Thursday, April 3, 2014

Corn in seasoned coconut milk


The story I will tell in the next few sentences is not really to inspire, or draw example from. Nor should it allow those haplessly wanton desires to control every decision, your outcome and utter your final destiny. A few weeks ago, my roadfaring ways almost led to disastrous results, unacceptable driving mishap, where my wideside van curved almost to kiss several front fenders, a conclusion derived from misjudgment of time and mismanagement of sense. In a not- too- swift move, I did my left turn in the most unfriendliest- of-traffic-lane settings, where the green signal takes over the task of having you turn as and when you deem fit, maybe, and not always aware of oncoming traffic, instead of the much desired, uncompromising green arrow. The move, requires an executive decision be made in less than 1/10 of a second, most times a barely-miss-aha-escape moment, which turns you into the shamefacedfoolmotorist taking in the furious glances of the Oncoming(traffic, I mean). So there goes I, after rudest-horn-awakening-ever, rushing to take control of the gas pedal, only to propel (almost in slingshot form) to the other side. My weaksmiled face turned against the meanness and the accompanying finger salutes( and there were many). It was that still-of-life that I wanted erased from memory. Cringeworthy and totally  Offkey.

Why, what reason? If there was one, worth it or not (?), you may ask (no worries if you don't, I plan to answer, anyway) The nascar driving moment was brought only and through a picture I was taking in, a could-not-get out-of- my-sight-my-head visual from Mridula Baljekars "Vegetarian Cooking Of India" (FYI, recipe perusal does not  figure in any driving safety manual).

An insanely bold, yet qualitative piece, this here, "Bhutte Masala"of hers. Ms. Baljekar takes us on a visit to India's hillstation vendors, those charmarking experts seasoning corn over hot coals in most rudimentary settings. She then transports this further, to a much refined conclusion, one I had previously never set my eyes on. Even though grilled/pepper smeared corn is as delicious as it limits itself to be, this unbridled way to cook it takes to a suddenlyricher playing field, invoking the deepest ambition in me, all the while disregarding my motor surroundings, and the fact that I was still driving a car. 'I just need the corn, all other materials were cupboard staples, the stuff of everyday mealmaking', thought I. Which is keenly right at the second I was brought to road's attention, a triple honk cue, launching my car into all the above mentioned.

Though I have to admit, it does benefit greatly, this find, probably as I look in hindsight, could've been done at a later, more convenient time and venue. But it happened when it did. Sometimes you just have no excuses, even second chances to answer on inspiration's call.

So what's it all about? Corn cobs cut into smallish wedges, allowing  a more efficient way to steep -extract all the flavor that's put in, much that permeates even to the core. This dunk brings the golden corn chunks a more even essence, released finally through a snugandnestle of seasoning on each 1 1/2 inch form. 

Tempered elements in chili flecked coconut milk is your liquid foundation, a magnanimous flow of seasonings that hinge onto every golden kernel. Suffice to say each one promises bursts of curried "juice". 

It's a ridiculously glorious spoon, hand and bowl event, one that I really couldn't forgo. Even if it was just short of hearing angels sing



(Inspiration, adapted from Mridula Baljekar's Vegetarian Cooking Of India)
Ingredients:
  • 4 corn on the cob, fresh or refrigerated
  • 1 c unsweetened canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to flavor
  • 2 tbsp nonfat plain yogurt.
  • 2 tbsp pure or virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3- 4 red chilies, broken in pieces
  • 1 seeded serrano pepper, sliced into thin cuts
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (about 6-8 leaves)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

I bought packs of refrigerated corn. It was good, but farmfresh trumps all.
Hacked in my adjustments. More coconut milk, seasonings and couple spoon's worth of yogurt made for a reliably fine ending. 
This intense venture gets even spectacular as it sits longer in the seasoned "milk" .   
Directions:
  • With a sharp knife, slice the corn into 1/2- 3/4 inch cuts. Place the slices in a deep pan with coconut milk and water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until pieces are soft, or if you prefer, until moisture evaporates. Add salt.
  • Turn off heat. Mix in yogurt until well blended.
  • In a separate skillet, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and temper. 
  • Add chilies, serranos. Stir until cooked, about 1 minute. 
  • Stir in curry leaves and coriander powder. Turn off heat.
  • Add the fried ingredients to the corn/coconut milk mixture. 
  • Top with cilantro and serve in bowls.
~You can wait(cook) till the corn soaks up all liquid, but the "masala soup"was thoroughly enjoyed, especially by my very picky junior 1 and 2.


Why not? Revisit the past. Aval vilayichathu made a debut around this time. Check it out, right here.
******
He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
"The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land He is giving you." Deuteronomy 28:8 (NLT)
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7 comments:

  1. A satisfying and delicious corn dish, Lisa.

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  2. Your corn looks magnificent :D
    Delicious and sweet with lots of seasoning!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  3. OH God!!! I hope u r fine Tisa... I just read a few sentences, could not get me going otherwise... when I just break to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of me by a couple of inches, my legs go weak, I am just wondering how harrowing ur experience must have been!!! Take care dear... when such things happen, u really see the hands of the Almighty working, all our good deeds helping us escape from tragedies, Alhamdulillah.... that corn is calling me out... next time, I get my hands on some fresh corn, would love to try this...

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    Replies
    1. Rafeeda, thanks so much. These near death experiences happen on a regular, especially when I drive the car. Oh, yes, there are a convoy of angels covering my tracks :-D

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  4. Divine corn. The combination of corn and coconut is just brilliant and delicious.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!