A dare, somebody? 12


When I logged into the Daring Kitchen to check out the Daring Cooks’ challenge this month, I was pleasantly surprised. There have been quite a few interesting, innovative and very touch challenges so I was really wondering what we had in store this month. When I saw that Rachael of Pizzarosa had set ‘cornmeal’ as our challenge I was taken aback. My first thought was, “Do you really get it that easily over here?” But as I read the little introduction and other information she had so thoughtfully put together for us my mind was swimming with ideas. It really boggled.

But first, I had to go out and get cornmeal! I thought of doing some pancakes, crossed that off my list and then debated about making some baked dish, like a handvo and in this whole process of debating and deciding I finalised on something snack-able. I didn’t want it to be something that’s a part of a main meal but more like something you can nibble on. Suddenly it struck me – corn chips! They’re delicious and if I baked them instead of frying, I’d take care of the health factor too. I also had some lovely green tomatoes which I’d picked up from my favourite vegetable shop during a recent trip to Chennai and after juggling a lot ideas about what to do with that, I decided on a slow roasted green tomato salsa.

For the cornmeal, I felt that the yellow corn flour (makkai ki atta) would be just way too smooth for the chips. It needed to have some kind of texture, something that would give it a little crunch and I’d my answer in front of my eyes when I saw a little packet of yellow corn rava (like semolina) at the supermarket. And it worked! The chips were wonderful, I also added some parmesan-peppercorn salad dressing to it for a twist.

Yellow and green, care for a bite?

Corn chips

1 cup of yellow corn flour
1/3 cup of yellow corn rava (you can also grind coarsely pounded dried corn to the desired texture for this)
1/4 cup of parmesan-peppercorn salad dressing (you can use any other flavouring in place or just substitute with a grated cheese of your choice)
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste
Water to knead

Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and use the water to form a dough that is not too sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and allow it to rest for about an hour or two in the fridge.

Now remember that corn flour is gluten-free so rolling out the dough is quite a task.

This is what I did: I pinched lemon-sized balls of the dough and placed it in between two lightly greased sheets of clingfilm and then used a rolling pin to roll out the dough.

 Following this, use a pastry cutter to cut out squares of the corn meal dough, place these on a greased baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, or until it turns golden brown, at 160 degrees. The first couple of batches I did burnt and finally it was between 13-15 mins of baking time at 160 degrees that worked for me.

Remove the chips from the oven, sprinkle some salt and pepper while they are still hot. Allow them to cool down completely before storing in an air-tight container. Serve with salsa, sour cream or any dip of your choice.

We are all yellow! 

Slow-roasted green tomato salsa
Adapted from this recipe in New York Times 
500 gms of green tomatoes, cleaned, cut into halves with the tops sliced off
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp jalapenos, chopped
1/2 tsp of green chilli paste (use one green chilli minced in place of this if you don’t have the paste at hand)
1/4 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Rub salt on the green tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and roast the tomatoes (cut side down) for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius or until they have turned brown, but not burnt. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to completely cool down.

When the tomatoes have cooled down, peel them and chop them up roughly. Make a rough paste with these tomatoes, jalapenos, salt and sugar. Add the green chilli paste to this and check the seasoning. Garnish with the coriander and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve chilled.

Snack time! 

* You can also add some regular semolina to add crunch to the chips, but that corn rava did up the flavour by a few notches.
* Don’t restrict yourself to just herbs and spices or cheese to flavour the chips, a tbsp or two of spinach puree will take the chips to another dimension.
* With the salsa, make sure you peel the tomatoes completely because any bits of the peel in the salsa will make it taste bitter and the peel tends to taste a little synthetic after all the looking and you surely don’t want that.

I’m sending this to Bon Vivant#7: Baked Goodies at Sumee’s Culinary Bites and also to Let’s cook: Starters and Appetisers at Tickling Palates


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