Nourish - Polenta Chips with Dipping Sauces (Gluten Free)
Maize or corn meal is flour made from ground corn and comes in grades from fine, through medium to course.
Popular in Mexico, Italy and parts of Africa, this flour is used in many different ways but generally, it is cooked in water to form a thick porridge consistency, known as polenta, which is then served hot or allowed to cool.
The cooled polenta is then sliced and grilled or pan-fried, making it the perfect opportunity to create some delectable crispy on the outside, yet soft on the inside chips!
Polenta chips are light and golden; served with dipping sauces they make a great healthy snack food or side dish.
This recipe will guide you through how to make these chips, plus some delicious dips to accompany them with.
Sweet Tomato and Chili Dip
- 1 small onion, very finely chopped
- ½ tsp. dried chilli flakes
- 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. organic tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Blue Cheese Dip
- Blue cheese
- Natural Yoghurt
Method for Cooking Polenta
- Using four times the volume of water to maize meal, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
- Pour the meal in a steady stream into the water as you whisk vigorously with a metal whisk. The aim is to avoid lumps forming.
- Once all the meal has been absorbed, use a long-handled wooden spoon to stir continuously over a medium heat.
The consistency will become quite thick and needs constant stirring to prevent it from catching on the base of the pan.
- When the mixture has been cooked through (it shouldn’t feel grainy) it will have a smooth creamy texture.
- A generous knob of butter or some grated parmesan cheese can be added just before serving.
- If the polenta is to be cooled and sliced it should be spread on a shallow tray or dish which has been lined with non-stick baking paper.
- Leave the polenta to set and cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
Note: There are different opinions on the subject of cooking polenta and there are different grades of the maize meal which may complicate things.
I have found the medium grade to be most suitable and if the correct ratio of water to meal is used it isn’t a difficult process.
Many packets suggest a water ratio of 3:1 but it generally needs 4:1.
The meal has to cook thoroughly over a medium heat for at least 20 minutes.
To make the Polenta Chips
These chips are simply cut from a sheet of cooked polenta which has been left to cool and set in the fridge.
Deep fry the chips in hot oil, in small batches, until crisp and golden.
Drain on kitchen paper before serving with dips.
To make Sweet Tomato Chilli Dip
- Fry the onions in the oil on a moderate heat until they begin to soften and become translucent.
- Add the chilli flakes and chopped tomatoes and continue to cook until some of the liquid has evaporated.
- Allow to cool and stir in the tomato sauce which will sweeten it.
- Serve in a small dipping bowl.
Blue Cheese Dip
- Mix equal quantities of crumbled blue cheese (of your choice) and natural yoghurt.
Toast sesame seeds and add equal parts sea salt.
The proportions can vary to taste but usually, 50/50 is good.
Polenta is naturally gluten-free, great source of carbohydrates and makes a wonderful blank yellow canvas for a multitude of recipes. Small bite size grilled polenta are a perfect base for an array of tasty appetizers.
Polenta is a useful alternative to potatoes or pasta, and there are options to use it as a pizza base or cut into squares or rectangles to fry or grill.