We started eating polenta when we moved back to the United States from Malawi, Africa. In Malawi we ate a corn mush called Nsima with a sauce made of fresh tomatoes and onions. Nsima flour is hard (but not impossible) to find in North America, but Polenta is in almost every grocery store. Even though polenta has a grainier texture than nsima it is an excellent taste substitute.
Polenta is also a great pasta substitute, especially if you use pasta simply as a vessel to transport sauce to your mouth. It’s amazingly easy to make, keeps well, and is even better fried in oil the next day.
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil
- Reduce heat and whisk in polenta
- Continue stirring with the whisk until polenta thickens (this takes about 5 minutes)
- Pour into greased or Pam-sprayed 9″ round cake pan or pie plate
- Let set 10 minutes, polenta will become firm enough to cut slices
- Serve with your favorite pasta sauce or as a side to fried eggs
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Here’s a quick easy tutorial on making Quinoa. I’m not a huge fan of plain quinoa, but I cook it ahead and use it in other recipes with !FLAVOR! as a side dish or a breakfast cereal.
- Measure out quinoa and place in a strainer. You will cook it in twice as much water. (1 cup raw quinoa, 2 cups water makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa).
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine strainer. This removes naturally occurring bitter soapy stuff that the plant produces.
- Place quinoa and water into a sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Quinoa is done when the balls are translucent and the half moon shaped husks have separated. It will still have some chew, like al dente pasta, and the balls will pop in your teeth.