A staple ingredient in Haitian food. Mayi Moulin (Mais Moulin) is equivalent to grits or polenta and can be served in many different ways. Today, we are collaborating the cornmeal with spinach also called Mayi or mais moulin ak zepina.
We are going to cook a classic cornmeal and spinach dish that’s budget-friendly and so easy to make. This flavorsome Caribbean dish can be enjoyed as a main or a side and can easily be adapted to suit your tastes.
Cooked using just one pot, it also makes for easy clean up at the end of the night – what’s not to love!?
There are various different types of cornmeal, though at your local grocery store you are most likely to find steel-ground yellow cornmeal, or perhaps white cornmeal if you live in the South.
For this Mayi (mais) moulin with spinach, we used the coarse cornmeal also known in Haiti as mais grò grin. It is simply a bigger grain rather than the finer version that is also available at your grocery store.
Not only is cornmeal cheap to buy, it’s also an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.
Though you might know it as the main ingredient in cornbread, when cooked in bouillon it takes on a delicious creamy consistency, which is great at absorbing flavor.
The key to a good consistency is to add the cornmeal slowly and mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
Tastewise, cornmeal, or Mais (Mayi) moulin is pretty bland on its own, but the combination of herbs and spices in this Haitian dish will take it to a whole new level.
This leafy green vegetable brings a real health kick to any meal. Not only is a great source of protein and iron, but it’s full of vitamins and minerals that are great for skin, hair and bones.
The addition of spinach in this recipe makes it a particularly great meal for vegans and vegetarians.
They often need to make an extra effort to get all the iron they need (of course, if you are cooking for herbivores, make sure you use vegetable broth).
Spinach cooks down quite significantly, so don’t be alarmed if it seems like a lot – it will soon blend in with the cornmeal mixture, making it a great option for those who aren’t keen on their veggies. If you aren’t a spinach fan, feel free to use any other leafy vegetable in its place.
How to make Haitian Cornmeal: Herbs and Spices
The base flavor in this mais moulin ak zepina dish comes from the collaboration of the fresh spices in this recipe.
Cook the spinach, onions, and garlic in a heated hot pan.
The rest of the flavors are made up of a delicious blend of herbs and spices such as tomato paste, fresh thyme and parsley, that give it a little extra boost.
Then add the water, and bring to boil. Next add in the washed cornmeal. Cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, and serve warm.
The subtle taste of thyme and parsley helps give the cornmeal an earthy, comforting flavor that is offset perfectly by the garlic, onions, and peppers.
As mentioned, this is a highly adaptable dish, so feel free to experiment with your seasoning – if you’re cooking for grown ups, a chili added into the mix will add some delicious but subtle heat.
Other Haitian Recipes To Try
If you looking for quick and easy Haitian recipe ideas that are fairly easy to make, try this Haitian Taco, or this plantain porridge, and or these Haitian patties. They are extremely delicious and will satisfy everyone in the family, especially the kiddos.
Did you make this mais moulin ak zepina recipe? Tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can share your picture. We’d also appreciate it if you would give it a star rating below!
Haitian Cornmeal With Spinach
- 2 Cups Mais Moulin (Coarse Cornmeal) Washed
- 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- ½ Lb. Baby Spinach Chopped
- ⅓ Cup Onion Chopped
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Minced
- 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 6 Cups Water
- 2 Tsp. Kosher Salt Or To Taste
- 2 Tsp. Black Pepper Or To Taste
- 2 Tsp. Chopped Parsley
- Wash the cornmeal and set aside.
- In a medium pan, heat the oil. Then add the onions and cook until translucent on medium high heat. Next, add the garlic, stir, and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the chopped spinach. Stir constantly to avoid sticking. Once the spinach starts to wilt, add the tomato paste. Stir to coat evenly.
- Add the water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to boil. Uncovered.
- Add the Cornmeal. Stir. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 35 minutes, Stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
- The cornmeal is cooked once the water has evaporated. Test with a fork. It should be soft from first bite.
- Serve warm and enjoy
Loving that this is made in just one pot!
Thank you, Jess.
This corn meal dish is delicious and very easy to prepare. Love it.
This is a kicked up, flavorful version of grits! SO YUMMY and a great side for meats!
This was absolutely delicious! So flavorful. This was my first time cooking/eating coarse cornmeal. It’s so good! Can’t wait to try those Haitian tacos next 😉
Thank you, Dana
My kiddos and I made this together! We have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately and its so fun. They really enjoyed making this recipe but they enjoyed eating it even more! Thanks for this delish creation, we are adding it to our “make again” list!!
Your words made me happy, Cindy! Thank you, very much 🙂
I love learning about dishes from other cultures and this one is no exception! Thanks for sharing it.
I am so glad to hear that, Pam! Thanks for reading
Helen @ family-friends-food.com
I’m always looking for new ways to prepare cornmeal and this one looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Helen!