Saturday, November 7, 2009

Is it possible to eat Indian corn?

Funny you should ask.
I bought this bunch of corn the other day at the market and the vendor told me I couldn't eat it. Because, he said it, "it wasn't grown to be eaten." So I politely asked if it had been treated with anything, (it wasn't) and silently vowed to prove him wrong.

I knew this wasn't your run-of-the-mill (pun intended) food grade corn, but I also knew it had the essential components that all other corn has (hull, hard starch, soft starch, endosperm, germ, etc.) . So I figured maybe I could apply some simple methods and see what I came up with. I was pretty sure I could make some sort of food, though I wasn't sure how pleasant it would be to eat.

Here's what I found:
Note: There are two types of corn in this bunch; a lighter larger yellow kernel and a smaller red kernel.
I tried popping it. I had no idea what to expect. I just put the kernels a small pan over low heat with a little oil and a pinch of salt. I covered it, after a about a minute, sure enough I heard popping.
Both were uniquely tasty and resulted in "cute baby popcorn" from the small kernels, I would say the hull of the yellow corn was still pretty chewy, unpleasantly so, but the red corn was perfectly delicious and had a pretty inner color.

Note the color of the inside of the popped kernel.

Next I set out to grind the grain and see what kind of porridge it would yield.
I processed the corn in my coffee grinder and whisked it into simmering water. I used both corns together for this, party because I was low on corn, and partly because I thought a mix would be nice.
This is where the corn really came through, essentially (maybe because I was conducting this experiment in the morning) I made grits, and they were very yummy. Uncommonly earthy.
Definitely a dish I will revisit after the holiday.

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