By Kanako Koizumi
What is your favorite corn dish? Corn is one of the most widely consumed grains in the world, and no matter where you are from, you probably have fond memories and personal stories that include it. To me, corn is the food of summer. Memories of corn immediately stimulate my senses – steamed ears in a bamboo basket for snacking on a hot afternoon at my grandparents’ home on summer vacation, the aroma of grilled corn basted with soy sauce and butter drifting from a food stand at a neighborhood summer festival, chilled corn in a picnic bento box on a family road trip to nearby mountains….
Now I’ve got a new corn dish favorite, corn and rice! The recipe is ridiculously simple, yet one of the best ways I can think of to enjoy the sweetness and texture of freshly harvested corn. I have made this dish many times this summer already, for both customers and family members, to much acclaim. Even my picky American teenage niece loved it, with a drop of butter mixed in the rice.
If you make this delicious dish, do not throw away the corn silk. It makes a wonderful tea with loads of amazing health benefits, such as a powerful antioxidant with vitamins C and K, plus dietary fiber to help digestion and improve urinary function.
Corn and Rice with Corn Silk Tea
Serves 4~6 | Prep time 10 minutes | Cook Time 45 minutes | Passive Time 30 minutes
Corn and Rice
1 ear of fresh corn, shucked (reserve silk for the tea recipe)
2 Japanese rice cups (note: one Japanese rice cup equals 180 ml) or 1 ½ U.S. cups of short-grain white rice
1 tbsp. sake
2 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
Corn Silk Tea (serves 2)
Silk from one ear of corn
300 ml water
Corn and Rice
- Put rice in a large bowl and add water to cover it. Without stirring much, discard the water. With your hand, polish rice gently using a circular motion. Add fresh water to cover rice, stir, and drain. Repeat these steps a few times until water is clear.
- Drain rice well and transfer it to a Dutch oven or an electric rice cooker. If using a Dutch oven, put 1 tablespoon sake in a measuring cup and add water to bring the total amount of liquid to 400 ml. If using a rice cooker, pour sake directly into the cooker and add water up to the line for 2 cups of regular rice. Add salt, and soak the rice for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Stand the ear of corn vertically on a cutting board and slice down along the cob to remove the kernels. Alternatively, to prevent kernels from flying around and creating a mess, you can stand the ear in a deep bowl instead of on a cutting board. You can also lay the ear flat on the cutting board and remove the kernels by cutting along the sides.
- Place the kernels and cob on top of the rice in the Dutch oven or rice cooker.
- If using the Dutch oven, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for another 15-20 minutes. If using the rice cooker, follow the procedure in the instructions.
- When the rice is cooked, remove the cob and fluff the rice and corn with a spatula, gently combining them. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and/or butter if you like. Serve warm and enjoy the natural sweetness of the corn!
Corn Silk Tea
- Corn Silk TeaPlace corn silk in a flat basket and set it out on the counter (in direct sun if possible) to dry. After a few days, all the moisture should be gone, the texture should feel dry, and the silk should look slightly brown. Cut the silk into pieces 2-3 inches long.
- Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the cut silk and toast it for about 5 minutes until its color changes from light to medium brown.
- Combine the toasted silk and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain out silk and serve the tea hot or chilled.
Recipe by Kanako Koizumi | www. kozmokitchen.com
Kanako, a native of Akita, Japan, is a chef, author and instructor focused on authentic Japanese home cooking. She will be teaching Bento and Izakaya classes in June at Tom Douglas’ Hot Stove Society and ChefShop in Seattle. Chef Kanako also offers in-home private cooking classes for groups up to 12. You can reach her at email@example.com.
She was a guest on Tom Douglas’ radio show “Seattle Kitchen” (KIRO 97.3 FM), where she discussed Japanese home cooking! The episode is archived at http://kiroradio.com/listen/10020984/.
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