Friday, August 17, 2012


It's rainy season once again and therefore corn season, so it's time for me to cook 'ginisang mais' (sauteed shredded corn) using the traditional lagkitan (white glutinous open-pollinated) corn variety, sometimes called 'mais na puti' (white corn). In it I put malunggay (moringa) leaves and pieces of sliced tofu or tokwa...
Sometimes instead of malunggay, I use talbos ng sili, (chili leaves) talbos ng ampalaya (bitter melon leaves) or talbos ng kalabasa (squash young shoots). A delicious meal specially when served hot, just perfect on a stormy day. Yellow corn is also just as good tasting for boiling and snacking.

Next to rice, corn is the second most important staple food of Filipinos. It is a richer source of Vitamin A than polished rice. It has high amounts of calcium, phosphorus, carbohydrates and fiber.

Filipinos had their first taste of corn from Mexico during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade (1564-1815). In return, the Mexican people had their first taste of tamarind, Philippine mango and lakatan. The earliest form of corn Filipinos tasted was mainly in the form tortilla and tamales (both made from corn flour). These were part of the ancient traditional Mexican diet long before European
influence. This diet was called 'comida prehispanica'.

'Comida prehispanica' was really quite simple and healthy. And it was vegetarian! - - mainly corn, pinto beans, tomatoes, squash, squash flowers, sweet potatoes, peanuts, avocados, papayas, pineapple, chilis, chili peppers, herbs and mushrooms.

After learning how to cultivate corn, the Filipinos learned how to cook them in ways adaptable to their own taste and cooking method. Thus, today we have traditional Filipino corn recipes such as suam na mais (also called sopaz de mais or sabaw na mais), ginataang mais, picadillo de mais, maja blanca, kalamay na mais, mais con yelo, binatog and many more.

In response to requests, here's my recipe of ginisang mais.


6 pcs fresh corn (preferably lagkitan variety)
1/2 block tofu (125g) or 2 pcs tokwa (cubed)
1/4 c tomatoes (chopped)
2 Tbsp leeks or spring onions
1 c dahon (greens), either malunggay (moringa), ampalaya (bitter melon) or kalabasa (squash)
salt, seasoning, pepper

1. Shred corn thinly with a sharp knife or peeler. Set aside.
2. Put a little salt to cubed tofu or tokwa. Fry till half-brown (malasado)
3. Saute leeks or spring onions. Add tomatoes. Cook well. Add corn, salt, seasoning and enough water. Cover and cook. Add leafy greens. Simmer for a few minutes. Sprinkle a dash of pepper. Remove from heat. Serve hot.

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