Caribbean Fungi & Pepper Shrimp Recipe

This crowd-pleasing dish is big on flavor and Caribbean vibes

Brooklyn-based chef Sonya Samuel is bringing Caribbean flavors to the Garment District this fall. As a finalist in the Citi Urbanspace Challenge, you can try her island-inspired dishes at the Bacchanal Sauce booth from September 17 to October 26, where the spicy eponymous sauce graces dishes like fried fish cakes and sweet tamales. Chances are you won't be able to get enough of the flavor party, so recreate the magic at home with her recipe for pepper shrimp and fungi, a Caribbean cornmeal dish (also known as cou cou) that's part of the national dish of Antigua.

Pro Tip: Use your Citi credit or debit card at the Bacchanal Sauce booth at Urbanspace Garment District (Broadway, from 40th to 41st Street) and get a free drink and hot sauce sample with any purchase.

Want to help discover the next vendor at Urbanspace? Cast your vote in the Citi Urbanspace Challenge, which will give one small business owner a three-month lease at Urbanspace at 570 Lex. Visit an Urbanspace pop-up between September 8 and November 2, and cast your vote for one of three finalists. For more details, visit

Recipe adapted from Sonya Samuel, Bacchanal Sauce, New York, NY

Fungi & Pepper Shrimp
5 from 36 ratings
Get the recipe for this pepper sauce shrimp with okra fungi, a Caribbean dish from a New York chef.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour
  • For the Shrimp
  • ¼ cup olive oil or canola oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Bacchanal Pepper Sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • For the Fungi
  • 1½ cups cornmeal
  • 3¾ cups water, divided
  • 1 cup okra, cut into ½-inch pieces, soaked in 2 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  1. Make the fungi: Combine the cornmeal with ¾ cups of water. Stir until saturated and set aside. In a large saucepan, add the remaining 3 cups of water, the okra, 1 tablespoon of butter and salt. Bring to a boil until the okra is cooked (about 5 minutes), then remove and reserve half of the liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add the wet cornmeal mixture into the pan in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly and adding back the okra water.
  2. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring continuously for about 15 minutes with a wooden spoon until the mixture stiffens. When the mixture breaks clean from the pan, the fungi is finished.
  3. Butter a bowl, turn the mixture into the bowl to shape it, then turn it out into a serving dish.
  4. Make the shrimp: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, paprika and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add the sugar and pepper sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the lime juice and coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with the fungi.
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