What an amazing grain corn aka maize is! It dons myriad avatars. Some like it hot, roasted on a spit and on the cob; others like it glazed with butter. Both kids and adults love it ‘popped’, and in recent years, cups of steamed sweet corn drizzled with chaat masala have made inroads into small towns of India. In Europe, you have polenta and corn chowder. All things ‘Chinese’ may not be very popular at the moment, but it is not going to be easy to ban or banish the sweet corn soup.
No, there is no dearth of desi corn recipes. The most famous perhaps is makki ki roti paired with sarson ka saag from Punjab. In Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, locals take pride in the kees prepared from sweet corn kernels. Vegetarians now get to order bhutte ka kebab in restaurants. Makki ka halwa and kheer are, however, rare. Himachal Pradesh has an entire festival dedicated to corn — Minjar. Nepalese prepare a porridge-like dish, dhedho, from corn.
We owe our recipe this week to our friend, ex-MLA Ranjit Rawat. He treated us to a delicious makki ka chila for breakfast last year. Ranjit bhai remembered his childhood days nostalgically as he narrated how the villagers in his native Salt (also known as Sult) region for long subsisted on corn pancakes as nothing else grew easily.
Not difficult to master, you can try it at home. The flatbread or pancake, call it what you may, can be enjoyed both sweet and savoury. A refreshing change from paratha, toasts and cereals.
Sweet Corn Chila
- Sweet corn kernels 500g
- Onion 1 small
- Green chillies 2-3
- Tomato (medium, optional) 1
- Gram flour/cornflour 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Butter 100 ml
- Boil the corn lightly. Wash and dice the tomato. Peel and chop the onions into small pieces. Wash and chop green chillies.
- When cool, grind the corn into a paste. Add gram flour to the paste and a little water to obtain a batter of pouring consistency.
- Heat a griddle and line it with a thin film of oil.
- Pour a dollop of batter in the middle and spread it outward in a circular motion.
- Cook on low-medium heat till it becomes dry in the middle and crisp at the edges. Flip carefully and cook on the other side.
- Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies and cook for 10-15 seconds more. Fold and serve with chutney of choice but not before you put a blob of butter to slowly melt on the chila.
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