It belongs to the maize family and this cereal grain is harvested when they are small in size and immature. They are handpicked and since they mature quickly, one has to have clear understanding as to when to harvest it. It is usually pale yellow, blue, pink to off white in colour depending on the variety and is sold in the market in bunches. Since it has a bland taste, it is appealing all around the world and is used commonly in Asian cooking.
Baby corn cubes
Place the baby corn on a chopping board and using a knife, chop at 1 inch intervals, across the length of the baby corn. Baby corn cubes are best used in Chinese cooking where baby corn cubes are combined with other vegetables to form base for any gravies.
Baby corn halves
Baby corn roundels
Place the baby corn on a chopping board and using a knife, cut at regular intervals across the length of the corn. You can make thin or thick roundels as required in the recipe. Roundels can be used in salads, pizzas etc.
Blanched baby corn
In order to blanch baby corn, boil water in a sauce pan. Add the baby corn and allow to boil for 12 to 15 seconds, or as required as per size. Once done, remove and transfer the corn into a sauce pan containing cold water. This wil refresh the baby corn, it will maintain its colour and will not get overcooked. Blanched baby corn is used in banquets, buffets etc where open kitchens are operational. Since the baby corn is already blanched, the recipe gets cooked faster. Use blanched baby corn in pastas, soups etc.
Boiled baby corn
You can boil the baby corn in a sauce pan containing boiling water and salt to taste. Add the corn and boil until cooked as required. Ensure that since baby corn has a pale appearance, you don't over boil the baby corn.
Chopped baby corn
To chop baby corn, place it on a chopping board and using a knife make slit lengthwise at the centre to get two equal parts. Now hold both the parts together and using a knife, make cuts or dices at equal intervals and chop according to size required. The small pieces that are obtained are commonly used in savoury tarts and quiches where chopped baby corn is used as one of the ingredients for the filling.
Diagonally cut and blanched baby corn
To cut the blanched baby corns diagonally, place the blanched baby corns on a chopping board and using a sharp knife, make a series of diagonal parallel cuts and you will get 1" long diagonal strips of baby corn. You can cut baby corn diagonally into big or small pieces, as per the recipe requirement.
Sliced and blanched baby corn
Place the baby corn on a chopping board. Hold the knife at a slant position and slice at regular intervals to get long slices. The shape that you will achieve will be something similar to a kite shape or "lozenge". Now place the sliced baby corn in sauce pan containing boiling water. Allow to boil for 8 to 10 seconds, or as required as per size. Once done, remove and transfer the corn into a sauce pan containing cold water. This will refresh the baby corn, it will maintain its colour and will not get overcooked.
Sliced baby corn
Place the baby corn on a chopping board. Hold the knife at a slant position and slice at regular intervals to get long slices. The shape that you will achieve will be something similar to a kite shape or "lozenge". Sliced baby corn is widely used in pizzas, pastas and stir fries.
How to select
Check for freshness when you hold the cob. It should be firm yet tender to touch. You can purchase them fresh in bunches or buy branded canned baby corn from super markets.
· It can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, it is eaten as salads. Serve raw with other vegetables along with a dip of your choice. However most recipes use cooked baby corn. The best way to cook baby corn would be to blanch it and use in recipes. However note that baby corn doesn't take much time for cooking and whether used blanched or directly stir fried, the texture and the firmness (crunch) remains the same. To blanch baby corn, add the baby corn to a pot of boiling water and allow boiling for 15 seconds. Remove and place in cold water. This will prevent "carry over" cooking. Drain off the water and use as required.
· Since it is used mostly in Asian cooking and specifically in Chinese cooking, you will find it in schezuan stir fries, starters, gravies and so on. Dip baby corn in oriental batter and deep fry. Serve with Chinese sauces. Alternatively use it in gravy dishes like baby corn Manchurian etc.
· In Indian cuisine, you can enhance the taste of kadhai and tandoori dishes using this ingredient.
· Since it cooks easily, it is a common ingredient in stir fries, pastas, pizzas, quiche, savoury tarts etc.
· Use it in broths and other soups to add variety to your recipe.
How to store
Store in freeze bags or zip lock bags and place in the fridge diction of your refrigerator. However, it is best used fresh. To store cooked baby corn, place cling film on the container in which you have placed the baby corn and use within a day.
Baby corn is high in Vitamin B- folate and is a good source of nutrients like potassium, Vitamin C, riboflavin, fiber etc.