of the Virgin Islands) allowed each slave six quarts of Indian meal (cornmeal) and six salt herring per week. Occasionally, there were other foods thrown into the ration, like yam and other vegetables, but the mainstay of cornmeal and fish led the African women to the creative result of fish and fungi. I had this wonderful dish while working at Caneel Bay Resort, St. John, USVI several winters ago.
Virgin Islands Style Fish
- 4 1⁄2 lbs fish, scaled and gutted
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice or 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen okra
- 2 1⁄2 cups boiling water
- 1 1⁄2 cups yellow cornmeal, ground fine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- pepper, to taste
- Place fish with all ingredients into a saucepan and cook gently until fish is cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Place frozen okra in boiling water. Cook until just barely tender.
- In a medium size saucepan, bring 2½ cups water to a boil.
- To make fungi that is free of lumps, mix about ¼ cup of the cornmeal with ¾ cup water in a separate small bowl. Then, add this mixture back into the larger pot of boiling water.
- Let cornmeal cook for about a minute, then add the rest of the cornmeal into the pan in a slow steady stream, while stirring constantly.
- Add hot cooked okra to cooked cornmeal. Stir well.
- Then, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes more.
this is easy i use tilapia fillets and it works fine for someone who doesent like fish with bones. I left out the vinegar and added one boullion block to the pot with the fish. And a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I live in the caribbean and this is authentic. My caribbean friend loves it and even asked how i learned to make it. The fungi is good with or without the okra too.
Really fast and easy to follow recipe. My fish and fungi dinner came out super delish! I did however, turned it up a notch with my homemade cilantro and spinach season