Sweet Corn Porridge

When I was 12 or 13, my favorite band was KoЯn. I don’t know why is this important, but I thought it would be interesting starting this post about corn porridge with a paranomasia between the words corn and korn.

It was not funny, I know, but it’s a good way to make the post larger, even when I’m not inspired. And it’s also true.

Xarém

Xarém is one of the most characteristic dishes in my region, in the south of Portugal.

If you’re not portuguese, you probably never heard of xarém in your life. Even some portuguese never heard of. Well, if you’re portuguese and you’re reading this in english for some reason and you don’t know what xarém is, I’ll explain it to you. But don’t miss the opportunity to feel ashamed of yourself for being stupid.

When I was a kid I would feel excited just by thinking about eating xarém. My grandpa would come home with small-spotted catsharks (yes, I just googled the name in english for you) and I knew we would have xarém for lunch.

There are several forms of cooking xarém in the Algarve. The most common is xarém with clams, but at my place, my grandma used to make xarém out of the fish stew stock.

Coarse Cornmeal

Xarém is cornflour based dish – this is probably the definition you will find online if you search for it. But my grandma insists that xarém is made out of coarse cornmeal and not cornflour.

When my grandma was a little girl, the islanders (in case of you being a new reader, I am natural from Culatra Island, the most beautiful piece of land in the planet) would trade fish, shellfish and seafood with the farmers from Olhão and closer cities. In exchange they would get potatoes, cabbage, fruit, rice and other vegetables and cereals.

The coarse cornmeal I’m talking about, is a very simple milling of the corn, a thick one, which is normally not even sieved through. It’s a cheap and simple process and the cereal is normally milled like this to feed chickens and other animals.

The old islanders say people used to have livestock in the Island. It’s not like nowadays. The islanders would buy coarse cornmeal to feed the chickens and ducks, but they wouldn’t be the only ones eating it. Coarse cornmeal used to be (and it still is) cheaper than cornflour. And it was good for the chickens to eat, it would certainly be good enough for the islanders.

I never heard this from my grandma, she just says that xarém is made out of coarse cornmeal and not cornflour. But I’ve heard these stories from other old islanders. These stories about food trade. The rest I just assume. Not very difficult to conclude.

The truth is that coarse cornmeal makes a just as good xarém as cornflour, if not better. Actually MUCH better, in my opinion. But my opinion is compromised, as I grew up eating xarém made out of coarse cornmeal.

To this very day, if my mum or grandma goes to the farmers market and can’t find coarse cornmeal, there is no xarém.

Corn Porridge

I swear I’ve never heard of sweet corn porridge until a few years ago. For me, corn porridge was xarém! I remember my grandgrandma eating maizena porridge with sugar when I was a kid, but I didn’t even know maizena was cornstarch back then.

I’m always writing about stuff I learnt in cooking school. Of course I learnt a lot about food just because I was in cooking school, but that wasn’t the only reason. I learnt a lot, culturally speaking, specially because of the school’s environment.

‘Til then, I was just attending to school with people from the same town or close villages, but that school was different. There were students from all over the country. The great majority were from the Algarve, of course, but people would come from everywhere in Portugal to study there. And the cultural difference were huge, of course. You learn a lot in such environment. And that was how I found out that corn porridge could be sweet.

I love oatmeal porridge. It’s almost a daily staple in my diet. I also like quinoa, millet and rice porridge, but this recipe is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I wanted to make a corn porridge, but I didn’t want to use corn flour or cornmeal, first because it takes a long time to cook and also because I wanted to make something healthier with less processed foods.

I would say this corn porridge will please a lot of my readers.

Ingredients:

570 gr. of Sweet Corn (canned)
6 Dates
2 Cups of Vegetable Milk
2 TBSP of Grounded Flaxseeds
1 TSP of Turmeric
1/2 TSP of Grounded Cardamom
1/2 TSP of Grounded Ginger
1/4 TSP of Grounded Cloves

Instructions:

  • Prepare yourself, mentally and physically, for some hard work;
  • Pit the dates;
  • Drain the corn;
  • Throw the corn, dates and milk into the blender jug;
  • Blend it into a smooth mix;
  • Pour the liquid into a pan;

Corn 1

  • Add in the turmeric, cardamom, ginger and cloves;
    • If you don’t like any of the seasonings, you could just die;
      • Or maybe don’t use it;
  • Also add in the flaxseeds;
  • Cook it on low heat, always stirring;
    • The corn tends to violentaly bubble, if you don’t stir;
    • If you’re a masochist, place your face as close as possible to the pan and wait for the geysir of hot corn porridge to explode;
  • When it’s thick and warm, serve in bowls, with your favorite toppings;
  • Alternatively, you can also let it cool down and enjoy it cold – it gets kind of a pudding consistency;

corn 2

corn 3

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And keep it green. Keep it real!

corn 5

Caloric Breakdown:

(Per Portion = 1/2 of the Recipe)

Blue – 74% Carbs

Red – 17% Fat

Green – 9% Protein


Note:

  • The nutritional label refers to a portion (half the recipe) without any toppings;


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2 thoughts on “Corn Porridge

  1. Reply
    Sebastian - 22 June, 2017

    Bastard! When you write “follow us on social media”, you LINK to the social media in that same text! I just wasted one minute of my life finding the Facebook button, until I gave up. Awesome recipes, keep em coming! Osssss

    1. Reply
      Paulo Buchinho - 22 June, 2017

      Ahahahahahaha! I used to put all the social media links at the end of the post, but since they’re always on the side bar, I just stopped double posting it :p

      Thanks a lot for commenting Sebastian!

      Oss!

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