From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cornmeal is a meal (coarse flour) ground from dried corn (maize). It is a common staple food and is ground to coarse, medium, and fine consistencies, but it is not as fine as wheat flour can be.[1][2][3] In Mexico, very finely ground cornmeal is referred to as corn flour.[1][4] When fine cornmeal is made from maize that has been soaked in an alkaline solution, e.g., limewater (a process known as nixtamalization), it is called masa harina (or masa flour), which is used for making arepas, tamales, and tortillas.[5][6] Boiled cornmeal is called polenta in Italy and is also a traditional dish and bread substitute in Romania.[7]


There are various types of cornmeal:

  • 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.[8][9]
  • 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 will remain fresh for about a year if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.[10][11]
  • 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.[8][12]
  • 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.[8][13]

Regional usage[edit]


  • Cornmeal porridge - a popular meal served for breakfast in Jamaica and Southern Africa.[14]
  • Cou-cou - part of the national dish of Barbados, "cou-cou and flying fish".[15]
  • Funche - a typical breakfast in Puerto Rico cornmeal cooked with coconut milk, milk, raisins, butter, cloves, vanilla, ginger, sugar or honey and topped with fruit and cinnamon. There is also a savory funche made with cornmeal, coconut milk, chicken stock, sofrito and other ingredients. These are usually served with fish.[16][17]
  • Funchi also known as fungi/fungee - a cornmeal mush cooked and cooled into a stiff pudding, sometimes eaten with saltfish or pepperpot. It is consumed on the islands of Curaçao, Saint Martin and is part of the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda.[18][19]
  • Mayi moulen - a cornmeal dish in Haiti often cooked with fish or spinach. Can be eaten with avocado.[20]

East Asia[edit]

  • Rolled corn porridge known as 糝糝飯 (Jin Chinese: [ʂaʔ ʂaʔ fã] or [səŋ səŋ fã]) is far more common than millet porridge in Shanxi and Shaanxi due to their disparity of local production.[21][22][23] Even if foxtail millet porridge is made, it is usually topped with rolled corn.[21] In Ji-lu Mandarin, rolled corn porridge is known as 棒子面粥 bangzimianzhou.[24]
  • Wo tou (窩頭) - 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.[25][26][27]


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


  • Arapash or harapash - Albania (similar to the Romanian style but often combined with lamb organs, or/and goat cheese)[49]
  • Farina di granturco - Italy (not the same as farina, which is made from wheat)[50]
  • G'omi (Georgian: ღომი, romanized: ghomi), mchadi (Georgian: მჭადი), tchvishtari - Georgia (g'omi is similar to polenta, mchadi - cornbread, tshvishtari - cheese cornbread). Known by different names in local languages (Abkhaz: абысҭа abysta, Adyghe: мамрыс mamrys, Ingush: журан-худар juran-hudar, Nogai: мамырза mamyrza, Ossetian: дзыкка dzykka or сера sera), it is also widespread in other Caucasian cuisines.[51][52]
  • Kachamak (качамак) - Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Serbia[53][54]
  • Mălai - Romania (the cornmeal itself; prepared as mămăligă)[55][56]
  • Polenta - southern Europe, especially North Italy[57][58][59]
  • Banush - Ukraine (the dish prepared from cornmeal with added śmietana, topped with pork rind or mushrooms and bryndza etc. The dish is popular in the Carpathian region of western Ukraine)[60][61][62]
  • Kuymak - Turkey, expecially north of country, around black see.

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.

North America[edit]

A corn muffin

South Asia[edit]

In parts of northern India and Pakistan ground corn flour is used to make thick slabs of bread which can be eaten with a wide variety of curry dishes or it can be coated in clarified butter or ghee and eaten with yogurt or lassi, a yogurt-based drink.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]