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Remember when polenta cakes started popping up in cafe food counters. They were terrible! hard and dry little rock cakes! This is mainly due to the fact that polenta needs to be eaten quickly after heating. Think of Polenta like many other starches. Once polenta is cooked it continues to absorb the liquid, drying it out. 

There’s two main ways to cook polenta. Soft like a creamy potato mash, the other is to set them first then cook them like a big fat potato chip either in oil or oven bake them. 

The ratio of stock changes for both soft and hard polenta.

  • Soft polenta, 1 part polenta to 6 parts stock or milk
  • Hard polenta, 1 part polenta to 4 parts stock

Polenta is a great alternative to other starches like potatoes and it’s super simple to cook. Simply heat the stock and sprinkle over the polenta and then cook it out for 5 minutes before seasoning with some salt and maybe some parmesan for flavour. 

Seeded chicken with smokey polenta fingers

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves 4

  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • pinch salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups Panko crumbs
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

Smokey Polenta fingers

  • 2 cubes vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 ltrs water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups or 500gm fine polenta
  • 1 cup parmesan, finely grated 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 180*C. Dissolve stock in water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Sprinkle polenta over boiling water and stir for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Add ¾ of the parmesan and the salt and mix well. Pour polenta into a lined 20x30cm baking tray, smooth down the top and refrigerate until firm. 

Cut into chips or shapes and sprinkle with remainder of parmesan. Bake for 5 minutes then finish under hot grill for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Preheat oven to 180*C. To make eggwash, whisk together the eggs, mustard, salt and pepper. Crush all the seeds together in a mortar and pestle, and mix with Panko crumbs. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and pass through eggwash then seed mix. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry chicken pieces until golden. Finish cooking in oven for 10 minutes.