Introduction. Nearly every Latin America and Caribbean country boasts of a delicious cornmeal drink, and the reason is because these drinks originated with the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In Haiti, ours is called Akasan, and it is a legacy from our Taino ancestors.
A big bowl of Akasan with fresh bread rolls make a perfect breakfast for a lazy Sunday morning. The recipe below comes to us from Marianne Cesar, who originates from Jeremie, a Haitian town nicknamed “the city of the poets.” Come to think of it, the Tainos were big on poetry too. After you drink Akasan, you’ll know why we wax poetic.
Dady Chery, Editor
2 cinnamon sticks
4 to 6 anise stars
1 cup of very fine corn flour*
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 (12-oz) cans of evaporated millk
Sugar, brown or white, to taste
1. Boil 4 cups of water with the cinnamon, salt, and anise stars.
2. Thoroughly mix the corn flour with 1 cup of cold water and a dash of salt.
3. Lower the fire under the boiling water. Slowly pour the corn-water mixture into the boiling water, stirring constantly, until the drink becomes thick and homogeneous. Allow no more than 5 minutes for this operation.
4. Add the vanilla extract and 1 can of evaporated milk. [I also add a bit of grated lime rind. DC] Allow the mixture to cool completely.
5. Refrigerate this concentrate if you like your Akasan cold and want to eat it the next day.
6a. For cold Akasan, serve the concentrate in step 5 with sugar and evaporated milk, which are added to taste, as for coffee.
6b. If you prefer your Akasan warm, serve the cool concentrate in step 4 with sugar and warm evaporated milk.
Always remove the anise and cinnamon before serving.
*Some people prefer the cornmeal slightly grainy. If you are one of them, in step 4, cook the mixture for about 2 more minutes before letting it cool.