The ‘international’ food aisles of large supermarkets, or small independent Indian or Asian grocers can be treasure troves of good value naturally gluten free ingredients. I have a tendency to get overexcited and buy things like Vietnamese rice wrappers in bulk, or, on this occasion, more cornmeal (polenta) than is sensible. Especially when the only thing I’ve ever done with polenta is make cake with it.
So I turned to the inspirational folks of twitter for some ideas for what to do with my bulk buy, and they came up with all sorts of wonderful ideas! Who knew polenta was such a versatile ingredient? Here are my favourites, curated for your pleasure. (I have also created a Pinterest board with these, and more.)
1. Polenta Cake
No polenta recipe collection would be complete without a delicious naturally gluten free cake recipe! We suggest this indulgent Nigella Lemon Polenta Cake, or if you prefer one without nuts, try this berry version from the talented Caleigh. Lemon is the classic flavour, but we have been known to substitute it for stem ginger, which makes a great alternative, especially when served warm with icecream for pudding.
2. American Corn Bread/Savoury Muffins (suggested by @Kembler)
GFreeB is a big fan of sweet cornbread, dunked into a bow of homemade slow-cooked chilli-con-carne, yum! Or just slavered with butter when it’s still warm. We found lots of savoury corn muffin recipes, however most are American (converting from cups is such a hassle!). Scroll down to find the one we adapted to make a nice alternative to sandwiches or salads in the work lunch box.
3. Sadza – a traditional dish from Zimbabwe (suggested by @rannyowl) recipe or Stywe Pap – a South African accompaniment for barbecued meats (suggested by @MalSannie) recipe. I reckon this would be a treat with pulled pork too.
4. Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
Don’t dig on oats? Try out cornmeal porridge sweetened with milk (or dairy-free milk if you don’t do moo), cinnamon, sugar and bananas. If you need added incentive to try, it’s apparently what Usain Bolt breakfasts on! If you don’t fancy making it from scratch we found this instant cornmeal porridge in our local Tesco (be careful as some of the flavours may contain gluten).
6. A crispy coating for fish, chicken, prawns or even roast potatoes (suggested by @hungryboyfriend)
This is a good call, in fact posh polenta-crumbed fish fingers featured on our wedding menu at The Modern Pantry! (For the kids, honest!). We made these salmon goujons by dipping salmon in gluten free flour, then egg, then seasoned cornmeal; before shallow frying and dipping in some gluten free barbecue sauce. Add some millet for extra crunch.
7. Makki Ki Roti – Indian cornmeal flatbreads
Home made flat breads are quick to make and great to keep in the freezer for dipping in hummus or mopping up curry. This Indian recipe uses corn meal and contains a top tip – buy a tortilla press! These fairly inexpensive bits of kit are incredibly useful for gluten free baking as they can be used in any place where rolling out crumbly dough is tricky – for example mini pizzas and pastry bases for tarts.
8. Polenta chips (suggested by @potentialpoet and @themakelounge)
Isn’t it just the worst thing when you see polenta chips on the menu at a restaurant only to find out they are not gluten free due to some unnecessary wheaty ingredient? (Take a bow, Nopi and Pizza Express!). We never deep fry anything at home, so we’re pleased to find this recipe from Red Online which can be either shallow fried or baked – yum!
For another ‘OMG what am I going to do with all of that..?’ post, check out my 8 things to do with a job lot of gluten free bread.
This versatile recipe will hold most kinds of vegetables or meat, so adapt the ingredients to suit your preference, or whatever you have leftover in the fridge! Perhaps spinach and feta? Or spicy sausage and red pepper? Just make sure the ingredients aren’t too wet before you mix them in.
- 75g gluten free self raising flour (or 70g plain flour plus 1tsp baking powder)
- 40g fine corn meal/polenta
- 40g grated cheddar cheese
- 70ml semi skimmed milk
- 1 large egg
- 30g butter, melted
- 1 red onion, finely sliced and sautéed until soft and melty
- 4 slices of proscuitto or ham
- 1-2 tbsp parmesan
- 4-6 cherry tomatoes, chopped into wedges
- Preheat the oven to 200°c. Prepare paper muffin cases in 6 holes of a muffin tin.
- Mix together the flour, polenta, cheddar cheese and season with black pepper or dried herbs
- Whisk together the milk, egg and melted butter, then add to the dry ingredients.
- Add in the onion and ham and stir well until you have an evenly combined batter.
- Divide the mix between the holes of the muffin tin. Top each with a few slices of cherry tomato, finally sprinkle with parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes. When done, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, before finishing cooling on the wire rack.