In a medium-sauce pan or pot add oil, onions, garlic, and thyme sauté, for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent any burns.
Throw in okra and red bell pepper; continue cooking for about 2 minutes, followed by about 2 cups warm water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil
At this point you may remove some or half of the vegetables and reserve, if you like your vegetables crunchy.
Gradually whisk in the cornmeal, until you have add the whole thing in the pot, a little bit at a time and keep stirring with a whisk to prevent any lumps. You may have to remove saucepan from heat while trying to get rid of lumps- to prevent burns.
Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens.
Then add the remaining boiled water, reduce heat, cover, and cook- for about 10 or more minutes. Return any vegetables reserved. Add butter, add more water if desired continue whisking to cornmeal consistency. I usually use about a total of 3 1/2 cups water because I like mine, really soft.
Turn off the heat. Scoop out and place into a wet bowl, to form a ball . Let it set for a few minutes then turn in upside down on to a plate. Serve warm.