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.
EZ Peel Shrimp
Badia Complete Seasoning
La Choy Sauce
Your kitchen may need one of these gadgets.
Creamy Polenta aka "Tun Cornmeal" with Pan Seared Shrimp. Bonus: Fried Polenta Cakes
- Deep Sauce Pan
- Cast Iron Pot
- Mixing Bowls
- 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)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Set aside coated shrimp. Heat oil over medium flame for 1-2 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the 8 cups of room temperature water and use a whisk to mix until all the ingredients dissolve.
- Pour the coconut turmeric mixture into a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat for 1-2 minutes.
- 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.
- 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!
Polenta aka "Turned Cornmeal"
Pan Seared Shrimp
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