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THE BABYCORN TRIVIA TO TREAT THE PALATE

LifestyleTHE BABYCORN TRIVIA TO TREAT THE PALATE

Babycorn one of those cute and delicate looking variety of veggies we have been looking at and trying to include in our recipes in a number of ways since a while now is a cereal grain taken from corn harvested early while the stalks are still small and immature. It typically is eaten whole, cob included, in contrast to mature corn, whose cob is too tough for human consumption. It is eaten both raw and cooked. Baby corn is common in stir fry dishes. Used extensively in Asian and oriental cooking, baby corn has been touted as one of the healthiest veggies you can add to your stir fries and salads.
Babycorn are just regular corns which are picked before maturing. In terms of nutritive profile too, baby corn and corns vary very slightly. In fact, for those trying to lose weight baby corn may just prove to be a better bet, because of its relatively lesser starch content. Baby corns have found a popular fan following in the west too. It is one of the most imported vegetables across the world.
Here are some essential benefits of Babycorn we need to be aware of in order to use it more effectively in our recipes and diets:
Rich Source of Folate: Folic acid is said to play an important role in preventing neural-tube birth defects in the foetus. Pregnant women may want to add baby corn in their pregnancy diet for healthy nutrition. From weight loss to healthy vision, baby corn is a storehouse of health benefits. Don’t let its mini size deceive you into believing otherwise.

Good for Eye Health: Yellow baby corn, much like the matured corn has a decent amount of carotenoids. Carotenoids support eye health and lower the risk of cataracts. Baby corns are rich in Vitamin A which helps to aid eye health. We can take care of our eyes by eating healthy foods that are a good source of vitamin A. Baby corns consist of carotenoids which are a type of pigment found in plants and algae which gives it a yellow.
Stimulates Digestion Baby corn is packed with both soluble and insoluble fibres. Fibres help stimulate a healthy digestion. A healthy digestive system may also help in healthy and effective weight loss. Baby corn has 0% fat and is a rich source of Vitamins A and C whereas sweet corn has 1.2 grams of fat and also is rich in vitamins A, B and E, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate.
Nutrient Dense Baby corn is an extremely nutrient dense veggie. In addition to essential fibres and proteins, baby corns are packed with vital antioxidants too. It is said that just half cup serving meets 4 percent of the daily body requirement of vitamin A and iron, and 2 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C.

Adding Babycorn into our routine cooking and daily recipes:
A little thinking and experiment usually goes a long way and as they say sky is the limit! for me Babycorn has been one of the most commonly used veggie option as an add on and blend it in type variant in combination with various cuisines and cooking styles:

1. Babycorn in soups, salads, stir fries: choice of ingredients, freshness and crunch to bite into, Babycorn is one good ingredient to add to that bowl of soup be it an indian shorba or a cream of tomato soup, a minestrone from Italy or a chowder from America, it turns up well. For salads I like to blanch them a little and refresh with chilled water, marinate them in a nice spicy, tangy, pungent combination and lightly grill them or pan fry them and add them to salads. For a stir fry recipe baby corn is always a welcome and with mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and others it adds a nice balance to the dish.

2. Babycorn in baked dishes, rice and stews: referring this to a multi-cuisine approach in our kitchens Babycorn into a baked version with a little white sauce, some blanched spinach, assorted non-veg options like boiled/roasted chicken or sausages, salami, bacon etc with a little spread of grated cheese, baked and served hot is simply irresistible. Adding to a fried rice with eggs, prawns, chicken, mushrooms etc, with a touch of spice soya, schezuan just makes it complete in all respects and offers a good level of satisfaction on the plate. Into stews and gravies be it coconut based or the regular onion tomato- brown onion masala etc Babycorn turns out good enough in a number of variations with capsicums, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and many more veggies.

3. Getting Creative with Babycorn: from snacks like pakodas, bhajiyas, toasts, wraps and rolls, samosas, spring rolls, cutlets and tikki concepts, Babycorn can be adapted into all these recipes by working on its form and developing its flavor in a number of ways. For instance, a Babycorn skewer marinated with indo- Indonesian spices and sauces, grilled like a satay concept and served with an achari peanut butter sauce! Marinated roasted Babycorn stuffed in mini eggplant cups layered with chicken mince and olives topped with cheesy Makhni sauce, baked and served with til wala garlic bread is simply scrumptious!

Here are a few easy to make recipes using Babycorn:


Recipe-1] BABYCORN KI PESHGI
Ingredients:
Babycorn- 150 gms, cut into smaller pieces
Potato-1-2 small, peeled and cubed.
Oil-2 tsp
Ghee-1 tsp
Jeera-1/2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste-1 tsp
Onion paste-1 cup
Bay leaf-1 no
Peppercorns-2-3 no
Green cardamom-2 no
Salt to taste
Tomato puree-1/2 cup
Red chili powder-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi-1 tsp
Cashew paste-2 tsp
Curd-2-3 tbsp. thick and beaten up
Coriander leaves-2 tbsp. chopped
Water as needed
Method:
1. Prepare all the ingredients for the Babycorn recipe.
2. Heat oil and ghee in a pan, add in the bay leaf, peppercorns, cardamom, cumin seeds and saute for few seconds, add in ginger- garlic paste, onion paste and cook for 3-4 mins.
3. Continue cooking the onion paste mixture for around 5-7 mins, add little water to prevent sticking at the base. Add in the tomato puree, salt and all powdered spices, kasuri methi, cashew paste and mix well.
4. Cook the masala on a medium flame for 2-3 mins, add in the potato cubes and Babycorn pieces and little water and simmer for 8-10 mins or until just cooked to the bite.
5. Add in fresh cream and coriander leaves and cook for another 2 mins, serve hot garnished with ginger juliennes, fried red chili etc. serve this recipe with a plain kulcha, missi roti, pudina paratha etc.

Recipe-2] BABYCORN LEMON FRIED RICE
Ingredients:
Babycorn- 150 gms, cut into smaller pieces
Oil-2 tsp
Butter/ghee-1 tsp
Hing- ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- 4-5 no
Slit green chilies-2 no
Ginger-1 tsp chopped
Onions/ shallots- 2-3 tbsp. cut/ sliced
Boiled white/ brown rice -1 and a half cup
Salt to taste
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Garam masala powder-1/4 tsp
Sunflower seeds/ flax seeds/ pumpkin seeds- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Grated coconut-1/4 cup
Lime juice-2-3 tsp
Method:
1. Prepare all the ingredients for the Babycorn lemon fried rice.
2. Heat oil and ghee in a pan add in the ingredients for the tempering from hing to mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, red chili, green chilies, ginger, and saute for a few seconds.
3. Add in the sliced/chopped onions/ shallots and saute them until lightly pink, add in the grated coconut, salt and all the powdered spices, Babycorn pieces and mix well. Add a few spoons of water to prevent burning and to allow the Babycorn to get a little tender.
4. Now add in the cooked rice of your choice, seeds as desired for a crunch and give it a nice toss and cover, simmer and cook for 8-10 mins, add a splash of fresh lime juice, mix and serve hot garnished with fresh coriander/ fried curry leaves/ mint or assorted nuts.

Recipe- 3] BABYCORN SNACK TIME
Ingredients
Babycorn- 150 gms cut into pieces
For the marination:
Oil-2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy sauce-2 tsp
Red chili sauce-2 tsp
Honey-1 tsp
Sugar-1 pinch
Mustard paste-1/4 tsp
To add to the marination:
Egg -1/2 no if desired
Maida-2-3 tsp
Cornflour-2-3 tsp
Oil to deep fry.
Additional ingredients to stir fry:
Oil- 2 tsp
Slit red chilies-1-2 no
Slit green chilies-1-2 no
Sliced spring onions-2-3 no
Ginger-garlic-2 tsp chopped mix
Red/ green/ yellow capsicum-1/2 cup diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Water/stock-1 cup
Soy sauce-1 tsp
Red chili sauce-1 tsp
Schezuan sauce-2-3 tsp
White vinegar-1 tsp
Corn starch solution-2-3 tsp to thicken up
Spring onion greens-2 -3 tsp chopped
Roasted/ fried/ boiled peanuts-2 -3 tbsp.
Method:
1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for this recipe and keep it ready.
2. Apply marination on the Babycorn and keep refrigerated for 20 mins, remove add egg if desired or else just maida and cornflour and few drops of water to coat the pieces well.
3. Deep fry the batter coated Babycorn pieces in medium hot oil for 3-4 mins, remove onto a kitchen paper and drain off the excess oil.
4. To stir fry the recipe further, heat oil in a pan add in the chilies, onions and saute them for a few seconds, add in the capsicums, salt, pepper, the sauces, water/stock and bring to a boil.
5. Add in the corn starch solution and bring to a boil, as the gravy starts thickening up simmer the flame, add in the fried Babycorn pieces and allow to cook in the sauce for 1-2 mins.
6. Turn off the flame add in the peanuts, spring onion greens for garnish and serve hot as a snack.

Recipe-4] DESI BABYCORN PEPPER FRY
Ingredients:
Babycorn-150 gms, cut into long slices
Oil-2 tsp
Ghee/butter-1 tsp
Red capsicum-1/2 no cubed
Green capsicum-1/2 no cubed
Garlic-1 tsp sliced
Onion-1 small chopped
Ginger-1 tsp shredded
Tomato ketchup-2-3 tsp
Water/stock-1 cup as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime juice-2 tsp
Coriander/parsley/spring onion greens-2-3 tsp chopped
For the masala paste:
Dry red chilies-2-3 no
Coriander seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Peppercorns- 4-5 no
White sesame seeds-1 tsp
Dry roast all above for 2-3 mins, Using 3-4 tbsp. water grind to a paste.
Method:
1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the Babycorn recipe.
2. Heat oil and butter/ghee in a pan and add in the ginger, garlic, onions and saute them for a couple of mins, add in the prepared masala paste, little water to prevent burning and saute the mixture for a minute.
3. Reduce the flame add in salt and all the powdered spices to taste and little water/stock to cook the masala well for 3-4 mins. Now add in the sliced Babycorn pieces, tomato sauce mix and cover, simmer and cook for 8-12 mins.
4. Add in the capsicums and mix, cover and simmer for another 2-3 mins and add fresh coriander and a little lime juice, mix and serve hot, this recipe can also be having add ons like sweet potato cubes, mushrooms, beans or even boiled pulses, moong etc as well to add more variety, taste, flavor and crunch.

Recipe-5] BABYCORN COCONAKA SOUP
Ingredients:
Babycorn-150 gms, cut into smaller pieces
Oil-1 tsp
Butter-1/2 tsp
Garlic-1 tsp chopped
Ginger-1 tsp strips
Green chilies- 1-2 slit
Red chilies-1 slit
Onion-1/2 chopped
Thai curry paste- green/red- 2 tsp
Fresh basil leaves- 3-4 no
Water-2-3 cups
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar
Assorted veggies to go along- carrots/beans/ capsicums/ mushrooms/ zucchini/ broccoli etc, cut and blanch the tough ones.
Assorted non-veg: boiled/ cooked chicken pieces, sliced sausages, salami, bacon, pieces of roast meat etc can also be added.
Corn starch solution-2-3 tsp to thicken up a little
Coconut milk-1 cup thick
Boiled noodles-1 cup
Spring onion greens-2-3 tsp. chopped for garnish
Lime juice-1-2 tsp add and serve
Roasted crushed peanuts-2-3 tsp.
Method:
1. Pre-prep all the ingredients for the Babycorn soup with noodles and coconut milk.
2. Heat oil and butter in a pan, saute the ginger, garlic, chilies, onions for a few seconds, add in the thai curry paste of your choice, add in little water, Babycorn pieces along with other tough veggies if any to allow cooking for few mins, if blanched can be added later as well.
3. Add in salt to taste, coconut milk, simmer for 3-4 mins, add in the noodles, fresh basil leaves, pinch of sugar and bring to a boil add little corn starch solution to thicken a little after having adjusted the texture for a soup.
4. Finally add lime juice, roasted crushed peanuts, greens for garnish and serve the soup piping hot.


Recipe-6] BABYCORN MUSHROOM MASALA
Ingredients:
Babycorn-150 gms, cut into small pieces.
Mushrooms- 6-8 no cut into quarters
Oil-2 tsp
Ghee-1 tsp
For the masala paste:
Garlic-5-6 cloves
Ginger- 2 tsp chopped
Red chilies-2 no
Green chilies-2 no
Onion-2 med sized
Tomato-2 med sized
Coriander seeds-1 tsp
Cumin seeds-1 tsp
Ajwain-1/4 tsp
Peppercorns-4-5 no
Water-1/4 cup to grind
Additional ingredients:
Curd-1/4 cup thick and beaten
Almond paste-1 tsp
Fresh cream-2 tsp
Water as needed for the masala
Salt to taste
Garam masala powder-1/4 tsp
Lime juice-1-2 tsp add and serve
Ginger-1 tsp strips for garnish
Coriander leaves- 2 tsp chopped.
Method:
1. Prepare all ingredients as needed for the recipe.
2. Using 2 tsp oil saute all the ingredients for the masala paste and keep aside, cool down and then grind to a paste using little water.
3. Heat oil and butter/ghee in a pan add in the prepared masala paste and cook for 2-3 mins add in little water, simmer.
4. Now add in the Babycorn, mushrooms and almond paste, curd and mix well, simmer for 12-15 mins until it all gets cooked and gravy gets a nice texture.
5. Add in fresh cream and coriander, mix well and cook for another 2 mins, add in lime juice, serve hot garnished with fried red chili/ strips of ginger. This goes well with hot phulkas, chapattis, naan, pudina laccha paratha etc and a bowl of raita on the side.


BRIEF ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR. KAVIRAJ KHIALANI – CELEBRITY MASTER CHEF IS A MUMBAI-BASED FOOD & HOSPITALITY CONSULTANT. HE HAS WORKED WITH ESTEEMED BRANDS LIKE THE TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS, KUWAIT AIRWAYS AND MANY MORE. BESIDES HAVING SPECIALISED IN OVER 33 PLUS INTERNATIONAL CUISINES CHEF KAVIRAJ IS A RENOWNED NAME IN THE WORLD OF HOSPITALITY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. HE HAS ALSO BEEN FEATURED ON STAR PLUS & COLORS TELEVISION. AN AWARDEE OF THE BHARAT VIDYA RATAN AWARD, BEST CHEF ASIA AWARD AND MANY MORE ACCOLADES MAKE HIM ONE OF THE ICONIC NAMES IN THE CULINARY WORLD.

 

 

 

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