Even before the monsoon rains drench the city Delhi sees the street vendors selling fresh corn on cob. Mostly we all love to eat bhutta or corn on cob freshly roasted on coal fire and smeared lavishly with special masala and lemon juice. The whole process is like visual poetry. The aroma rising from the hot corn on cobs is irresistible. Roasted corncobs are one healthiest and cheapest street foods. I love fresh corn and often bring the tender ones home to make various dishes. Mom can’t eat corncob because of her teeth issues so we often boil them and dip them in delectable tamarind chutney or smear butter over it, sprinkle some salt and pepper or anything one wants including cayenne pepper and just dig in.
Bhutte ka kees or makyache kanasachi kees or corn upma or grated corn snack is one of the dishes that I usually make during rainy evenings. So today was a corny Tuesday and I had some lovely tender corn cobs laying in the kitchen. Yesterday I had boiled some of them so today I decided to make this very delicious and easy snack. Kees is a speciality of Indore city in Madhya Pradesh though it is a maharashtriyan preparation. Indore is a food paradise famous for its culinary range and I remember visiting a number of eating joints with my aunt during my stay there.
To choose tender corns one should look for bright green tightly wrapped husks, pull the husk a bit and press the kernel gently. If a little milk oozes out and the kernel is bright and plump then it is good to eat. Also the silk tassels should be light brown and sticky to touch. Black ones indicate old, stale corn. It would be hard and tasteless.
To make this wonderful healthy snack you need :
3-4 Fresh corn cobs ( you can use corn kernels and sweet corn also)
1-2 green chillies
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
A pinch of Hing or asafoetida
3-4 Curry leaves
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
One medium size onion (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoon Oil
One inch Fresh ginger (grated)
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon Red chili powder
Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
One lemon for garnish
Freshly grated coconut for garnish
1/4 cup Water
To make the kees/upma or snack
First remove the husk and silks from the corncob and grate the kernels. You can use corn pealer and give the hernels one round in the mixer too. I simply grate them. If tender they will not need any churn in the mixer.
Roughly chop the onion and grate the ginger. Cut the green chillies in medium or small pieces.
In a non stick thick bottom pan heat the oil. Add mustard seeds and when they begin to splutter add heeng(asafoetida), curry leaves and green chilli pieces. Toss them and add chopped onions. Keep the flame medium. The mixture tends to stick to the pan but do not try to scratch it as it will spoil the taste and texture of the kees.
(Some people add milk to kees after adding the grated corn to the pan. If you wish you can add 1/2 cup of milk and let it cook till all moisture evaporates. I prefer to use water, just enough to keep it moist. The milk in corn kernels is what makes this dish savory. While using sweet corn kernels one may need some liquid to make the mixture soft)
Once the onions are translucent, add the coarse mixture of grated corn and grated ginger.
Stir it a few times and add salt, red chili powder to it. Stir again and cook covered for 5 minutes.
Open the lid and see if the kees ( mixture ) is very dry sprinkle some water over it. If it is too moist cook it uncovered for a while.
Once the corn mixture is cooked (takes about 10 mins) turn off the heat and keep it covered for a few minutes.
Serve immediately garnished with fresh coriander leaves, grated fresh coconut and lime.
A perfect snack for breakfast or a rainy evening.
Enjoy this healthy, delicious snack fresh and hot.