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Fish and Fungi Virgin Islands Style

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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.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place fish with all ingredients into a saucepan and cook gently until fish is cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Place frozen okra in boiling water. Cook until just barely tender.
  3. In a medium size saucepan, bring 2½ cups water to a boil.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add hot cooked okra to cooked cornmeal. Stir well.
  7. Then, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Simmer for about 5 minutes more.

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