Polenta is a very traditional variety of corn/maize that has superior flavor and contains more nutrition than the modern genetically modified maize or modern hybrids. In fact GMOs have been proven to cause cancer in mice fed solely on GMOs so I would like to avoid most ugali flour in the market which are highly mass produced with chemical pesticides, fungicides and all. I have actually experienced this first hand … as a kid we used to grow our own maize for ugali which was tough and had a pale color and sometimes blue color, it was awesome. Today’s maize is extremely soft and very white in color, great for marketing right? But I do not feel satiated even when I eat whole maize ugali so that is why I prefer equatorial ugali or sometimes polenta.

corn grits or polenta
Available at Nakumatt or Healthy U around KES 450 for 680g

Yes Polenta is almost like ugali but the way it is seasoned and cooked gives it a different flavor which I have to say it is not as good as a nicely cooked ugali but it does taste good and you can add more stuff like cheese if you are into a little dairy, won’t hurt. You can also accentuate the flavor of the polenta by toasting it, which I saw Iron Chef Bobby Flay’s Sous chef do and the judges really loved it, cleared the plate so I knew I had to do it this way.

  • First heat a sufuria on medium heat and then add a little extra virgin cold-pressed coconut/olive oil.
  • And a touch of unsalted butter and when it foams, add about 1 cup of polenta
  • Stir after every 20 seconds, making sure it does not burn
  • Do this for about 2 minutes or until aromatic, more like a mahindi choma (roasted corn on the cob)aroma
  • When the polenta is toasted season with Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Add some water in the ratio of 3:1 to polenta
  • Bring to a boil and the reduce to low heat and simmer gently, preferably 45 minutes or until very thick texture
  • Add some grated parmagianno-regianno cheese and plate immediately then wait for about 10 minutes for the polenta to set and take shape
  • Serve like ugali, or in an Italian Menu