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rancho_gordo

Oxacan Green Corn

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I've planted an extensive field of Oaxacan green dent corn. I thought it would be could to dry and use later but I was told that normally it's used fresh to make a fresh corn masa tamal. This sounds good but I grew way too much of it.

i10234.jpg

I suppose I could dry it and save the kernals for seed but do any of my fellow eGulleters know what else I could do with such pretty corn???? And can you point me in the direction of a fresh tamal recipe using Oaxacan corn?


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

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"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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If you make the masa, can you freeze it?

Actually, I am wishing I had a fresh ear or two (or two dozen) to try. I love roasted fresh dent corn. It is so much more tasty and toothsome than "sweet corn".


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I do believe you can freeze masa.

Why do they call the corn, dent? You could add the kernels to corn masa to enhance the flavour of instant masa, but to make masa from scratch you need whole kernels. Haven't we discussed this procedure on another thread or do I need more coffee.

I'll come back later.

S

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I think they call it dent because when the kernels dry, a dent forms on top of the kernel.

I think we did discuss "the method" somewhere. I can't find it now. Maybe I need more coffee as well. :biggrin:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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La Fifi is right about the dent corn. It has cute little dimples and tends to be starchier than sweet corn.

Fifi is also right in that I'm not asking how to make traditional masa. My understanding is that in Oxaca the corn is not ever dried and a masa is made from the fresh corn. That is why I am concerned that I have so much, all of which will be ready in about the same time.

I suppose I could freeze the fresh masa but I might try and dry it and save the seed instead.

Please ask your Oxacan friends!


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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I actually had this several years ago in Teotitlan del Valle when Dai Huynh of the Houston Chronicle and I were spending a day learning to make tejate and other historical beverages from scratch. The taste of the tamales was very earthy and mildewy. My guess is that if anyone has a recipe, Zarela Martinez has one in her book on Oaxaca. That would be where I would start.

Jay

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It seems like I've seen both green and blue corn antojitos in Mexico City. I would think that they would have used dried green corn for those. But I don't understand exactly how the processing works. The one time I used red corn to make masa, the masa still came out white.

Where the hell is Sharon these days to answer all these questions. :wink:

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Hello again,

Just talked to my friends at La Mano Magica in Oaxaca and I will try and repeat all that was told to me.

Masa is made from dry corn and dry corn only. It is never made from fresh corn, it is impossible.

It is the cooking process of cooking the dry kernels in lime (which is also cooked), that changes the corn from a vegetable to a grain. Once this process is complete - rinsing, etc. the corn can be ground into a smooth masa.

This cooking process is called nixtimalization.

If you are in Oaxaca in late October, you can see fields of dry corn on the stalk. The stalks are turned down, allowing the corn to dry.They are turned down in case it does rain, the water will slide off the kernels instead of penetrating the cob and becoming mouldy.

Once the kernels are dry, they last darn near forever, until it is time to make more masa.

Diana Kennedy speaks about it in the Art of briefly and I'm sure in other books as well.

Rick Bayless will speak also with authority in his books about this process.

And yes, where is Senora Theobroma!

I hope this information helps you.

Shelora

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Thanks! I guess I got some bad information.

I almost hate to ask, but had your friends ever heard of this green corn?


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Oh yes, another thing I just remembered. This process of nixtamalization is done throughout Mexico and Central America.

My friend also sited an example of the Chinese who use corn only as a vegetable, they do not cook the kernels in lime. It is only in Mexico/Central America do they understand this process. Fascinating isn't it? How they arrived at the process we can only imagine.

Shelora

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Masa is made from dry corn and dry corn only. It is never made from fresh corn, it is impossible.

Here's a recipe for uchepos from Michoacán, with masa made from fresh corn. I've never seen these in Oaxaca, so I can understand your friends saying that only dried corn is used for masa. I think uchepos are probably the unique exception.

This is the perfect time of year to make uchepos. If you've never tried them, they're addictive.

Ingredients

(For 4 people)

6 large tender ears of corn

100 grams butter

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Fresh (not dried) corn husks

PREPARATION

Take the corn off the cobs and grind the kernels in a food processor. Beat the butter well with the sugar and salt and mix together with the ground corn. Make the tamales in the fresh corn husks and steam them in a tamal cooker for 30 minutes, or until the corn husk can be easily removed from the tamales. You can steam the tamales in a pressure cooker; it takes about 10 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls with salsa verde and crema.


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Esperanza- that sounds KILLER!

I think there may be some confusion on the term "green corn". My corn is literally emerald green.

from the Univ of AZ:

But there's another kind of tamal that's made at a completely different time of year. This is the green corn (read "fresh corn") tamal, consisting of ground fresh white corn, with some cheese mixed into the masa, and perhaps a bit of green chile laid down the center. They are wrapped in the fresh shucks and steamed... and eaten.

I found a few other references on the web and green seems to mean fresh corn.

So-- I'm going to make some fresh, dry some and make a masa with some more (most of it) and save some for seed in case it's as tasty as it is pretty.


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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This is fun, I'm so confused.

While the recipe sounds great, the wording in confusing. How can you "grind" fresh corn kernels?

Wouldn't you have a puree? You wouldn't end up with ground corn with fresh off the cob kernels, you would have a juicy mush.

What does the word masa actually mean and are we taking it out of context?

Also, although my friend has seen pink,dark purple, yellow, white, blue and red corn, she has never seen green. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I have certainly heard it mentioned.

Where did you get the corn in the first place? From Oaxaca?

s

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Shelora, I think that uchepos are probably magic. You do indeed grind the corn (use a food processor, or use a metate). Somehow the combined ingredients create masa--a soft sticky dough that becomes sheer inspiration in the steaming. These particular tamales are never filled.

Masa literally means dough. Cake batter, for example, is also called masa in Spanish, as is bread dough, tortilla dough, pancake batter, cookie dough, etc. I make a Purhépecha soup that requires a little ball of masa de tortilla blended in as a thickening agent.

Uchepos are...what can I say...softer than clouds, sweeter than dreams. They're summer on a plate. Combined with the picante of the salsa verde and the slightly acid crema, they're food for the gods. And if you make the salsa with chile perón instead of chile serrano, you add the taste of flowers to the mix.

Surely with all the tender sweet corn available now in the USA, one of you will try these. Just remember to save the green corn husks to wrap the tamales.


What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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Yeah, uchepos are great. They're not actually unique to Michoacan, I don't think (but maybe by that name). They are sometimes called tamales de elote, too. Plus you can find them outside of Mexico. There are also little, almost bread pudding or custard like creations made with fresh corn. And in Venezuela they make cachapas, one of my favorite things, a fresh corn pancake/crepe. The uchepos recipes I've seen really vary in their contents. I really like the sound of that one. What's the source of the recipe. Some recipes add all kinds of binders.

I've never seen them made with green corn, but I'm no expert.

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Rancho,

I lost the post I just spent 20 minutes on, but check out Diana Kennedy's latest (From My Mexican Kitchen), page 232: "Uchepos: Fresh Corn Tamales from Michoacan". She talks of a balance between starchiness and sweetness to achieve the texture:

...you will need about six large ears of white starchy field corn... but get them with their green husks intact.

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I just talked with my sister-in-law who just got back from spending two years in Ecuador. She reminded me the name I was trying to think of. In Ecuador and much of South America, fresh corn tamales are called humitas or humintas. Looking in my copy of South American Table, there are several recipes, most of which involve some flour and egg to make up for the lack of starch in American corn. This might be a good source for testing recipes since there are so many compared with the uchepos recipes in Mexican cookbooks that carry them.

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What's the source of the recipe.

I spend a lot of time in Michoacán, since so many friends are there. Several years I was visiting an old friend out in the mountains, in a town called Tancítaro. She took me to visit her elderly aunt, who lives a goodly distance away on a rancho. We drove for about half an hour, then hiked across a field, then crossed a ditch on a log (please, I am too old for this), and then walked some more to get there. The aunt, knowing that my friend (who lives now in Ensenada) craves uchepos, made them for us while we were there. Needless to say, she didn't use a food processor; she used her metate to grind the fresh corn. I watched, made notes, and ate.

Her salsa verde was made using blanched and seeded chile perón and boiled tomatillos and lots of fresh cilantro. The perón adds a fruity, flowery flavor to the salsa verde that combines extremely well with the uchepos, as well as with corundas.


Edited by esperanza (log)

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Surely with all the tender sweet corn available now in the USA, one of you will try these.  Just remember to save the green corn husks to wrap the tamales.

I fear that the sweet corn we get here wouldn't work very well. It might make a good corn soup but there probably isn't enough starch to make a dough that will set up with steaming.

I have been totally frustrated in trying to find fresh dent corn, field corn, whatever. I had it "on the cob" years ago and the taste and texture are very different from the "sweet corn" we get here. (And exceedingly delicious.) I have had similar corn in Mexico, great street snack, and I can see how the texture could end up as a dough.

Admission: I actually did a fare search to see if I could get to the SF Bay Area last night with an empty bag to bring back some of ranch_gordo's corn. And that was with only one glass of wine. I swear. :raz:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I was thinking about adding cornstarch. Then I started wondering how much. I haven't had time to look it up but I think there is a site somewhere that goes into the analysis of various types of corn... starch content, etc. Then you could weigh your sweet corn and add cornstarch to make up the difference. Maybe.

I am thinking that for the tamales, the egg flavor might not fit. Sure would make good fritters, though.

FedEx would be cheaper than hand carrying. Well... by a little maybe. :laugh:

Edit to add: The only thing I can see to do is to nominate rancho_gordo to take one for the team and make esperanza's recipe. With pictures at each step, of course.


Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I wish Rancho would just start selling on the interweb. I'll do the code for an online store if you need it. You can pay me in beans and corn and chiles.

When I've done cachapas, it really didn't take that much starch (I usually use wheat flour; I've never tried corn starch). But it helped to let it rest. It always seemed a little too soupy, but then would work out. I bet you wouldn't need more than a tablespoon per ear of corn.

I wonder if you just used egg whites if you could get the binding without much flavor added. When I've used them in cachapas, I think I used about one egg for two ears of corn, and you couldn't really taste it.

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In South American Table, here are the ratios for the humitas:

ECUADORIAN

4 cups corn kernels

3 eggs

1/2 C corn meal

The corn is put in a food processor and the yolks and cornmeal are added. The whites are whipped to stiff peaks and folded in.

PERUVIAN and CHILEAN

4 cups kernels

1/2 cup corn meal

1 lightly beaten egg (if necessary)

Same as above without the separating

I'd like to try draining the liquid from the processed corn and mixing it with some corn starch and then adding it all back together to see what would happen.

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Just for clarification... rancho's green corn shouldn't need any additional corn starch or other additives. It is dent corn and should work with esperanza's recipe as is.

Where the heck is he anyway? Out trying to sell green corn? :biggrin:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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If you don't need any additonal starch in the form of flour or cornstarch, what about the addition of a little baking powder to lighten the dough?

s

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