There’s more to polenta than polenta…

Sweetcorn fritters



1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 cups sweetcorn, drained
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
180 ml milk, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
optional – finely chopped scallions, parsley, chives, cilantro (coriander), chillies, red peppers (red capsicum), shredded cheese, herbs, spices…
oil for frying (e.g. canola, sunflower, olive)


Place everything in a bowl except the oil and mix together well. Add more milk if it seems too thick.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Working in batches, drop spoonful’s of the mixture into the pan. Fry the fritters for 2 or 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Add oil between batches as needed. Drain on paper towel and serve warm.

Cold Roasted Vegetable & Mozzarella Tart with a Cornmeal Base



1/2 cup medium-grind cornmeal
400 ml milk or water, or a combination of milk and water, or stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1 medium zucchini (courgette)
1 small eggplant (aubergine)
1 red- and 1 yellow pepper (capsicum)
250g mushrooms
250g small grape/cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
200g bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 220°C. Trim the zucchini, eggplant and peppers, halve or cut in thirds depending on size and cut into in wide strips, de-stem and thickly slice the mushrooms and halve the tomatoes. Pile them into a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss so everything is coated.

Roast in hot oven for 40 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the milk/water or stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. When it starts simmering, add the salt then slowly stir in the cornmeal. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.

When it’s smooth and creamy, stir in the butter/oil and the Parmesan, if using.

Use damp fingers or a non-stick spatula to press polenta/cornmeal into an oiled pie dish and set aside to cool and set, about half an hour. When ready, put under the broiler (oven grill) for 5 minutes to brown. Set aside to cool again.

Drain any liquid from the cooled vegetables (reserve it for another use). Toss the filling ingredients together then pile them into the “pastry”. Chill if desired, or serve at room temperature.

Nsima with Ndiwo


This is a Malwai dish, adapted from here.

The traditional way to eat nsima is to break pieces off the “patty”, roll it into a ball and form a depression with your thumb which you then use as a scoop to eat the accompanying stew.



1 cup (240 ml) (170 gm) (6 oz) cornmeal
2½ cups (600 ml) water


Put water in a medium saucepan and heat. Just before it comes to a boil, gradually stir in half the cornmeal until smooth. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low and gradually stir in the remaining cornmeal. Cover the pot and turn off heat. Leave to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, undisturbed.

When ready to serve, use a large spoon, wet it and scoop the nsima into burger-sized patties onto plates. Serve immediately.



3-4 cups (750 ml -1000 ml) chopped greens of your choice (we used cabbage and silverbeet)
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil (we used peanut)
2 tomatoes, chopped
240 ml water
salt to taste
pepper and salt for serving


Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion until translucent. Add all other ingredients, cover for a few minutes, until greens are tender and tomato has broken down a bit. Remove lid and simmer another 5 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated.

Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with a little more salt and some freshly ground black pepper and serve with nsima.

Poudine maïs


Poudine maïs is a traditional Mauritian dessert. Recipe adapted from here.


2 cups cornmeal
2 cups cold water
3 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar (or more to taste)
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sultanas
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons desiccated coconut + 1 tablespoon (5 gm) extra for sprinkling
extra butter for greasing


Put the cornmeal in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and cook over a medium heat until it starts to bubble.

Add remaining ingredients (except extra coconut and butter for greasing) and mix well.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring continuously, until the liquid has been absorbed into the cornmeal and it has the consistency of porridge (oatmeal), about 5 minutes.
Take off the heat.

Butter a shallow dish and pour the mixture into the dish. Sprinkle over the extra coconut and place the dish in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. Serve cold.


This entry was posted in burgers&patties, dessert, pastry, pudding, soup, tart&pie. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Cornmeal

  1. Claudz says:

    Thank you for hosting a lovely challenge! Your recipes look amazing and I will be trying them over the next few weeks

  2. esthercooks says:

    dear Rachel, thanks for hosting this challenge. It was fun to use a product I had never used before. And the result was delicious, I sure will use corn flour again, and definitely try other varieties of polenta, or use it in baking. Thanks again, well done!

  3. great post! glad you tried out the poudine mais!

  4. Monkeyshines says:

    thanks for being an excellent hostess! The cornmeal challenge was tons of fun!

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks so much for a wonderful challenge. I had so much fun with my first challenge, and moved away from the cornbread and hushpuppies that I so often think of when thinking about cornmeal. Additionally with this challenge I used Masa Harina which I had never used before, and had such a great time with it, there are corn tortillas and tamales in my future! Thanks so much!

  6. andy says:

    Thank you for hosting such a great challenge and introducing us to so many new uses for cornmeal!

  7. Claudia says:

    This will not be the end of it. I’m looking forward to trying more of the wonderful recipes you shared with us. Thanks

  8. mjskit says:

    WOW! ALL of these recipes look absolutely fabulous! The pudding intrigues me. I tried one but it didn’t quite work, so I’m going to try again and actually follow your recipe. I love the idea of a cornmeal pudding! Thanks for such a great challenge! I had fun!

    • pizzarossa says:

      Check out the link to Yummychooeats who commented above – it’s her recipe I used. 🙂 Really yummy and I am thinking of all sorts of things I could add to it 🙂

  9. daliacooks says:

    Dear Rachel, just to say thumbs up for this challenge. It was my first and I enjoyed it a lot. Your cornmeal based recipes look delicious and I will try to make them soon and I will let you know.

  10. Thank you very much for an amazing challenge Rachel
    It was really an eye opener, I learnt so many new ways to use cornmeal and I can’t wait to experiment some more

  11. makeycakey says:

    Mmmm – so much cornmeal deliciousness in your post – and so varied! Thanks for an awesome challenge and opening my eyes to what corneal can become!

  12. vanessalillian says:

    Thanks for the great challenge, and also for that cornmeal tart base recipe – my mum has become gluten intolerant and she has been missing her quiches!

  13. Thank you for hosting this great challenge! I loved all the different options we had to choose from when deciding what to make.

  14. Suz says:

    Thanks for being such a fantastic host this month, Rachael. I love the variety of recipes you found for us.The Nsima with Ndiwo looks absolutely delicious! A definite must-try. 🙂

  15. Peta says:

    Thanks for a great challenge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.