Cornmeal is an excellent kitchen ingredient. Although it is not a versatile food item, the role of cornmeal in the kitchen is still vital. It will not only elevate the quality of your cooking, but also provide the proper texture and taste for many recipes, such as corn cakes and grapefruit cake.
Unfortunately, there are some occasions when we can't use cornmeal because it is not available or it’s not at our disposal or we are cooking for someone who is allergic to corn.
However, this is not a problem as looking for a suitable replacement is easy. As long as you know the basics and purposes of cornmeal, you can find a myriad of substitutes for it that have a similar texture and flavor. I used the same premise as this while finding alternatives to curry powder and tarragon.
But if you are still oblivious about the possible substitutes for cornmeal, then check out the following recommendations that I have listed below!
This one is an obvious choice because corn grit and cornmeal are both very similar. In fact, their composition is almost identical. Even their flavors and textures are alike.
However, the main difference between these two ingredients is that cornmeal is finer than corn grit. And that's it! Therefore, when you use corn grit in any dish or recipe, you will find that the texture it generates will be slightly coarser than cornmeal. This particular nuance is clearly seen when you include water in the equation.
However, if you are planning to use corn grit as a subsitute, make sure that you use it moderately. The less corn grit that you use, the finer the texture of your recipe will be. If you can do this properly, people will still think that you have used cornmeal in the food that you’ve made.
Polenta is another ingredient that you can serve as a perfect cornmeal replacement. You should know that polenta is just an indirect label that refers to cornmeal. This product is now flourishing in the market, but only a few folk have tried it as there are many people who don't know what this ingredient is used for.
Most of the polenta that you can see in your local stores is sold in either a box or a bag. You can purchase it in different sizes and amounts, depending on what your needs are. The term "polenta" is just a market term that disguises cornmeal or corn grit. But unlike pure cornmeal, polenta is coarse in nature. Therefore, you need to minimize the use of this ingredient if you want your food to have a fine texture.
If you are lucky enough, you will be able to find polenta that is slightly finer. This is an important find because once you have bought this variant, you can use polenta in the same ratio as you would when you use cornmeal. When it comes to the flavor, I don't see a major difference between polenta and cornmeal, especially if it is being used in baking applications.
I bet you saw this one coming as corn flour is a given. I can guarantee that it is an excellent replacement for cornmeal. But of course, the two ingredients have different characteristics that you will need to bear in mind.
One of the biggest differences is in their particular textures. As I mentioned earlier, cornmeal is finer than corn grit and polenta. If we delve more deeply into this, you will see that corn flour is the finer variety of cornmeal, as it is the corn grain that has the finest texture.
Many culinary experts are divided as to whether using more corn flour allows you to achieve a similar texture to cornmeal. A majority still believe that the texture of cornmeal and corn flour still varies, regardless of the distribution ratio that you use.
However, if you don't mind this detail and just focus on the flavor instead, you should not encounter any problems here. After all, the flavors of these two ingredients are closely intertwined.
There is a variant of corn flour, called masa harina, that you can also use as an alternative to cornmeal. This particular flour is used to create tortillas and other similar recipes. Its texture is pretty similar to cornmeal as well. However, its flavor is not that congruent with cornmeal.
Do you want to know more about corn flour and cornmeal? Check out this detailed guide I have made here!
You can freely replace cornmeal with breadcrumbs and oatmeal. There is nothing wrong in doing these, as these ingredients resemble the flavor of cornmeal, and if you can use finely ground oatmeal and breadcrumbs, then you will get particularly satisfying results.
You can also use these alternative ingredients when you are making fried chicken. It is easy. You just replace the cornmeal that you apply to the chicken before you fry it by using breadcrumbs or oatmeal instead. Once again, I recommend that you process them in a blender or a food processor first so that these ingredients have the fine texture you will need for this recipe.
There are no problems maintaining the usual texture of breadcrumbs and oatmeal when you use them in pastries and bread, however. They always add a certain crispy, palpable flavor that you will really love!
A good recipe that you can try with this alternative is corn nuggets. This is a delectable recipe that your kids will certainly love! But let me remind that you will have to process them first to ensure that they get the fine texture that is necessary for this recipe.
Apart from the ingredients I have already mentioned, you can use other alternatives for cornmeal. If you want to recreate the same texture and flavor of cornmeal as a form of a coating, then I recommend using crushed cornflakes or potato chips. They provide your food with the ideal blend and taste that it needs. You can also use them as dusting for your pizza dough. Just make sure that you crush them properly so that they are fine as possible.
Moreover, ingredients like semolina, rice flour, and tapioca can also be utilized as substitutes for cornmeal when you make bread and pastries. You can even mix these ingredients together to give your food a wondrous flavor and texture.
Overall, I still consider cornmeal to be a great ingredient, but we can't have this food item in our kitchen all of the time. This is one of the downsides that we have to accept as kitchen warriors. But of course, the absence of this tasty ingredient doesn't mean that we can no longer cook the recipes that we want to. If you are innovative enough, you can find some great alternatives to cornmeal.
The substitutes that I have listed here are among the best options that you can consider for a suitable cornmeal replacement. You can try any of them and then choose the best one for you, depending on the kind of food that you are planning to make. Just be careful with the distribution of these alternative ingredients, so that you still get the desired flavor and quality that you want from your recipe.
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