Sometimes you fancy pizza but just have the feeling you can't eat bread again for another meal. Sometimes you also fancy pizza, but know you need to eat a bit more sensibly, have a proper meal with a bit more sustenance to it.
Well, this is what I do when this kind of quandary rears its ugly head; a pizza with a polenta crust and a chilli and tofu topping. Who said you couldn't have your cake (or pizza) and eat it too..
This whole thing was cooked-up in Mysore when I was still a slave to our toaster oven and it's mysterious ways of scorching on the outside whilst leaving the inside uncooked. Or, the even more unknowable ways of the Indian national-grid (I'm not sure you could call a tangle of wires and a couple of boys on a bike with a bamboo ladder that?), who decided to call time on power every day at a completely different hour leaving cakes half baked, and at times, almost nothing on the table for lunch when we were expecting guests.
However, though I've said it before, necessity really is the mother of invention and we have invented so much stuff whilst in India, simply because we've had to either out of sheer boredom, or, to try and assuage a craving when there's only choice of pineapple, papaya for fruits and potato, tomato, aubergine and chilli as veg (I'm exaggerating but it's not that far off).
But enough complaining of our time there. It's a fantastic experience when you go to learn yoga at KPJAYI as we do, but sometimes the rest of the day can be hard to fill, so we cook. We've had some great meals and also a lot of time to prepare and cook together. This is a classic example of the fruits of our combined efforts; Theresa as the brain and direction on the finer points and me carrying out the execution.
For the chilli there are a million variations but heres' one of ours if you're stuck. remember to make it slightly waterier than you might normally so you can spread it easily over the base.
For the Tofu..come on, if you don't know how to fry-up some tofu now you're in big trouble...Just cut into 1" pieces and over medium heat fry in a heavy bottomed skillet/frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil and salt and pepper. Make sure to turn regularly s all sides get crisp.
For the crust
1 cup polenta (or course cornmeal)
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbs yeast flakes
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme, oregano, basil.
- Grease a baking tray, or better still some non-stick baking sheets or parchment paper.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Add all the ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan. With a wire whisk, keep whisking as you bring this to the boil.
- Immediately turn to low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the water has evaporated and the polenta mixture is starting to pull away from the sides.
- Turn the polenta out on to the prepared tray or paper and smooth down to your desired thickness. I would recommend about 0.5cm, but you could go thinner if you wanted crispier, or a little thicker if you wanted something a with a little more of a 'bake' feel.
- Place in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour or overnight.
- When ready to bake top the polenta pizza with your desired toppings and place on the middle shelf of your oven. If you wanted a thicker base and more topping it may take up to 40 minutes to yield a firm base which you will be able to cut. Take it out and try for doneness after 30. If you are going for a crispier base, crank up the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes.