“Sticky Rice Corn” from an Aboriginal Village

29 08 2009

CornI’ve always associated corn with Native Americans. But indigenous Taiwanese serve it up too — and not just the mini-corn husks you see in stir-fry dishes.

In fact, big husks of sweet (and sometimes not-so-sweet) corn are sold on roadsides throughout rural Taiwan. It’s usually boiled or steamed with the husks intact. In urban night markets, you can find freshly-barbecued corn with Chinese herbs, sesame or sachar sauce.

In the US, only a small number of corn varieties are available to mass-market consumers (in part due to mass-production spurred on by fast food chains, and an overwhelming demand for sweet, yellow corn). People hoping to sample other varieties have to grow it themselves or look for it in farmer’s markets or specialty stores.

In the August 29 edition of Feast Meets West, we sample a variety of Taiwanese corn called Glutinous Rice Corn (糯玉米) which has chewy kernels (similar to sticky rice). The corn is not as sweet or as yellow as other varieties of corn, but the corn flavor is even more distinct. Don’t forget to suck every last bit of sweet corn water from the husk as you munch away!

Incidentally, the organic, locally-grown corn featured in the 8/29 program comes from an Atayal tribe village in Hsinchu County called Naluo.

To listen to our show, visit the RTI web site. Click on one of the links next to “Saturday” in the upper-left-hand corner. The corn segment (today’s third course) begins at 36’48.

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