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Prep Time: 2 Hours      
Yields: 10–12 Servings

"Calas, calas! Belle calas tout chaud!" (Beautiful calas, very hot!) Nothing was more famous in the French Quarter adjacent to Jackson Square than this crying of the cala sellers. The deep-fried, powdered sugar-coated rice cakes were the Africans’ answer to the beignets of the French in New Orleans. This version is made with stone-ground grits in the place of flour.

Ingredients for Grits:
1 cup yellow stone-ground grits
2¼ cups water
1 cup milk
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup sugar

Method for Grits:
In a large saucepan, heat water and milk over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a rolling boil then add salt and sugar. Slowly stir in grits and reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking grits approximately 20 minutes, stirring often. Grits should be thick. Remove grits from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Ingredients for Calas:
3⅓ cups cooked grits
3½ cups toasted shredded coconut, chopped
¾ cup milk
½ cup beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup cake flour
¾ tsp baking powder
2 cups vegetable oil
powdered sugar

Method for Calas:
In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked grits, milk, eggs and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Sift flour and baking powder, add to wet mixture and stir well to incorporate. Fold in coconut, cover bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, approximately 1 hour. When ready to cook, remove mixture from refrigerator and form into 1 ounce balls. In a 14-inch, cast iron skillet, heat oil to 325°F over medium-high heat. Deep-fry calas, 4–5 at a time, for 6–7 minutes or until golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain. Top each ball with powdered sugar and serve hot.




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