The first time I ever made Mais Moulin was in 2013. This was also the first time I’d made oxtails. I heard about Mais Moulin when I started dating my now husband. I absolutely love hot cereals like grits, oatmeal, or Cream of Wheat. Him? Not so much. He told me the only hot “cereal” he will eat is Mais Moulin. I must have looked at him like he had 13 heads! “What is a Mais Moulin?” (also spelled Mayi Moulen), I asked him.
My husband explained that Mais Moulin is a Haitian dish (he’s Haitian and Guyanese). Do you know what grits are? Okay, it’s kind of like that but made with cornmeal. I’m using it here as a side dish but really, Mais Moulin can be eaten as a main dish as well. It can be eaten at any time of day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Mais Moulin can be plain, can be dressed up with tomatoes, spinach or meat or fish or vegetables.
So, in true 4Wheel fashion, I decided I would make it. You know, give him a taste of home. He’d also mentioned that he only liked it from his grandmother, so I knew I had shoes to fill. I looked online for a simple recipe but one that kind of included the different ingredients he told me. Then, I make it my own.
For the purposes of my recipe, it will be kind of plain because I use it as a side dish to my oxtails. Also, the first time I made it I didn’t have a lot of extra ingredients. This is a very simple dish so, it’s what I like to call cooking disabledly-friendly.
You will need:
- 2 cups of cornmeal (fine is okay, but some prefer coarse)
- 5-6 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/2 diced onion (or dry onion flakes)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (or about 1 tablespoon garlic powder or jarred minced garlic)
- 1 chicken caldo (bouillon) cube (or about 1 tablespoon of the caldo powder)
- Goya Adobo (red cap)
- Salt (about a teaspoon but, it’s according to your taste.)
- 1-2 tablespoonse Olive oil (or other cooking oil, but not coconut oil). You want enough to coat the bottom of the pot.
- 2 Quart Sauce pan (enough for all that water)
Let’s get to cooking (disabledly)
- Heat up the oil in your sauce pan over medium heat.
- Saute the onions. When the onions are almost brown, add the garlic and the chicken caldo. Continue until the garlic is ALMOST brown.
- Stir in the water, the salt, and the butter. Turn the heat up. Bring it to a boil.
- Stir in the cornmeal. Don’t just pour it in though. You don’t want it to get too clumpy at once. Pay attention to the water levels. If the cornmeal is soaking up the liquid quickly, add some more water.
- Stir continuously for about 5 minutes. Make sure all the ingredients are nicely disbursed.
- Now you want to turn the heat down to medium and cover your sauce pan (or pot).
- Let the Mais Moulin cook for about 10-15 minutes OR until it reaches the desired texture. Stir it every so often so it doesn’t get clumpy and you end up with mouthfuls of grainy Mais Moulin. I like mine smooth but not too loose and not too thick. If you need to add more water, now is the time.
- Remove from heat and serve as soon as possible (or it will continue to thicken).
I serve mine with red wine braised oxtails and let me tell you! When the juices from the oxtail run into the Mais Moulin and gets soaked up, *kisses chef fingers*. This is another reason why I don’t put a lot of other things into this dish when I make it.
Anyway, my not-yet-husband/barely-boyfriend loved it. I’ll admit, it probably didn’t measure up to his grandma’s version but, I’ve accepted that and it’s okay!
Like always, if you try this recipe let me know how you liked it in the comments below! Bon appetit, or as they’d say in Haiti “bon apeti