Creamy Polenta “Tun Cornmeal” | Pan Seared Shrimp.

polenta and shrimo

Polenta aka “Tun Cornmeal” was considered dog food back in Jamaica when I was a child.  Turned cornmeal with scraps of leftover meats added to it was the dog’s favorite meal.

Today in Jamaica, tun/turned cornmeal has become an all-time favorite side dish. You now find it on the menu of many restaurants. 

Traditionally, Jamaican Polenta is cooked with vegetables, herbs, coconut milk, and salted meat such as corned pork or salted fish. However, there are different recipe variations to this delicious side dish. Check out MiQuel’s Youtube video Turn Cornmeal Recipe Jamaican Style.

Polenta or Cornmeal Porridge?

In the United States, “Tun Cornmeal” is called Polenta and is an Italian staple. In Jamaica, cooked cornmeal is referred to as tun (turned)  because it requires a lot of turning or stirring while cooking. 

Polenta is the savory version of cornmeal porridge. This is one of my favorite hot cereals to have for breakfast.

Cornmeal porridge is cooked similar to Polenta but is sweetened with sugar and/or condensed milk. In addition,  spices such as nutmeg and vanilla extract are added for flavor. The texture is fluid when hot, but thickens when cooled. 

Polenta vs. Grits

Polenta is similar to grits. The main difference between the two is that Polenta is made from the kernels of the yellow corn while grits are made from the white corn.

Cornmeal is a very versatile food item. Whichever ways you enjoy cooking it, you will also love and enjoy cooking this creamy corn side dish topped with a sweet pan-seared shrimp. You will also get an additional bonus recipe showcasing my Fried Polenta Cake.

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Creamy Polenta with Sweet Pan-Seared Shrimp.

Here Are All The Ingredients You Will Need.

Below are some amazon ingredient links for your shopping convenience.

Fine Cornmeal

EZ Peel Shrimp




coconut Powder

Badia Complete Seasoning


Smoked Paprika

olive oil

Cooking Oil

All-Purpose Flour

Garlic Powder

black pepper grinder

black Pepper

yellow onion

Yellow Onion

La Choy Sauce

Your kitchen may need one of these  gadgets. 

polenta and shrimo

Creamy Polenta aka "Tun Cornmeal" with Pan Seared Shrimp. Bonus: Fried Polenta Cakes

Kevin Foodie
Polenta originates in Italy. Over the years, It has taken on different variations in the recipe. This Polenta aka Turned Cornmeal recipe is simple. It is cooked in coconut milk, turmeric and topped with sweet pan-seared shrimps. Check my bonus Fried Polenta Cake recipe.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Caribbean, Italian
Servings 5


  • Deep Sauce Pan
  • Cast Iron Pot
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Whisk
  • Wooden Spoon



  • 2 cups Fine Cornmeal
  • 1 8 oz. Packet Coconut Milk Powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Roasted Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 8 cups Water (room temperature)

Pan-Seared Shrimp

  • 1 lb Raw Shrimp Easy peel with tail on
  • ¼ cup La Choy Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • 3 tbsp White Cane Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Canola or Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Badia Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Roasted Garlic Powder
  • ½ cup Onion, finely diced.
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Salt

Seasoned Flour

  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp Badia Complete Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper


Let's Make Pan-Seared Shrimp In Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Remove the shell of the shrimps, leaving only the tails on. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder. Leave to marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
    raw shrimp
  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, complete seasoning, and black pepper until evenly distributed. lightly coat each shrimp with the seasoned flour mixture.
    shrimp in flour
  • Set aside coated shrimp. Heat oil over medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
    shrimp in flour
  • To the heated oil, carefully add the shrimp and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove cook shrimp and set aside. Lower the flame. In the same cast iron pot, add the finely diced onions and cook for 1 minute until translucent.
    cooking shrimp
  • In a small bowl mix the La Choy sweet and sour sauce, vinegar with 1/2 cup water with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture onto the cooked diced onions and continue cooking for another 1 minute.
    cooking shrimp
  • Add the pan-seared shrimp to sauce and simmer over low to medium heat for 2 more minutes. Remove shrimp from the flame and set aside.

Let's Cook Polenta "Tun Cornmeal"

  • In a bowl, add coconut powder, turmeric, salt, and garlic powder. Traditionally in Jamaica, freshly juiced coconut milk is used; It takes the flavor profile to a much higher level. For convenience, I decided to use coconut powder.
    grace coconut milk
  • Add the 8 cups of room temperature water and use a whisk to mix until all the ingredients dissolve.
    grace coconut milk
  • Pour the coconut turmeric mixture into a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat for 1-2 minutes.
    coconut turmeric milk
  • To prevent lumping of the cornmeal, some recipes call for you to mix the cornmeal with water before you add it to the hot liquid.
    For the purpose of this recipe, you will slowly pour the dry cornmeal into the simmering hot coconut milk mixture.
  • Reduce flame to low. In small portions, add the cornmeal while constantly turning the mixture using a whisk.
    Continue cooking for another 8 minutes until you observe a slightly glossy sheen on the surface of the polenta.
  • Remove from flame and serve on a plate topped with the delicious pan-seared shrimps.

Fried Polenta Cakes

  • My favorite way to enjoy polenta is to fry them crispy golden brown. I pour the hot creamy Polenta into a container. I allow the Polenta to cool at room temperature, then store it in the refrigerator.
  • Allowing the Polenta in the container to cool will produce a fairly firm cake, ready to be sliced for frying.
    fried polenta
  • The Polenta Cake can be cut into any shape and fried to a deliciously golden brown crisp on the outside while still maintaining a creamy soft texture on the inside.
  • Fry slices of the polenta in heat oil until golden brown. Serve the Fried Polenta Cakes and enjoy!
    fried polenta cake
Keyword Polenta, Shrimp Dish, Tun Cornmeal, Turned Cornmeal

Polenta aka "Turned Cornmeal"


You are also gonna love this delicious Jamaican Hominy Corn Porridge. Click HERE for link to recipe.

Pan Seared Shrimp

cooking shrimp

Thanks for dropping by. I would love to know what you think. Leave a comment and star rating.

22 thoughts on “Creamy Polenta “Tun Cornmeal” | Pan Seared Shrimp.”

  1. I’ve never tried tun cornmeal, so I made have to make that based on your recipe, although I’ll be skipping the seafood portion of the recipe as I hate seafood. I’ve also never tried grits, but then I’m not an American and I’ve only ever heard of Americans making it, but I had always wondered what it was, so now I know

  2. I haven’t heard anyone talk about tun cornmeal in years. I will definitely need to try this recipe.

    1. Cornmeal was very economical at the time. Dog food was not sold at the time, so homemade dog food with cornmeal was the norm. I am sure the dogs were very filled.

  3. 5 stars
    Kevin, I have to admit polenta is one of those ingredients I despise so much – but oh my god does this dish look absolutely amazing! I really need to give polenta a second chance, so I can try the super yummy shrimps to go with it.

  4. 5 stars
    I love polenta and shrimp, so this meal would be perfect! Your recipes are super savory and seem to include a lot of southern flavors, which I love! Nice job!

  5. Okay, this recipe looks SO good! I have never had cornmeal this way. It looks great! I will have to try making this now. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try it. 🙂

    1. Thanks for dropping by. I personally do not like grits. It’s very popular in the southern states. Polenta is slightly different than grits and I think you will like it.

  6. I love the combinations of shrimp/grits and shrimp/polenta, so I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. Strangely enough, I was just considering adding something like this to our weekly menu plan!

    This must be a sign.

  7. 5 stars
    I love shrimp so much. It is one of my favorite sea food. I have never tried Creamy Polenta “Tun Cornmeal” before but man, this looks fabulous. My mouth is watering and the shrimp topping is lit as hell!!

  8. Polenta is really tasty. It is interesting to find out that when you were growing up that it’s considered only fit for dogs! How times change 🙂 Now I guess it is a trendy food. The recipe sounds delicious!

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