Food & drink photography and styling - Recipe development

Creamy polenta chips with spicy aioli

Creamy polenta chips with spicy aioli

Disclaimer: In December 2019, I was commissioned to develop a variety of recipes for Dairy Australia. This is one of them, featuring the use of cream. Styling and photography by me. Both the recipe and the photo is now property of Dairy Australia, however I was given permission to publish them on my website. © Dairy Australia. All rights reserved.

I don’t usually like to toot my own horn, but these polenta chips are the bomb! Surely you know what I’m talking about when I say that more often than not, when you order polenta chips they can be pretty average. Dry. Bland. Limp.

So I was on a mission to make a version that was crispy on the outside, and super fluffy and packed with flavour on the inside. The secret? Lots of dairy… (yes, if you haven’t noticed from my other recipes, I’m a huge fan.)

The fluffy interior

I cooked the polenta in a mix of cream and water. Sure, just water works just fine, for there is something about the cream that makes them super tender, well, creamy, and so fluffy.

The intense flavour

If you want your chips to have a great flavour, you will need a bit of salt. And there is plenty of salt in a good quality Parmesan. More dairy? I say yes!

The crispy crust

Can’t go wrong with seasoned breadcrumbs to make something crispy, right? There is one little trick that will make sure your breadcrumbs stick to your subject, be it these chips, a schnitzel or anything else you want to fry with crumbs: Let it rest!

Once you have gone through the crumbing process (dipping the chips in eggwash, then coating with the crumbs), place the crumbed chips in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes. The longer the better! This gives the chips and the crumb time to bond.

Here are another tricks for a crispy crust:

  • The oil needs to be hot, and stay hot when the food is added. 180°C is preferred.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pot, it will lower the oil’s temperature.
  • Consistently hot oil means the outside with quickly crisp up, creating a seal so that the inside won’t soak up the oil. It’s like a little insulated steam oven on the inside of the chip. Which is the secret to them becoming so fluffy.

The classic dipping sauce… with a twist

Polenta chips and aioli. A match made in heaven. One can’t go without the other. But with my version of the chips already being so creamy, I felt like my aioli needed a different focus, something with a bit of a kick. So I pretty much just added a little sriracha. The spiciness balances the creaminess quite nicely. If sriracha is not your thing, just use chili oil, chili powder, chili flakes, chili ANYTHING really!

Creamy polenta chips with spicy aioli

A crispy outside and a heavenly creamy inside, that’s what we want from a good chip. The secret here is to cook the polenta in cream. Yes it’s a little bit naughty, but the result is worth it! These chips can be frozen, so you can prepare a ton of them ahead and fry them just before the crowds arrive.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Resting Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: South American
Keyword: aioli, chips, cream, polenta
Servings: 4 serves


Polenta chips

  • 280 ml thickened cream
  • 300 ml water
  • 150 g finely ground cornmeal
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 70 g Parmesan grated
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 180 ml vegetable oil


  • In a medium saucepan, bring cream and water to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and rain in cornmeal and salt, continuously whisking to avoid clumps. Cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes until the polenta starts forming one big clump. Take off the heat and incorporate grated parmesan.
  • Line a square or rectangular dish with cling wrap. Spread the polenta evenly into the dish, pressing down to 2cm thickness. Smoothen the surface. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
  • To make aioli, place yolks, sriracha, garlic and vinegar into a tall jug. Mix with a stick blender. Slowly pour in oil in a steady stream while continuing to blend until thick and fully emulsified. Cover and chill immediately.
  • Cut the chilled polenta into chips of 2cm width. Mix breadcrumbs with finely chopped parsley. Whisk the egg, then dip each chip into the egg wash, followed by a coating of the breadcrumb mix. Rest the coated chips in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
  • In a deep fryer or saucepan, preheat vegetable oil to 180°C. Fry the chips for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on a kitchen towel before serving with the aioli.
  • Tip: All things crumbed benefit from resting the crumbed items in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before frying. This will help the crumbs bond to the food, and they won’t separate or fall off while fried.

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