Cornmeal

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"Indian meal" redirects here. For food of India, see Indian cuisine.
Cornmeal

Cornmeal is a meal (coarse flour) ground from dried maize (corn). It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, but not as fine as wheat flour.[1] In the United States, very finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as corn flour.[1] However, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch in the United Kingdom, where cornmeal is known as polenta and finely ground corn flour (for making bread or tortillas) is known as maize flour.[citation needed]

Types[edit]

There are different types of cornmeal.

Steel ground yellow cornmeal, which is common mostly in the United States, has the husk and germ of the maize kernel almost completely removed. It is conserved for about a year if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.[2]

Stone-ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ, lending a little more flavor and nutrition to recipes. It is more perishable, but will store longer if refrigerated. However, it too can have a shelf life of many months if kept in a reasonably cool place.

White cornmeal (mielie-meal), made from white corn, is more common in parts of Africa. It is also popular in the Southern United States for making cornbread.[3]

Blue cornmeal is light blue or violet in color. It is ground from whole blue corn and has a sweet flavor. The cornmeal consists of dried corn kernels that have been ground into a fine or medium texture.

Regional usages[edit]

Equatorial Africa[edit]

Southern Africa's Nshima cornmeal (top right corner), served with three relishes.

Indian Ocean[edit]

Horn of Africa[edit]

Bag of traditional Somali soor (cornmeal), a staple of Somali cuisine.

Europe[edit]

  • G'omi, tchvishtari, mchadi (Georgian: ღომი) - Georgia (g'omi is similar to polenta, tshvishtari - cheese cornbread, mtchadi - cornbread)
  • Kachamak (качамак) - Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia
  • Mălai - Romania (the cornmeal itself; prepared as mămăligă)
  • Farina di granturco - Italy (not the same as farina, which is made from wheat)
  • Polenta - southern Europe, especially Italy
  • Arapash or harapash - Albania (similar to the Romanian style but often combined with lamb organs, or/and feta cheese

South Asia[edit]

East Asia[edit]

  • Wo tou (窩頭 nest head) - Shaped like a hollow cone, this cornbread looks like a bird's nest, after which it is named. It is commonly eaten in northern China, and may contain dried jujubes and other flavoring agents.
  • Tie Bing (貼餅 sticking bread) - This product can either be fluffy like a mantou or more flatbread-like. It is traditionally stuck around the outer rim of a large wok while meat or fish is being cooked. Generally, an alkalizing agent such as baking soda is added to increase the nutrient value. It is also found in northern China.
  • Corn congee (棒子麵粥) - A porridge made from plain cornmeal. It is normally thinner than grits or polenta and is often eaten with Chinese pickles.

Mesoamerica and South America[edit]

Grindstones inside Mingus Mill, in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Corn is placed in a hopper (top right) which slowly feeds it into the grindstone (center). The grindstone grinds the corn into cornmeal, and empties it into a bucket (lower left). The grindstones are turned by the mill's water-powered turbine.

Caribbean[edit]

North America[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Herbst, Sharon, Food Lover's Companion, Third Edition, Pg. 165, Barrons Educational Series Inc, 2001
  2. ^ USAID Commodities Reference Guide. Section II: Food Commodity Fact Sheets
  3. ^ Kilbride, Philip; Goodale, Jane; Ameisen, Elizabeth, eds. (1990). Encounters With American Ethnic Cultures. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama. p. 82. ISBN 0-8173-0471-1. Retrieved July 24, 2010.