Duckanoo - A Jamaican Dessert

Duckanoo. With a name like that it could have been sugar-coated tripe and I still would have made it.
Fortunately, whilst it does have sugar in it, it is a happily tripe free dish, and a traditional Jamaican sweet.
What intruiged me about Duckanoo, other than the adorable name, is the fact that it is cooked much like Tamales, which is to say, wrapped in a husk or leaf and steamed (although the Duckanoo are actually boiled to retain moistness and I used tinfoil husks due to lack of banana leaves in my local supermarket – ever).
I recently discovered an company called Malik who sell West Indian food produce, at really reasonable prices, and with exceptionally fast delivery so I have been reading up about Jamaican and Barbadian delicacies, of which there are many. I purchased some Cassava Flour from them, along with some tinned Callalloo and Salt Cod. Suffice to say, I am hugely excited about cooking with these items, although I’m not sure where to start!
But back to the Duckanoo. Duckanoo is a cross between cake and pudding, made with cornmeal, coconut, butter, raisins and spices. This heady mixture is spooned into little foil parcels (or the aforementioned banana leaves, in which case the sweet is sometimes called Blue Drawers) which are snugly sealed and then simmered for 45 minutes. These little yellow morsels are served piping hot and drizzled with fresh cream.
The cornmeal gives the sweet a delicious, crumbly texture, the coconut gives it moistness and the raisins give it a wonderfully comforting taste.
Duckanoo, which originated in Africa, is simple to make, and perfect for short notice guests or as an easy dessert. It can be made advance and the little pouches placed in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.
A note about the ingredients: the recipe required fresh coconut but I used dessicated which has a propensity towards dryness. What this meant is that the mixture required more liquid. Fresh coconut releases far more liquid than dessicated so add several more tablespoons of the milk and perhaps a little more butter, or use less of the cornmeal. I also think that some grated lemon, orange or lime zest would add a nice zing to the otherwise sweet pudding, perhaps some almond extract for a different flavour and I have a feeling that chocolate chips would be pretty amazing too. And mashed banana or pineapple would further enhance the tropical taste of this unusual dessert.
Note: I halved the original recipe which served 6 and still managed to produce enough portions even more 6 big eaters.
DUCKANOO - Serves 6, at least
225g Fine Cornmeal
125g Fresh Coconut, chopped or dessicated Coconut
300ml Fresh Milk (more if using dessicated Coconut)
55g Raisins or Sultanas
30g Melted Butter
60g Demerara Sugar
4-5 Tablespoons Water
1/4 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
Place the cornmeal in a large bowl.
In a blender, process the coconut with the milk until smooth-ish and like a thick paste.
Add to the cornmeal and stir in the rest of the ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
Making 6 or so pouches with tinfoil, doubling the foil if it is thin (like all tinfoil over here!), making sure to seal 3 of the 4 sides thoroughly.
Spoon in 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the pouches and seal up the final edge tightly.
Place in the boiling water and simmer for about 45-60 minutes.
Remove carefully from the water when cooked, undress the Duckanoo of its Tinfoil clothing and serve, piping hot, with lightly whipped cream


Brilynn said...

I saw this over at Trini Gourmet and have been wanting to make it ever since, who could refuse such a fun name?

ros said...

I've not yet ventured into Caribbean cooking, which is silly as there seems to be a big Trinidadian community around Shepherd's bush so I can get the ingredients easily.

This looks yummy. Given the name, I wanted it to turn out duck shaped. How cool would that be?!

valentinA said...

Hi freya,
this is an interesting dish, never heard of duckanoo before!
It looks delish & I love steamed desserts:)

Kathryn said...

What a funny name!!! It looks good. You're so adventurous, Freya!

Kathryn x

sher said...

OK, there are so many things about this dish that I love. The name--so cool. Tripe free. And similar to tamales. That's it--I must make this. Absolutely yummy looking.

sher said...

OK, there are so many things about this dish that I love. The name--so cool. Tripe free. And similar to tamales. That's it--I must make this. Absolutely yummy looking.

Lydia said...

Does anyone know what the "oo" on the end of names in the Caribbean means? Junkanoo, callalloo, now duckanoo -- must have some meaning. I'd never heard of ths dessert before. Must try it!

Joyce said...

Oh, yummers! I love these Carribean concoctions with coconut.
This is especially tempting as it's another riff on cornbread!
And the name is a trip!

Kristen said...

Oh - what a fun name for a dessert! Looks good.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow, Freya, you are posh, my dear friend - a Jamaican dessert? Wow. ;)

Kelly-Jane said...

Love the name! It looks great too, you are really adventurous in the kitchen! - but this is a good thing ;)


Jasmine said...

This looks really lovely...something to try....


Morven said...

This looks like a delicious and fun dessert to make now that our weather cooling down.

wheresmymind said...

Looks great...but where is the duck? *quack*

Callipygia said...

Duckanoo should be served after turducken. I also have never heard of this it sounds good. A duckanoo in blue drawers indeed!

Lis said...

I've never heard of this either, but I'm glad you've enlightened me! It looks and sounds delish! And easy to make too... and I shall =)

Cate said...

Love recipes with fun names ... dunkanoo - cute!

The TriniGourmet said...

Thanks for the comment :) Well in Trinidad we call this dish Paime and you can see my version of it here :) Our version is firm and we eat it plain, no cream. But the cream sounds like a nice idea so I'll definitely be giving that a try the next time I make some :) Here in T'dad it's basically a Xmas time treat and not seen year round :) I've asked my Jamaican mother about the differences between paime and duckanoo but she didn't have it much before she left so she couldn't tell me :P

Glad you liked it :D

The TriniGourmet said...

lydia - the 'oo' is just a common phonetic of west african origin, no particular meaning... there is also coo-coo (a cornmeal version of polenta) that you can add to your list of 'oo' words :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, all. Interesting post and that's some good looking duckanoo. Just to throw my hat in, duckanoo can be found in different forms throughout the Caribbean and the word itself is lifted straight from the Fanti language of the (surprise) Fanti of SW Ghana. The dish is actually a legacy of the African heritage in the Caribbean in that it is a sweetened version of kenkey which is a savory, boiled cornmeal dumpling eaten with chili sauce. The word can also be found spelled dokono, so, maybe fun to say, but not a play on words and nothing to do with a duck. Duckanoo is just the creole version of the word. You can sometimes buy kenkey "mix" or pre made kenkey in African markets.