As the official food of South Carolina, grits are more than breakfast food. It is a quintessential dish in the Southern parts of America.
However, many cultures around the world eat this corn dish in one form or the other.
However, if you have not yet tasted this nutritious dish, you might be wondering what do grits taste like.
So in this post, we will answer all the taste bud related questions about grits. We also show you how you can cook this fantastic meal for you and your family.
Fun fact: Grits come from grytt, an old English word for coarse meal.
What are Grits?
A straightforward answer? Grits is a porridge.
The dish is typically prepared from boiled cornmeal. Corn, that is starchy but is less sweet, is the preferred corn for making this grit.
The corn undergoes a type of processing with lye or alkali, which removes the hull or the pericarp. Grains that undergo this process are referred to as hominy.
This is also why grits are also interchangeably called hominy grits.
Grits made of stone-ground corn is also common. Typically, butter or milk is added to the dish.
Grits are a popular breakfast dish. However, in restaurants, you can have them as an entrée, especially for shrimps.
If you choose to buy grits, you will find a couple of varieties. These include hominy, fast-cooking, stone-ground, as well as instant grits.
It is very easy to confuse grits with polenta. It is an Italian dish also made from cornmeal. So keep an eye out.
What Do Grits Taste Like? Do Grits Taste Good?
Grits typically have a mild taste. If you are looking for another food that has a similar taste to grits, home-made cornbread comes the closest.
Well-prepared grits have a smooth and even consistency, much like peanut butter.
But since the corn is processed before cooking, it doesn’t have a distinct taste or flavor. So the ingredients that you use in cooking the grits will be more pronounced.
Grits are cooked with milk, butter, cheese, bacon, and herbs. However, you should not add too many herbs or other ingredients so that they don’t overpower the dish.
The mild flavor of corn blends seamlessly with other ingredients that make grits such a hearty dish.
If you think that grits taste marvelous on its own, you will be disappointed. It is because plain corn can have a pretty bland taste.
This is the reason why we add seasonings and other ingredients to make it flavorful. However, you can count on the grits to have texture.
Grits are served warm, which is part of the culinary experience. Even if an expert prepares the dish, cold grits are not what you want.
They lose the flavor, and the consistency of the dish also changes considerably.
Nutrition Value of Grits
Grits have great nutritional value. It contains a healthy dose of minerals, vitamins, as well as antioxidants. Below you will find the nutritional value of grits per cup, which is about 250 gm approx.
Carbs – 38 gm
Dietary fiber – 2 gm
Protein – 4 gm
Fat – 1 gm
Folate – 25% of RDI
Thiamine – 18% of RDI
Niacin – 13% of RDI
Riboflavin – 12% of RDI
Iron – 8% of RDI
Vitamin B6 – 7% of RDI
Magnesium – 5% of RDI
Zinc – 4% of RDI
Phosphorus – 4% of RDI
* RDI=Reference Daily Intake
How to Make Grits
Cooking grits is relatively easy. However, you need to get the cornmeal and the liquid ratio correct.
The right proportions are crucial as there is nothing worse than runny grits. To make the best grits, refer the following steps:
- Mix one cup of cornmeal and four cups of milk in a saucepan.
- Add 1 tsp of salt to the mixture and mix well.
- Use medium heat flame and bring it to a boil.
- After the grits start boiling, lower the flame and stir continuously.
- The cooking time of grits is anywhere from 20 minutes to 40, depending on their variety. Whole grain grits typically require a longer cooking time than the instant and quick varieties.
- When the dish attains a smooth, even texture similar to peanut butter, remove it from flame.
- Garnish it with cheese or butter of choice and serve.
- If you want to add shrimp or other ingredients, you need to sauté it for another three to four minutes after adding the ingredients.
Cornmeal cooks well with other ingredients. So you can pretty much add any ingredient of your choice.
However, the most important thing is to get the right ratio of cornmeal and liquid. Otherwise, you will ruin the grits.
Another thing you might want to watch out for is the calories. Grits is a very healthy porridge.
However, it is usually served with other high-calorie items. This can include bacon, butter, cheese, and milk.
So you can use broth or water instead of milk. Also, be sparing with cheese and butter and use olive oil.
Grits are an essential meal in southern American homes. However, its nutritional benefits, as well as ease of cooking, have gradually extended its horizon.
If you are concerned about the calories, look for stone-ground varieties of grits. Moreover, you can substitute organic honey and fresh veggies instead of syrups.
Nothing beats a bowl of warm grits to get you through a cold day. In addition, it is full of healthy components that are beneficial for your health.
Grits is a delicious dish with humble beginnings, but it is the ultimate definition of comfort food.