The Rise of King Corn

CornNative Americans call it the food of the gods that created the earth. Corn has an important place in history. Its origin dates back to 5000 years and takes us to Mexico.

With the shocking prices of rice and wheat at Indian stores, I have consciously begun to include makki ki roti (corn roti) into our weekly menu. Corn flour is abundant and a healthy substitute for other staples.

Corn is high in Vitamin B and a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, zinc and iron. It helps lower cholesterol and increases digestion.

During my college days in Coimbatore, India, we worked in villages near the city teaching the villagers to read and write and educating them on Nutrition and Child Care.

The villagers worked on farmlands growing major crops of maize and cotton. The maize crop is a vibrant green color with beaded yellow corn growing out of it. The weight of the corn would make the plants droop down. I spent quite a few evenings gazing at acres of maize crops around.

We are now in California corn season. Fresh corn is popping up in all the farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Many an evening in May and June, corn on the cobb is the favored snack for my boys. I roast the corn on the stove, for about 5 to 7 minutes and brush it with butter and sprinkle salt and pepper. I make an Indian version with lime juice, cayenne and chaat masala for myself. Yum!

Here are some corn recipes you might enjoy!

Corn BreadEGG LESS CORN BREAD

This is a favorite of Arjun, my nephew in Pleasanton. Easy to make and can be a great hostess gift. Egg less breads are more dense than egg based breads.

Corn meal 11/2 cups
Unbleached Flour ½ cup
Baking powder 2 tsp

Baking soda ½ tsp

Fresh corn kernels 11/2 cup

Red Bell pepper 1/3 cup(chopped into small squares)

Green Chili 1 small (chopped fine)

Cilantro 1/4 cup (chopped)

Buttermilk 1/3 cup

Water 1-2 cups
Oil ½ cup
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush a bread pan with butter. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the corn, bell pepper, green chili, and cilantro and mix.

Whisk the oil, buttermilk and water together in a separate bowl and then add the dry ingredients to it. The mixture should be of cake batter consistency. Pour the batter into the bread pan and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. The corn bread is done when a tooth pick inserted to the middle comes out clean. Serve it with a dollop of crème fraiche.

CORN FRITTERS

This appetizer is tasty and filling and can be whipped out in the last minute.

Corn Meal ½ cup
Unbleached Flour 1 cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Fresh Corn Kernels 1 cup
Shallots ½ cup (chopped fine)
Red Curry Paste ¼ tsp (Thai time brand)
Cilantro 1/3 cup (chopped fine)
Green Onions 1 (chopped fine)
Salt To taste
Sugar a pinch
Water ½ – 1 cup
Oil For shallow frying

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and add fresh corn, shallots, red curry paste, cilantro and green onions and add water to make the consistency of pancake batter. Heat a flat pan on medium flame and add a tbsp of oil and spread it all around . Place about 4-5 dollops of the batter on the hot pan and let the fritters cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place it on a paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve warm with sour cream and chives.

Black Bean Salsa Black Bean and Corn Salsa

The colors and taste of this salsa are equally vibrant.

Black Bean 1 (15 oz) can
Fresh Corn Kernels 2 cups
Vine Ripe Tomatoes 1(chopped into cubes)
Red Onion 1 (small, chopped fine)
Green Onion 2 (chopped )
Cilantro ½ cup ( chopped fine)
Jalapeno pepper 1 (small, seeded, chopped)
Cumin Powder 1 tsp
Garlic Clove 1 (chopped fine)
Juice from 2 Limes
Salt To taste
Pepper To taste

Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours until the flavors blend in. Enjoy!

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