Golden brown and crispy on the outside and tender and delicious on the inside, these savory and generously spiced polenta fries are served with a tangy, citrusy sauce for dipping.

Ingredients for the polenta:
• 3 cups water
• 1 T vegan butter or margarine
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably non-GMO)
• 1 T dried minced chives or 2 T fresh
• 2 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp ancho chili powder (or any mild chili powder)
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder

Ingredients for the aioli:
• ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
• 2 T fresh chopped cilantro
• 2 tsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
• sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Lightly oil a 9×5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter or margarine and salt to a boil.

In large measuring cup, mix together the cornmeal and remaining ingredients.

When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. While vigorously whisking, SLOWLY pour the cornmeal mixture into the simmering water. Slow addition of the cornmeal with vigorous stirring ensures that the corn meal does not form solid lumps. If lumps form, keep whisking until they break apart.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and begins to pull away from sides of saucepan. The mixture will cook quickly.

Spoon the cornmeal mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes and then place plastic wrap directly in contact with the surface; refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or until firm.

In the meantime, prepare the aioli by mixing together the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Once the polenta has chilled and firmed, turn the cake onto a work surface. Cut the cake in half and then cut each half into “fries” or wedges (or any shape you desire). Deep fry the polenta in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. The polenta will take longer to brown than potato fries. Drain on a plate lined with several paper towels. Serve hot with the aioli.

Southwestern Polenta Crispy Fries with Cilantro Lime Aioli
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