When Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, he expected to find the riches and spices of the West Indies. To their dismay, they returned to Spain without the treasures they had anticipated. However, one of their many discoveries impacted the world dramatically—the culinary world, that is. The explorers discovered gold in a form never before seen in the eastern hemisphere. The gold was enveloped by filmy, green leaves and had fine, yellow strands protruding from its tip. This kind of gold affected the world’s palate as it spread out from the Americas and worked its way into cultures around the world. Corn, the American gold, has been incorporated in recipes around the globe as appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The following recipes come from different countries, but all share a common ingredient: corn.

American Cornbread

American Cornbread. Photo by Jeff W. Brooktree.

American Cornbread. Photo by Jeff W. Brooktree.

  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups yellow, white, or blue cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease inside of a 9-inch round pan or an 8×8-inch square pan.

2. Beat milk, butter, and eggs in large bowl with an electric mixer or wire whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients. Continue stirring until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into pan.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Adapted from www.food.com.


Curau: Brazilian Corn Pudding

Brazilian Curau. Photo by Lisa MacKay.

Brazilian Curau. Photo by Lisa MacKay.

  • 2 cans corn
  • 2 quarts milk
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Cinnamon to taste

1. Drain corn. Put corn kernels in a blender and blend into a paste.

2. Combine corn paste, milk, sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken.

3. Add coconut milk. Keep stirring as it cooks. When the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, stir in butter. Pour into a glass dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Let cool and serve.

Adapted from www.maria-brazil.org/corn.


Bhutta: Indian Street Corn

Indian Bhutta. Photo by travel oriented.

Indian Bhutta. Photo by travel oriented.

  • 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Optional: garam masala, kala namak (Indian black salt), or amchoor (dry mango powder)

1. Mix spices together in a shallow bowl.

2. Heat grill or stove to medium-high heat. Place corn on grill and rotate it every 20 seconds to cook evenly. All the kernels will blacken to varying degrees. Remove from heat.

3. Dip half of the lime in the spice mix. Rub the spice-covered lime all over the corn, squeezing lime juice while rubbing. Serve hot!


Salvadoran Pupusas

Salvadoran Pupusas. Photo by ceasol.

Salvadoran Pupusas. Photo by ceasol.

  • 3 cups corn flour
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (queso fresco or mozzarella)
  • ½ cup refried beans

1. Mix corn flour, water, and salt in a large bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

2. Blend the refried beans until smooth.

3. Form dough into balls. Shape each ball into a dish-like shape. Place filling inside and carefully pinch the dough around it, sealing the filling inside. Gently flatten ball into a disk.

4. Lightly grease a heavy skillet and heat over medium heat. Place the pupusas in the skillet. Allow to brown on each side. Remove from heat and serve warm with hot sauce and cabbage salad.

Adapted from southamericanfood.about.com.


Lisa MacKay