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Maize in Indian cooking


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The thread about orka got me wondering about the place of corn (maize, if you prefer) in Indian cooking. The corn entry in Charmaine Solomon's Encyclopedia of Asian Food states:

In India, it is used as cereal, ground into fine flour which is incorporated in flat breads or rotis, which are the staple food when rice is not. They are usually made from wheat, but occasionally cornmeal is used.

The entry also includes a recipe for spinach and corn bhaji. And although I don't recall where I first learned how to make it, "Indian" corn on the cob—grilled with the silk removed but husk on and eaten spinkled with lime juice and a mixture of salt and cayenne—has long been one of my favourite summer eats. But that's it. I don't recall seeing any other Indian recipes for corn in any form. So...

How common is corn in Indian cooking?

Which regions does it tend to be grown in?

Is it mainly used as a flour or a fresh vegetable? Does this vary from region to region?

Do you have any favourite dishes that feature corn?

(Useless trivia: Here in French Canada, corn is often called blé d'Inde "India wheat". Of course, the French word for turkey, another New World foodstuff, is dinde, a shortened form of coq/poule d'Inde "India cock/hen".)

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i remember only seeing corn in North India - at roadside stands grilling it the same exact way you describe. i must say the cobs were quite sickly looking in comparison to the ones here in the US>

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Cornmeal (known in India as Makki ka Atta) is very popular in the Northern part of India, especially in and around Delhi/Punjab/Haryana. The killer combo is Makki ki Roti (Corn flat bread) and Sarson ka Saag (Mustard greens curried) with a big dollop of home made white churned butter on both.

In our home back in Delhi we only used to have it (this combo) during the winter times, even tho the corn is available most of the time but I guess it tastes better in winters. In summers, grilled corn on the cob with lemon as you describer earlier. Another variation is boiled corn on the cob slobbered with very liquidy red tamarind chutney

Makki di Roti and Sarson da Saag this weekend then!!!

I'll post pictures if I remember.

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corn is actually grown in a lot of places in india and cultivation is increasing from what i read.the only flatbreads i've eaten are makki di roti and a tibetan version.kangra,ladakh,and other places( in the hills particularly) where corn is grown and the diet traditionally includes millets would no doubt include corn flour/meal in their repertoire.there is also a fair bit grown in karnataka in the south though i'm not sure that corn meal shows up in the diet-the hardy millet,ragi is common though.there's an interesting debate about just how old corn cultivation is in india.

traditional role of corn in this indian's diet hmm-corn flakes- champion( cardboard )and mohuns' (only slightly better) brands.

canned sweet corn niblets and canned sweet corn niblets cream style-usually tossed into 'bakes'.

sweet corn soup indo- chinese style

street food corn on the cob-roasted or boiled.

corn off the cob and spiced up for a delicious snack.

baby corn is big :wink: in india as a vegetable.i like it raw with a dip.

i dislike the new,hybrid sweetcorn that has taken over the indian market.much prefer the older kind which was kind of chewy/chalky/nutty all at once. :huh:

more when i remember!

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One of the staple breakfasts in my mother home in corn season is the Makai ni Khichri. (corn Khichri) we use grated corn and cook it with buttermilk. It is tempered with curry leaves, turmeric and mustard seeds. Eat as is or on top of toast. When we were younger it was made with Indian corn (the white one) but the now easily available yellow corn, puts a new spin on it because of its sweetness. it basically has all the elements of a comfort food/ monsoon food / winter food... I think will make some soon.

Another dish that we make is corn curry. whole cobs of corn are broken into bits and cooked in a curry with chillies and coconut. the curry is eaten with rotis or rice and the bits of corn cob are attacked with a vengance. the kernels are bitten off dith the teeth and the cob is chewed to extract the juices.

I also use sweetcorn to make a sweet corn pav bhaji.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the informative answers, all. We're heading into corn season, so I'll have to try some of your ideas. Speaking of which, what do you mean by grated corn? Kernels removed whole from the cob? Or am I supposed to grab my grater and treat the ear like a piece of cheese?

And, gingerly, I'm with you. The new super-sweet hybrids are for the birds. Luckily, not all of our local growers have forsaken the old varieties.

-carswell, who's been putting some wine and beer pairings to the test. Report to follow, soon I hope.

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Hey Monica those corn cups are now available at every mall Crossroads, Big Bazaar etc. I make a great version at home as well, so we can include it at the Eg get together.... (the one we will have when you are here...)


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those corn cups are now available at every mall Crossroads, Big Bazaar etc. I make a great version at home as well, so we can include it at the Eg get together.... (the one we will have when you are here...)

As it's unlikely I'll be at that particular eGet-together, Rushina, is there any way to convince you to share your recipe? My mouth is watering at the prospect!

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Carswell - I have a recipe for corn pakoras that I like.. would you like to check it out?

Indian corn fritters — what a great idea! Yes, Monica, I'd love the recipe. Thank you for offering. Does it call for besan? Bet you don't serve them like my mom serves hers, drizzled with maple syrup...

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