(Sweet Corn, Makkai, Cholam)
My first encounter with corn was during my school days when I and my friends used to eat the roasted or grilled corn (makka bhutta in Hindi) tossed with salt, red chili powder and a dash of lemon juice. The hot roasted corn cob with the spices and tanginess from lemon…ummm!! My mouth waters even today when I think of it. Those days irrespective of the quantity of lemon juice smeared, we would end up asking the guy in the cart for more and more of lemon. That corn used to be tougher in texture and not sweet.
As we grew there was foray of the American Sweet Corn and the tender baby corns into the market which was initially available in only in big super markets. The sweetness and tenderness of the corn kernels made it as a unanimous choice for its addition in any recipe either as a main ingredient or an add on ingredient. In spite of being a versatile ingredient, corn has remained widely underrated on the Indian plate. While the western cuisines have experimented and incorporated corn effortlessly, it is only in the recent past that we are finding that it is now being liberally used with Indian flavors.
How to Choose a Good Corn
Usually the whole American Sweet Corn is available with shell. Choose the ones with light green to green shells as they indicate that the kernels are fresh and tender. The corn cob is usually thick at the top and tapers down to the bottom. Feel the kernels through the husk.
- If you feel holes where kernels should be, then it is better to be avoided.
- If there are brown holes in husk, especially on the top, it indicates the presence of worms. Such varieties should be avoided.
- If the corn husks are deshelled, then check for the tenderness of the corn kernels by pressing the same. Sweet corn kernels having more juice or starch will be tender and hence some juice oozes out when pressed.
- Once the external layers of shell are removed, bright yellow and plump corn kernels are preferred as they are easy to be removed.
- The baby corns are also chosen in the same manner.
How to Store Corn
Though it is best to use the corn fresh, we can also store corn kernel in our refrigerator. Corn kernels can be removed and can be put in a zip lock bag and refrigerated. This is good for 2-3 days post which a ripe smell will begin from the kernels.
Alternatively, you can also freeze the corn kernels which will stay good for 2-4 months. The steps for freezing are also quite simple.
- Once the husk is removed, remove the corn kernels using a knife. Remove the first layer using a knife; the remaining kernels are easier to be removed using hand.
- Blanch the kernels in hot water for 5-7 minutes depending on the quantity of kernel ( 1 corn cob yield 2 cups of corn kernels). Blanching is done to preserve the flavor and sweetness of corn.
- Immediately transfer the kernels into a big vessel of cool ice water to avoid over cooking. The cooling time must be the same as the blanching time.
- Drain thoroughly till dry. Store in zip lock bags and deep freeze in the freezer.
The corn kernels are ready to be cooked. You can use it to make some mouth watering recipes as listed below. Each of it is tried and well appreciated my friends and family. Do try it and don’t forget to share your comments. Cheers!!
Recipes With Corn
Recipes with Baby Corn
Recipes with Cornmeal (Broken Corn)