December 16, 2016
Polenta, to me, always represented a stomach ache. Because whenever I've eaten it out, it's made with dairy.
I love splurging as much as the next person, but eating too much of anything dairy is just tough on my system, forcing me to be largely dairy-free for over 2 decades. If you have my second book, Vegan India Cooking, you already know this about me.
It's why I love finding different ways to make things that we traditionally believe rely on cheese and cream to taste good. This recipe does the trick. I also took it up a notch by adding quinoa, a high-protein seed. You can barely taste it in here, but wow, when would you say 'no' to boosting the protein levels in your vegetarian meals? Make this, take a picture, tag @Indianasapplepie on Facebook and @indianapplepie on Twitter - tell me what you think!
Chile-Onion Quinoa Polenta Bake
1 medium yellow or red onion, minced
6 Thai chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon crushed red chile flakes, ground, divided
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups polenta
1 cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup finely minced cilantro, leaves and stems, divided
1. Place oven rack on highest position and preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a casserole dish or cast iron skillet and set aside.
2. In a small sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Add ½ the onion and chile mix. Cook until slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Mix in 2 teaspoons of ground red chile. Set aside.
3. Bring water to a boil in 5-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add salt.
4. Slowly add the polenta and mix. Turn heat to low and continue to cook. Polenta will thicken and start to bubble and splash and when it does put a lid on it. Cook for a total of 8-10 minutes, mixing occasionally to ensure it does not clump or stick to the bottom. Polenta is very easy to find - and cheapest from the bulk section. Two cups costs a little over a dollar. How much more affordable can you get than that?
5. Turn the heat off and mix in the cooked onion-chile mixture from Step 2, the uncooked onion and chile, 1 teaspoon of crushed red chile, quinoa, and half the minced cilantro.
6. Transfer the polenta to your prepped casserole dish or skillet. Spread it out, smooth the mixture down, and sprinkle with remaining cilantro and crushed red chile.
7. Place dish in oven and bake uncovered for 25 - 30 minutes.
8. Remove and set aside for 5 minutes to set. Slice and serve warm.
And, not to worry, if you don't want so much heat, adjust the amounts used. But, I'll be honest, the levels are perfect for all of you lovers of all things spicy.