THEME: #151 CORN
The whole of today was spent indoor as right now Montreal is going through a heatwave. We thought that the night time would be cooler so went for a long walk with hubby. However, the heat was unbearable. The last time I experienced a blast of hot air like this was years ago when I first went to Amdavad before I joined school in Mt.Abu. Mombasa is a hot and humid place but we don’t get dry hot air. Tomorrow too is going to be hot and people have been advised to drink lots of water.
Luckily the football matches for the World Cup are going on so for better half of the day watched the matches. I cannot sit through a whole match so in between got up to bake! Hubby thought I needed my head examined as I wanted to switch on the oven when its so hot.
I had two options, switch on the oven to bake a cornbread or go out in the heat to buy some ingredients to make an alternate dish. Cornbread won as I had all the ingredients ready. Thank goodness for open plan kitchens. The air conditioner was on full blast at one end of the room and at the other end the oven. And let me tell you these huge ovens in US and Canada generate a lot of heat.
In the evening my son’s calls to ask what’s for dinner. I told him I’ve baked a cornbread and don’t know what to serve it with. He comes home with some veggie chile and guacamole. Dinner was ready in a matter of minutes.
I’ve heard and come across cornbread recipes but always wondered how it would taste. A few days ago my son, his girlfriend and I went to a vegan restaurant. For starters we ordered cornbread. They served it with melted vegan ‘butter honey’. I loved the taste and knew what I was going to make for the corn theme suggested by Waagmi who blogs at Cooking is Funn.
As I searched for a recipe, I came across savory and sweet cornbread recipes. I wanted to try out an eggless version and came across a few recipes. I put 2-3 recipes together and came up with this version. Next time round I’d love to bake one with eggs. I had a bit of boiled corn in the fridge, so added it to the batter. I would have loved to add chili flakes, but since I didn’t have any I added a bit of red chili powder.
As I read more articles on cornbread, realized that it can be served in so many different ways. Serve it with a stew, chile or some soup. Serve it with some honey and butter mixed together, drizzle honey on top and enjoy it, dunk it in milk, make croutons with them, use it to make French toast, serve it with eggs for breakfast. The options are endless. Stale cornbread is crumbled up and eaten instead of cereal in the morning with milk or yogurt. Remember you have to use cornmeal (makki ka atta, ugali flour) and not cornflour. Both are different.
Native Americans had been using ground corn for thousands of years. European settlers especially those who settled in the southern colonies, learnt to use cornmeal to replace grains that were used back home to bake breads. Cornbreads became popular during the American Civil War as it was cheap to make and could be made in different forms, high rise, flat like johnnycakes or pone. The other reason that cornbread was more popular in the south than the north was that the south was too hot to grow wheat. Cornbread can be made using both the white and yellow cornmeal.Over time cornbreads were improved in texture and taste by adding butter, eggs, buttermilk, milk, cream, vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts,seeds etc.
2 cups yellow cornmeal
6 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, soft at room temperature
½ tsp red chilli powder or 1 tsp red chilli flakes
6 tbsp melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place a glass baking tray 8″X 8″ or a round baking dish ( 8 – 9″ in diameter) in the oven to heat up with the 2 tbsp of butter. Let the butter melt and become a bit brown.
- In the meantime mix the flours, baking agents, salt and chili together.
- Add the cooked corn,buttermilk and melted butter to the dry ingredients.
- Mix just enough so that the flour gets wet. Do not over mix.
- Remove the hot baking tray from the oven.
- Add the batter to it.
- Level out the top using a spatula.
- Return the tray into the hot oven.
- Bake the cornbread for 25 minutes till the top is crispy and a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean.
- Remove the tray from the oven and let the cornbread cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving it warm.
- Don’t have buttermilk, then take 1 cup milk and add 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice. Mix and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before using it.
- Add vegetables of your choice.
- To make a sweet version add ⅓ – ½ cup sugar.
- You can replace the butter with vegetable oil.
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