Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Diary of an Inconsistent Cook #66: Cape Verdean Gufong (Cornmeal Fungine/Fritter/Doughnut/Hushpuppy) (#homecooking)

From time to time, I would get to eat someone else’s gufong or from a restaurant.  They were very different and now I understand why!   Cornmeal.  My grandmother’s recipe does not use it.

My husband doesn’t like banana bread and essentially my grandmother’s recipe is fried banana bread.  I didn’t know this and we’ve been married ten years.  Don’t worry, he’s still alive.  Happy Anniversary, honey!

Anyway, I decided to make this style which is akin to a sweet hushpuppy and I thought it would appeal to his sensitive palate. He declared, “Oh! Good.”  He looked surprised that they were good.  I let that slide, too, because last night I had a wicked calf cramp and he massaged my leg for an hour while I wailed in pain. Good karma truly does come back around.


Cape Verdean Gufong (Cornmeal and Flour version)

2 cups water
1/2 – 1 cup sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
1 cup cornmeal (fine ground)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Boil water, salt, and sugar in a sauce pan.  Turn heat to low and whisk in cornmeal until well blended smooth and cooked into a porridge/mush.   Allow to cool enough to handle and add flour and baking powder and mix well (add banana now if you are using) to form a workable dough.  It will be a bit sticky, flour your surface and hands.  Form dough into sausage shapes and fry at a medium heat until deep, rich golden brown.   Dough can be shaped and frozen for later frying.

Optional:  add 2 ripe mashed/pureed ripe banana
Optional:  add 1/4 cup butter to batter


Tips:   Don’t make them too fat because they will puff up from the baking powder and you will have a hard time cooking them through before burning.  Fry a test first to get a feel for it and how much they puff.  Pan frying in a cast iron skillet works very well, but deep fry if you prefer.   If your oil is hot enough, these should absorb negligible amounts of oil.

These are at their best served fresh and warm. However, if you get a good golden coating on them and cook them all the way through, they will keep fine cold and taste just as good (but chewier).

Other related dishes that feature cornmeal (with or without flour or leavenings) are:  johnny cakes, hoe cakes,  corn pone, hot water cornbread, Jamaican festivals, Puerto Rican sorullitos de maiz, New England corn fritters, hushpuppies, Portuguese pao de milho, and spoon bread.


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