polenta and rice doughnuts

rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table

To be honest, I don't eat doughnuts that often. It's rare that I make them at home but when I do it has to be a beignet. If I lived in NOLA, I'd probably try to eat a beignet every day, it would be a goal to achieve, one I'd happily strive for. When I think about it, the concept behind a beignet is so simple yet delightful, a yeasted dough, deep fried to crispiness and then sprinkled with confectioner's sugar. If you've been to Morning Call or Cafe du Monde in NOLA and eaten their beignets, you are also familiar with the hazard, powdered sugar poses. Don't wear black clothes and you might not only end up with sugar on your clothes but also in your nostrils which will make you sneeze. But at the point, it won't matter.

It's National Doughnut Day today. Now normally, I'm terrible at remembering such things (except for Pancake Tuesday because that is mentally ingrained by my mother in my head) but thankfully, Melissa decided to organize a little doughnut special. I decided to go with something closer to a beignet but with different textures, flours and flavors. 

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Alice Medrich and she is one intelligent yet humble person. But she is also an amazing teacher and the class that I attended was full of information and tips on how to work with whole-grain flours beyond wheat. Her latest work, Flavor Flours is simply an amazing book to learn from. I took some inspiration from her recipe for beignets to create these rice flour and polenta doughnuts. Because the texture is a cross between beignets and doughnuts, I felt doughnuts would be a more appropriate way to describe them. There's a hint of nutmeg in these guys and I find that confectioner's sugar and/or honey are the best way to enjoy them. Of course, a little tea or coffee or even hot chocolate on the side would be a good way to wash them down.

rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table
DSC_3716 - Version 2 2.jpg
rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table
rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table
rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table
rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing these doughnuts,

  • Use regular rice flour but not sticky sweet rice flour when you make these doughnuts.
  • The texture of the doughnut after frying, should resemble a crispy thin coat that encloses light ball of polenta. 
  • Nutmeg is a great spice here but green cardamom is also perfect in this recipe. 
  • Honey or confectioner's sugar work well with these doughnuts. Just make sure the doughnuts are warm when you eat them.
  • These doughnuts are best eaten when made fresh and are hot to eat. 
rice and polenta doughnuts | A Brown Table

polenta and rice doughnuts 

yields: approximately forty 1 inch doughnuts 


100mL water (110F)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon instant dried yeast

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup (3 1/8 ounces/ 87gm) polenta 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3/4 cup (4 1/4 ounces / 117gm) rice flour 

1 large egg at room temperature 

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder, fresh

30mL water, at room temperature

enough vegetable oil for frying (use a neutral oil with a high smoking point)

confectioner's sugar for dusting (or honey)

1. Place the water in a small bowl or jar, stir in the sugar and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Allow to sit aside for 10 minutes until it gets foamy. (If it doesn't foam after the 5 minutes, repeat this step with fresh ingredients).

2. In the meantime prepare the polenta. Bring the 1 1/2 cups of water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan on high heat. Quickly whisk in the polenta by pouring it in a thin and steady stream. Add the butter and continue to whisk for about 4 to 5 minutes until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the polenta is soft but not mushy. Remove from stove and cover the saucepan with a lid. Leave to cool for about 5 to 7 minutes before using.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the rice flour and make a well in the center. Add the polenta, egg, salt, and nutmeg along with the yeast from step1. Using a large wooden spoon, stir the ingredients with the water to form a thick dough. The dough will resemble a soft and sticky mixture. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes before cooking.

4. In the meantime, heat the oil in medium-sized wok or saucepan with a deep bottom on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (at about 350F) start to prepare the doughnuts for frying. Using a small ice cream scoop (or two tablespoons), scoop out a single ball of dough and drop it into the hot oil, allow the ball to rise and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the doughnut is evenly golden brown. Place the doughnut on a sheet lined with absorbent paper towels to drain the excess oil. The outside portion of the doughnut should be crispy yet the inside soft. Immediately dust the hot doughnut with confectioner's sugar or drizzle with honey before serving. Prepare the rest of the doughnuts using the same method. 

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Note: The pretty red Balti was a gift from Le Creuset. 

polenta coconut almond baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce

polenta coconut almond milk baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce | A Brown Table

Somewhere between my meyer lemon tree and a stack of sweet potato vines, sits my Moro blood orange tree. Unlike the lemon tree, it hasn't produced any flowers this season but there are tiny little leaf buds between each and every portion of the stems of this little tree. So until the day arrives that this plant will hopefully produce some fruit, I make do with ransacking the stores and markets in the neighborhood for the blood oranges. And some of those blood oranges went into making this sauce to be drizzled over this pudding.

Ahh, how I love puddings! They are convenient and comforting yet can be made fancy to suit one's needs. I like to think there's something sweet waiting for me in the refrigerator when I come home after work, so every now and then I'll make up a batch of puddings that will satisfy my sweet cravings. This pudding is made with sweet polenta and the creamy delicious flavors of coconut and almond milk and there's also a lightly burned caramelized blood orange sauce that goes over the pudding. Happy flavors and tasty puddings.

By the way this Califia coconut almond milk combination is rather delicious!

polenta coconut almond milk baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce | A Brown Table
polenta coconut almond milk baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce | A Brown Tablepolenta coconut almond milk baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce | A Brown Table
polenta coconut almond milk baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce | A Brown Table

Here are some tips that you might find useful when preparing these puddings,

  • You can skip blood oranges and use regular oranges to prepare the sauce. Remember to adjust the sweetness of the sauce accordingly.
  • The puddings will rise during baking and then sink a little after they are chilled. I trim the crust off the exposed end of the pudding to give the dessert a smooth finish. 
  • I gently bake the pudding for about 2 hours in the oven at a lower temperature so it doesn't burn but helps to get rid of most of the liquid.
  • You can adjust the sweetness of the dessert to your liking by changing the amount of sweetener added. 
  • Garnish as needed with candied orange chips if desired
polenta coconut almond milk baked pudding with burnt sugar blood orange sauce | A Brown Table

burnt sugar blood orange sauce

yields: approximately 1 cup


2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup blood orange juice, fresh and strained 

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

  1. Place the brown sugar in a small thick bottomed saucepan and heat on a medium-high flame for about 3 minutes until the sugar just begins to darken and caramelize (watch the sugar carefully to avoid it from burning). As soon as the sugar begins to caramelize, remove the saucepan from the stove and carefully stir in the orange juice. Return to stove and stir until the caramelized sugar has completely dissolved. 
  2. While the sauce is cooking, stir the cornstarch and water to form a slurry in a small bowl. Stir this mixture into the sauce and quickly whisk. Continue to cook with constant stirring, the mixture will begin to thicken and begin to boil. Continue to stir constantly and cook for one additional minute. Remove the saucepan from stove and pass the sauce through a sieve to remove any clumps. Transfer the sauce to a container and refrigerate until completely chilled. 

polenta coconut almond milk baked puddings 

yields: 4 servings


1 cup (6 ounces) polenta 

1 tablespoon toasted unsweetened shredded coconut 

2 tablespoons sugar

1  1/2 tablespoons cornstarch 

1 tablespoon water

a little coconut oil for greasing

  1. Add all the ingredients from the polenta to the sugar in a large thick bottomed saucepan. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil on medium high heat and then reduce the heat to a medium-low. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to form a slurry and fold this slurry into the polenta. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook and stir the the polenta until there is little to no visible liquid left, this should take about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should resemble a thick porridge like consistency. Remove from stove.
  2. Grease 4 X 4 ounce heatproof glass canning jars with a little coconut oil. Using a ladle fill the jars up and using a spoon flatten the mixture to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake the jars for 2 hours at 250F on a baking sheet on the middle rack of a preheated oven. Rotate the tray halfway through the baking process. Remove the hot jars and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap the mouth of each jar with cling film and refrigerate until chilled for at least 3-4 hours. The puddings will shrink a little in the refrigerator.
  3. To release the puddings, run the blunt edge of a knife between the jar and the pudding. Tap the jar over a plate to release the pudding. Trim off the crusty end of the pudding using a sharp serrated knife and place the pudding in a serving plate. Garnish the pudding with a candied orange slice and drizzle generously with the burnt sugar blood orange sauce. Prepare the remaining three puddings similarly.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia and all opinions stated here are purely my own.

grilled spicy sweet corn

Indian style grilled spicy sweet corn bhuta

People evolve and grow over time and so do blogs, it was definitely time for a much needed facelift! I hope thing are working as smoothly and efficiently as possible but if you come across any glitches, I would really appreciate if you could shoot me a quick email or drop a comment so I can fix it. I've also added some new links and stuff like a new Photography Portfolio so please do check that out. There will be some more updates in the future, so stay tuned!

sweet corn

Enough said about hosts and domains, let's get back to more important things, THE FOOD! I cooked up some sweet corn for you and this is my all time favorite way to eat it! Grilled on the cob and lathered with fresh lime juice along with a simple seasoning of sea salt and hot dried chilies, it's quick and easy and good. This is exactly the way you would get corn on the cob in Bombay during hot summers with one difference, it's called "bhuta". I picked up these bicolored corn cobs at the Mountain View Farmer's Market, which has quickly become one of my favorite places to shop at in the Bay Area. Plus, Mountain View is also gorgeous with beautiful gardens and homes, so it's always awesome to drive out there.  

chili and sea salt for sweet corn

If you can't find Kashmiri chilies (a local Indian/International grocery store will carry them), use any other dried hot chili pepper you love to prepare the spice rub. Serve the cob hot!

Indian style grilled sweet corn bhuta

grilled spicy sweet corn

yields: 4 corn cobs


2 generous tablespoons kosher sea salt

3 dried Kashmiri chilies or 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (you can adjust the amount of chili as per your taste preference)

4 sweet corn cobs, husk and silk removed, cleaned

2 limes, fresh

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped  (*optional)


1. Grind the salt and chilies in a spice grinder to get a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and keep aside until ready to use

2. Grill the corn cob directly on a hot grill. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until the kernels begin to take on a shiny golden color and a light char and then rotate until the cob is completely cooked. Remove the corn and keep aside on a platter.

2. Halve the limes with a sharp knife. Dip the exposed, cut end of the lime half into the chili-salt mix. Then using the lime as a brush, lightly paint the hot grilled corn cob with the spice mix. You don't need to overdo the brushing as a little will go a long way here. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve hot and immediately.