Note: Soak corn 1 day in advance. The corn here is important: It is not popcorn, dehydrated corn, or freeze-dried corn: it’s dried corn. It’s easier to find in the fall at seasonal markets, or you can order it online. Pickling lime can be found wherever you buy canning supplies or ordered online as well.
Adapted from The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas by Paula Forbes (Abrams, 2018). Used with permission. All rights reserved.
1 cup dried corn
1 tablespoon pickling lime
Vegetable oil for frying
1 teaspoon Nacho Spice
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons coriander
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons ground bay leaves
For the Nacho Spice
Special Equipment: deep fry thermometer
In a nonreactive pot (such as stainless steel), place dried corn and lime and add water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove a kernel and cut in half crosswise to check if it’s done—it should be about three-quarters gel and one-quarter starch in the very center. If necessary, cook for another 10 minutes and check again. When kernels are ready, remove from heat and let sit at room temperature in lime solution for at least 12 hours. (Note: Lime water is caustic. Make sure to leave it covered and out of reach of kids and pets.)
Drain and rinse corn at least three times in a strainer to remove every trace of lime. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix corn slowly for 5 minutes to loosen husks. Return to strainer and rub off husks while running under water.
Rinse prepared kernels. In a pot, add kernels, cover with water, and boil for 30 minutes or until slightly overcooked. Rinse and dry very well. In a medium pot, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry kernels until bubbles subside, about 5 minutes, then remove to drain on paper towels. Season with salt and Nacho Spice. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to two weeks.
Recipe Adapted FromThe Austin Cookbook by Paula Forbes