Cornmeal Recipes - Quick Guide to Ground Corn
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New to cornmeal? Start here:
What is cornmeal?
Cornmeal is the finely-ground dry, peeled corn kennel. It is a type of corn flour, similar to polenta, grits, and chenchén corn.
The cornmeal that we use in the DR is grittier than wheat flour but finer than polenta.
Picture of cornmeal and ground corn
Cornmeal in Spanish
There's more than one thing that could be classified as "cornmeal" but that has a different name in Spanish. Depending on how fine it is ground it will be used for different dishes. For example, what we call "harina de maíz" is corn flour that is slightly finer than polenta, which is, in turn, finer than grits. A grit-like texture is used to make chenchén, and cracked corn (maíz caquiao), is used to make a chacá, a corn-based dessert.
A much finer corn flour is used in South America to make their own version of arepas (which are not in any way similar to ours, except that both are corn-based).
Nutrition in cornmeal
Per 1 cup [168 grams] of cornmeal:
Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 116g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 0g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 5mg | Vitamin A, C: 0IU
What to make with cornmeal
Cornmeal is one of the staples of our cuisine, and we use cornmeal to make some of our favorite recipes: from popular desserts to dumplings, to sweet and savory cornbread recipes, side dishes, and casseroles.
Substitutes for cornmeal (harina de maíz)
If you cannot find proper "harina de maíz" where you live, polenta makes an adequate substitute, but be mindful that it will not result in the exact consistency that we're used to as polenta is thicker in texture, and contains less cornstarch than harina de maíz. Their flavor is also similar.
Some experimentation on your part may be needed to adapt these recipes to using polenta and finding just the right taste and texture.