Thought this might help clear up some confusion about the maize and corn products used in recipes on DC !
has been getting a lot
of publicity lately. But even before industrial agriculture dug its claws
into this versatile cereal and invented high-fructose corn syrup, cultures around the world had devised myriad techniques for consuming every edible part
of the plant. In Zimbabwe, you can buy roasted maize
by the side of the road, or bags of popped maize, called maputi
. Finely ground white maize (mealie-meal) is used to make the staple dish, sadza
, as well as a thin porridge commonly eaten for breakfast. A Zimbabwean could easily eat corn three times a day
Another corn permutation
, common in southern Africa as well as the southern U.S. and Mexico – not to mention a food that kept the colonists alive in New England – is samp
. Much has been written in an attempt to explain the difference between samp, hominy
and grits, a task complicated by regional usages
of these terms within the U.S. Here is how I distinguish between them:
is dried, whole kernels
of corn whose skins (or hulls) and germs (the little bit inside the kernel) have been removed.
is the same thing, except the kernels are cracked
into a few pieces.
are ground hominy
. Mealie-meal and polenta (typically made from yellow corn, instead of white) both differ from grits in that the hull and germ
are not removed before grinding the dried kernels.
Samp is typically paired with dried beans
in southern Africa. In fact, you can often buy the soulmates packaged together in one bag. In South Africa, samp and beans (umngqusho
) is a traditional dish of the Xhosa people, and was supposedly one of Nelson Mandela’s favorite meals
growing up. You can serve cooked samp and beans with sautéed or fried onions, with butter, or with any sauce of your choosing.