Cornmeal dumplings are deep-fried in this classic American recipe. They are wonderfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Traditionally served alongside fried fish and tartare sauce in the Deep South.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (32 votes)


  • 170 g (1 cup) polenta
  • 100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 50 g butter, chopped, at room temperature
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time: 30 minutes

Combine polenta, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, paprika and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, add butter and rub in with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add milk and egg, and stir until just combined. Stir in onion and season with pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches of 6, gently drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the oil and fry, turning halfway, for 3 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.


Photography by John Laurie.


As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg102.