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Cornmeal is a kind of flour or meal that is made from ground sweet corn. It comes in yellow, white, blue or red varieties, depending on the type of corn used.

Since cornmeal is gluten-free, fine and medium cornmeal is usually mixed with wheat flour to create a crumbly texture in baked goods like cornbread or corn muffins. Coarsely ground cornmeal is frequently labeled polenta or grits after the two dishes in which it is the main ingredient.

Cornmeal products are a native staple food in the Americas and today cornmeal is used to make tortillas, tamales, fry bread and popular Mexican drinks. Colonial settlers in the U.S. called cornmeal Indian meal and were fond of so-called cornmeal mush made from boiling cornmeal in water like the hasty pudding mentioned in the song Yankee Doodle Dandy. Cornmeal used to cook corn bread and so...  Italians have been making polenta yellow cornmeal boiled with water, stock or milk that is eaten as a porridge or cooled and cut into slices and grilled or fried since corn invaded Europe in the 1500s and Indian mush has has recently returned to fashion in the United States under an Italian name. 

In some parts of Europe, cornmeal may be labeled maize flour. Although the term cornflour is sometimes used to denote the finest grind of cornmeal in the United States, elsewhere it may actually refer to cornstarch.

Cornmeal can also be sprinkled on a baking tray to help keep dishes like free-form galettes or turnovers from sticking in the oven.

In terms of substitution, however, corn meal is likelier substituted by something like semolina flour and corn flour is likelier better substituted by quinoa or garbanzo bean flour.

Both are ground corn (maize, as they would have it in Europe). The difference is that corn flour is usually ground to a much finer texture than cornmeal.

While in some contexts (such as breading chicken), they can both be used, you will get different textural results. In general, you want to use the right product.

For example, corn muffins are normally made with corm meal, and if made with corn flour, would be much denser and without the mouthfeel the individual cornmeal granuals provide.


G'omi, tchvishtari, mchadi - Georgia (g'omi is similar to polenta, tshvishtari - cheese cornbread, mtchadi - cornbread)
Kachamak - Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia
Malai - Romania
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

East Asia

Wo tou - 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 - 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 - 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

Masa - nixtamalized corn used for making tortillas, arepas and tamales in Mexico, Central America and South America
Fubá - Brazil
Polenta - a typical dish in many Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay.


Cou-cou - part of the national dish of Barbados, "cou-cou and flying fish".
Funchi - a cornmeal mush cooked and cooled into a stiff pudding, sometimes eaten with saltfish and/or pepperpot. It is consumed on the island of Curaçao and is part of the national dish of Antigua and Barbuda.

North America

As a porridge, such as cornmeal mush, which is often then sliced and grilled
Cheese curl-type snack foods, such as Cheezies and Cheetos
In corn chips such as Fritos, but not corn tortillas or tortilla chips, which are made from nixtamalized maize flour
As breading for fried or baked foods, such as fried fish
As a batter for a fried food, such as corndogs
As a release agent to prevent breads and pizza from sticking to their pans when baking
As a breakfast cereal ingredient
Known as "samp" it was used in colonial times as a kind of porridge.

Read More at Wikipedia.
Recipes using Cornmeal see Here and Here and Here.
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