Polenta - Made from Maize Meal

Polenta is strictly an Italian name for a meal made from grounded corn or maize meal. It is not an African food per se, though it shares striking similarities with mealie meals eaten all over Africa either as quaka (maize meal and blended ripened plantain amongst the Urhobos and Itsekiris of Delta State Nigeria) nshima, ughali or sadza. We have included it because of this similarity and for our curious Italian friends and audience who may be interested in how to cook polenta or polenta recipe. So let’s go.

Polenta meal is made from maize meal or grounded corn on the cob as it is known in England. This corn or maize meal is often coarsely grounded, but can also be made from finely grounded corn flour. This grounded floury maize is boiled into a mush or potato marsh-like consistency and allowed to cool and harden up or set as the Italians would like to say. Butter and cheese is added while the maize meal is boiling. This improves the flour, as well as help in getting a hard homogeneous setting.

Once set, the mush can then be sliced up, fried in olive or vegetable oil, or grilled or baked until brown and crisp and eaten with any sauce of your choice or vegetables or meat or a combination of the above. You can also serve this meal with mushrooms. Can you smell that lovely aroma? Oh how delicious!

If you are aiming to cook soft polenta, then omit the butter and cheese during your cooking of the cornmeal.

You can spice up and bring even more taste to your polenta by boiling the corn meal in a meat broth or marinade sauce or add hot chillies and seasonings like maggi seasonings. Other flavourings you could use to spice up this meal include:

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Tapenade
  • Pesto sauce
  • Red pepper puree
  • Cooked ratatouille

Hurray! Your polenta is cooked. That is just a general overview of how to cook polenta or what some would call basic polenta recipe.

You can also use other grains to make polenta, including wheat, millet, barley and oats.

Like mealie meals in African dishes, this food item is rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

It is encouraged for use by diabetics because of its content of complex carbohydrates.

When prepared and eaten with vegetables and meat or fish, it constitutes a balance diet - a far cry from what is known in those who subsists only on maize meals.

We shall describe polenta recipes in some details on the recipes section . It you are looking to buy polenta preparing materials, know that you can get cornmeal for polenta here


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